Big Guns Visitng AMS These Days!

Army Day at AMS

A/SLt 24498 Noelani Shore (RMC 2009)

photos by: Brad Lowe

The Assistant Chief of Land Staff, Major General Alan Howard, CSM, CD, along with various distinguished guests, visited RMC’s Division of Applied Military Science (AMS) student officers and NCOs attending the Land Force Technical Staff Programme (LFTSP) and Army Technical Warrant Officer’s Programme (ATWOP) on Sept 14.

Colonel William Lewis, Director of AMS, explained that MGen Howard initiated this Army Day to give the students the opportunity to hear from the departments in Ottawa where they will be working after graduating from these courses.

“You may be wondering, why am I here? It may not be what you thought it would be, and there is a lot of work, tough tests, but you need to understand that there is a reason for all your hard work. In the past, we would take the courses to Ottawa, but they wanted to come here and speak to you en masse for this Army Day instead,” Col Lewis explained.

Commodore William Truelove, OMM, CD, Commandant of the Royal Military College, was also on-hand to speak with the students.

“We need to ensure that we are selecting the right candidates, providing them a program that sets them up for success in their next positions. It’s important that they are succession planned appropriately to ensure that they have the opportunity to consolidate their learning while providing a return on the investment made in them by the Army,” Cmdre Truelove said. “I’m confident that we’ve chosen right for this course, and I’d like to congratulate you on your successes since arriving. I understand that marks have increased about 25 percent between the entrance exam and the exam given at the end of term.”

Now that the course has reached a steady state, the administrators would like to evaluate the progress, and validate the training to make sure they’re meeting the needs of the primary customer: the Army.

“Some of that validation will start today through some discussions with you from the senior leadership,” the Commandant said.

MGen Howard opened a discussion with the students and had two major points for them.

“One,” he said, “is that the Army cares about what you are doing; it’s important. There are billions of dollars in different programs in Ottawa, and we need you guys to push these programs forward. And two, we will look after you; this is not a fire and forget mission. This is an excellent program, and the army is interested in what is going on here. At Director of Land Requirements (DLR), the work discussions we’ll have will set the context of what we want to get out of you.”

It’s clear that the Army needs well-seasoned, experienced tech staff, and this course is an important step. MGen Howard explained that this course may make its students uncomfortable at times, but there is a method to the madness.

“It will teach you to think critically. We will stretch the mind, and that is generally uncomfortable, and it’ll challenge you, but it’s all part of the drill. As you’ve come to discover, education is a challenge.”

In order to push the important projects forward in Ottawa, the Army has a need for smart, critical thinkers. In the past, this course was not always seen as a positive career move, and it was difficult to entice more people to attempt this course.

“What we need now are young warriors who know what we need on our Light Armoured Vehicles. Am I going to attract them to Ottawa? Working at DLR is flexible, and the technical staff would love to have you, but we also understand the call back to the unit. We need a fresh mix of current warriors. Afghanistan has morphed us from the Cold War and Bosnia mindset,” MGen Howard explained. “On the battlefield in Afghanistan, the best equipped soldiers are the Canadians. We are not always the flashiest, nor do we have the best of the best in terms of equipment, but the technical knowledge that the soldiers can understand and apply is second to none. This course will help you along with the technical aspects of the job.”

Colonel Robert Elvish, Director General of Land Equipment Program Management (DGLEPM), emphasized the fact that there is very important work to be done in Ottawa.

“We have the jobs and the work for you, and these are exciting times in terms of requisition of equipment. We need people who understand technology to support the commander in achieving his goals, because our top priority is the support to operations,” he said. “Working in Ottawa is a complex environment which will only thrive under the right conditions: optimal technical skill sets, operational experience, tact, diplomacy, and patience.”

On this course, the students will be challenged to look at things from a practical perspective. The upgrades that have been implemented on the LAVs for survivability sacrifice things like comfort, and makes maintaining them more difficult.

“You need to understand the compromises that must be made between protection, mobility, comfort, and maintenance. The better you understand your technology and equipment, the better you will be able to assess the threats. This course gives you a better understanding of the kit your soldiers will be working with,” Col Elvish explained.

“In all of this,” Cmdre Truelove said, “remember that the work you are doing is ultimately about saving lives, about giving Canada the edge in conflict, and contributing to success in operations.”

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On Wednesday afternoon (22 Sept), the Commandant and RSM joined the AMS team in welcoming MGen Guy Laroche for his first official visit to RMCC. The new Comd LFTDS and his team spent the afternoon receiving briefs on the AMS program and discussing the future challenges with the staff and students. RMCC looks forward to frequent visits by MGen Laroche.

We (e-Veritas) contacted Captain Daniel Madryga, Adjutant at AMS and asked him about all the high profiles visiting that side of the road recently.

“The staff and students at AMS were fortuante to have two high profile visitors this past week. The ACLS MGen Howard and the Commmander of LFDTS, MGen Guy Laroche.”

The former Public Affairs Officer at RMCC added. “Both of their messages were similar.” In essence, “What the students are  learning here at the AMS is important to the future of the Army. The technology on the battlefield today is not like it was 15 to 20 years ago. The Army needs officers and NCOs who understand the technology behind today’s equipment. The Army needs officers and NCOs who know how to use today’s technology and help prepare for the next 15 to 20 years.”

It is expected that all of the officers and NCOs on completing this course will be posted to positions in either Ottawa, Gagetown or here in Kingston to take advantage of their new skills and knowledge.