Interim Policy Introduced for Succession Boards

Some Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) succession boards for will now include a member from a different environment than the environment conducting the succession board. Additionally, these succession boards will also include a volunteer civilian defence team member.

The new policy went into effect this September.

Recommendation 39

This new initiative is an interim policy under Recommendation 39 of the Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review released in May 2022 by former justice Louise Arbour.

Recommendation 39 proposed that all succession boards for majors and above and master warrant officer/chief petty officer 2nd class appointment boards should include an independent member of the civilian community who is not part of the defence team.

“The intent of Recommendation 39 as described in [Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review] is to encourage the cross-pollination of best practices for succession planning, help ensure that the CAF’s practices stay current, and provide opportunities for the evolving norms of wider society to permit the selection of CAF leadership,” stated CANFORGEN 114/23.

Because properly implementing this recommendation will take time, the CAF says it will, in the interim, choose a CAF member who is not connected to the unit conducting the succession board and a civilian defence team member.

Purposes of the Message

The CANFORGEN noted that for the purposes of the message, “succession planning is defined as an integrated and systematic process that ensures the availability of personnel with the leadership organizational behaviours and character to ensure leadership continuity to meet the Canadian Armed Forces mission and objectives.”

The message continued, “further, for the purposes of this message, a success board is defined as a multi-person process where candidates are selected, typically through a voting process, for appointment to unit command team and higher-level officer and non-commissioned officer appointments. It is understood that board outcomes are typically approved by an appropriate authority.”

Composition of Succession Board Members

Under the new policy, the CAF member “who is of a different environment” should be of equal or higher rank than the other board member and cannot be in the chain of command of any other board member or the board approving authority, according to the CANFORGEN.

According to general regulations, CAF members on succession boards “must plan for meaningful representation from designated groups.” These designated groups include women, indigenous people, people with disabilities, visible minorities, and members of the LGBTQ2 Plus community.

Selection board members should also have a minimum language ability.

The volunteer civilian defence team member is not required to be out of the environment/level 1 that is conducting the succession board. However, they cannot be a former CAF member.

Additional Guidelines

According to the CANFORGEN, the new succession board members outlined in the memo have equal standing to other succession board members to include voting rights.

Any coordination or costs related to the process are the responsibility of the organization conducting the board.

In the case of Executive General Officer/Flag Officer, the composition of the Armed Forces Council will be determined separately by Options Analysis, stated the CANFORGEN.

Questions regarding this new directive can be sent to environment/level 1 succession planners to Director General Military Careers.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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