At Wheelover

LINK - April 2017 / May 31, 2017

By Capt(N) Chris Ross, Deputy Commander Naval Reserve

As everyone is by now aware, the Naval Reserve (NAVRES) is in a state of change. In the fall Link we discussed the importance of our role as a sea going component of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). However our current state of change not only includes those efforts associated specifically with sea going success, but also those mechanisms which ensure the future strength and health of the Naval Reserve. As the RCN transitions to the future fleet the Naval Reserve is also evolving in order to ensure we remain a relevant, sustainable organization capable of attracting new members and delivering trained personnel to contribute to RCN and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) roles and missions, at sea and ashore.

There are many components to these changes, but the common thread throughout is that the Naval Reserve will grow in strength and maximize its impact and benefit to the RCN as an augmentation force contributing to RCN operations around the globe.

So the challenge before us is how do we increase our strength and achieve the necessary growth? The starting point is creating the environment for success, and establishing the Naval Reserve as an employer of choice. We do this by ensuring we have in place training that can be delivered to a predominantly part time community in order to ensure achievable career progression and meaningful employment both in occupation and in institutional positions, all while maintaining professional qualifications and competencies at all levels. The RCN is continuing to build the organization that will deliver this training. 

Building on the heels of last year's NAVRES recruiting reorganization, we have now launched an expedited enrolment program and the process that will see a willing applicant enrolled in as little as 21 days and in only three visits, without any compromise to the intake standard. The next step in the recruiting effort will see NAVRES build an independent recruiting group capable of executing all aspects of the intake process. This means we will have complete control over the entire recruiting/ intake process, from attractions, to file processing and finally applicant enrolment. While there remains much work to do in standing up this organization, it is anticipated that when combined with the expedited process for applicant files we should see increased intake that will meet with the mandated growth targets.

Once enrolled, in order to leverage the inherent training capability within Naval Reserve Divisions (NRD) these new members will begin their formal Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) and Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) training at their home units. These courses are being modularized for delivery in three phases, with the intent being to culminate in a three week residential phase at Camp Vimy. The first phase, required for BMQ loading, is distributed computer based learning that can be delivered in a classroom environment at the NRD. The second phase is designed for NRD practical delivery. Ideally this module will be delivered prior to BMQ but may be delivered after if necessary. This delivery method is designed to maintain the same standard of BMQ qualification while addressing the increased personnel demand for instructors required to train hundreds of more recruits each year. For members that are enrolled early in the training year, they could conceivably complete the residential phase of BMQ in the spring or early summer and immediately begin occupation training during their first summer!

Of course our strength is more than simply a numbers game. It relies on our ability to get trained, to attain new qualifications and work in our occupations at sea and ashore. The new Naval Training System is busy ensuring Reserve access to all of the required individual training, and with the promulgation of the new Regenerative Training Manual for the next training year, NAVRES will begin to track and monitor each individual's level of "readiness". This will include a combination of qualifications, regenerative and refresher training, experience gained and ensuring up to date personal administrative requirements (security clearances, FORCE testing, etc.). This will play a role in determining an individual's employability for specific opportunities and will also assist in determining which sailors need to be prioritized for certain training and experiential opportunities. The expectation of you is to seize every opportunity allowed by your schedule and circumstances, to ensure an optimal level of individual readiness.

I congratulate each of you for your achievements during a very busy training year, and wish you the best success for your summer; whether on course, employed across the RCN or at the NRD preparing for the next training year.