The operating costs of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) are twice as much as other universities, yet the institution falls short of its basic purpose of producing well-prepared and high-quality officers for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), according to a new report from the auditor general of Canada.
According to the report, released Tuesday, preparing officers through the RMCC is costing them twice as much as it costs to produce officers through other entry plans and RMC could not justify “these standards resulted in more effective military officers.”
Additionally, the report also notes that there is no significant career progression between the graduates of the military institution and officers entering the CAF through other means.
The auditor general points the finger at the school’s emphasis on academic education over military training for the lack of graduating officers with high military education and leadership skills.
“The primary role of the Royal Military College of Canada is to be a military institution. Unless National Defence can resolve the issues identified in this report and the Special Staff Assistance Visit report, the Royal Military College of Canada risks becoming just another university and not providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the leaders it requires,” noted the report.
In addition, the auditor general has noted that although the institution responded to reports of serious incidents, the number of investigations and incidents of misconduct involving senior officer cadets proves that there is a need to improve military training.
In this regard, the report recommends that the RMCC ensure that senior officer cadets should demonstrate high standards of conduct and ethical behaviour before they are appointed to leadership positions. The report also recommends that RMC staff has the proper skills and training to produce officers for the military that have high codes of conduct and leadership skills.
Overall, the auditor general recommends that RMC clearly define and strengthen its military training of officer cadets and ensure the training is relevant and provides value to operational units and define the role of commandant as the executive authority to oversee long-term and day-to-day operations, “particularly the ability to oversee and integrate military training and academic programs.”
The report also recommended that RMC explore options to reduce operating costs, perhaps by cutting down on the number of programs offered.
The Department of National Defence has issued a statement verifying that they agree with all of the recommendations made by the auditor general and, in fact, in the process already of working on some of the recommendations based on the Canadian Armed Forces Royal Military College of Canada’s Special Staff Assistance Visit ordered last year by the Chief of the Defence Staff.
“I thank the Auditor General and his team, on behalf of my department, for the completion of these reports, and I welcome their findings and recommendations regarding the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC).
“As Chancellor of RMC, I am very proud of this valued national institution and its long history of producing well-rounded leaders with the post-secondary education, military training, physical fitness, bilingualism and ethical foundations needed to succeed as commissioned officers in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)
“I agree with the recommendations provided by the Auditor General, and I am confident that they will assist us greatly in our continuing efforts to ensure the best possible environment for Officer Cadets to learn and develop as leaders. An action plan will be developed to address all of the recommendations,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defence in a statement released Tuesday.
Sajjan does, however, state that the RMC is the only institution in Canada where graduates must not only complete academic work, but military training, physical fitness, and bilingualism components as well, and this is why costs are higher at the school.
He did, however, agree that DND and the RMC will look into ways to reduce costs.
“The students who attend our military colleges are future leaders of the women and men of the CAF, and they will indeed play an important role in ensuring that Canada remains Strong, Secure, Engaged. That is why we are investing in programs and initiatives that will enhance support to RMC Officer Cadets so that they can continue to bravely and professionally serve our country,” said Sajjan.