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Change of Command - RAWC 2021: Are We "getting it right"?

Eye In The Sky

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I noticed this today on the RCAF FB page:


While I'm not privy to all the career info on either the former and current RAWC Comd, I'm wondering...are we getting it right?

The outgoing Comd is an Air Op Officer, with operational experience dating back to Somali. A pilot by trade, so part of the Air Operations Branch.

The incoming Comd is a Contruction Engineering Officer. I'm left scratching my head. Not to disrespect CE Officers...but they aren't trained, experienced or familiar with...well....aerospace warfare.

I am an Air Operations Branch WO; my expectation to be posted to a Wing Msn Sp Sqn as the CE Unit WO is "nil". I simply don't have the required experience and knowledge to lead and manage CE and Fire Services trades etc. Could I do it? Certainly. But I definitely would not be the best choice, regardless of my operational experience and knowledge in my current trade and rank.

So...this leads to my question "are we getting it right?". Are we picking (1) the best people from (2) the most suited trade/classification for leadership in "current and future operations" and our institutions (training, developmental, operational)?

I took a look on the RAWC site; the CWO is an ATIS Tech (nothing against that trade...it was my previous one). Again...best trade for Aerospace Warfare leadership? Maybe a AWACS background AC Op, or an AES Op CWO is more suited because they come from the "air operations" world as operators.

Some might dogpile on me here; that's fine as I am not saying my thoughts and opinions are correct, but this is something I've been wondering in recent years so thought it might start an interesting discussion.

* I'll outright state I am not a huge fan of the current version of the "CWO/CPO Corps" and the "A Chief is a Chief is a Chief" mantra. It's simply not true IMO.
 

Halifax Tar

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I think that's what we're seeing now. We have a cook as the base supply Coxn in Halifax now.
 

dimsum

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I noticed this today on the RCAF FB page:


While I'm not privy to all the career info on either the former and current RAWC Comd, I'm wondering...are we getting it right?

The outgoing Comd is an Air Op Officer, with operational experience dating back to Somali. A pilot by trade, so part of the Air Operations Branch.

The incoming Comd is a Contruction Engineering Officer. I'm left scratching my head. Not to disrespect CE Officers...but they aren't trained, experienced or familiar with...well....aerospace warfare.

I am an Air Operations Branch WO; my expectation to be posted to a Wing Msn Sp Sqn as the CE Unit WO is "nil". I simply don't have the required experience and knowledge to lead and manage CE and Fire Services trades etc. Could I do it? Certainly. But I definitely would not be the best choice, regardless of my operational experience and knowledge in my current trade and rank.

So...this leads to my question "are we getting it right?". Are we picking (1) the best people from (2) the most suited trade/classification for leadership in "current and future operations" and our institutions (training, developmental, operational)?

I took a look on the RAWC site; the CWO is an ATIS Tech (nothing against that trade...it was my previous one). Again...best trade for Aerospace Warfare leadership? Maybe a AWACS background AC Op, or an AES Op CWO is more suited because they come from the "air operations" world as operators.

Some might dogpile on me here; that's fine as I am not saying my thoughts and opinions are correct, but this is something I've been wondering in recent years so thought it might start an interesting discussion.

* I'll outright state I am not a huge fan of the current version of the "CWO/CPO Corps" and the "A Chief is a Chief is a Chief" mantra. It's simply not true IMO.

I know nothing about the incoming CO's background, but even as a general rule, I'll respectfully disagree.

I also don't know a ton in detail about the RAWC, but what I do know makes me think that it isn't like a line sqn, where the CO needs to be familiar with aircraft operations, etc. It's more of an "umbrella" with areas of specialization. Those leaders (directors? Whatever the term is) should be familiar with Aerospace Warfare.

However, I don't think that the leader of those directors (the CO in this case) needs to be. If anything, it could be a benefit because they are more likely to say "I'm not 100% sure but I have these specialists who are better informed than me."

My 2c.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Ok...not "needs to be"...but 'is better suited'? And that is what I am driving at..."the most suited for".

I think we're going too far away from the "most suited for" part and I think it is an important part. You can be the more talented CE Officer in the world and know/understand SFA about tac/op level air operations; not because of any other reason than "you never did them".

The same can be said about CE operations and management. How many Air Ops Officers have been posted in as the Cmdt of CFSME? I'll be none...not because they are stupid, or they couldn't 'do it'. They simply aren't the most suited trade/classification for that command position.

Let's take the 14 Wg Comd. It isn't likely s/he will have operational and command experience in both the LRP and SAR communities...but s/he will be able to understand thru common experience of 'conducting/commanding air operations' that they will have command credibility with the Sqn bosses.

WFH affords too much time to wonder about these things? 😁
 

Eye In The Sky

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I think that's what we're seeing now. We have a cook as the base supply Coxn in Halifax now.

This was discussed in a trade townhall I attended recently; I've not heard any support for this stuff, except the CPO1 who presented the SEM/TEM Proj briefing to the WO/Sgt mess fall '19. I didn't like it then...and like it less as I heard more about 'how it will work'.
 

daftandbarmy

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I noticed this today on the RCAF FB page:


While I'm not privy to all the career info on either the former and current RAWC Comd, I'm wondering...are we getting it right?

The outgoing Comd is an Air Op Officer, with operational experience dating back to Somali. A pilot by trade, so part of the Air Operations Branch.

The incoming Comd is a Contruction Engineering Officer. I'm left scratching my head. Not to disrespect CE Officers...but they aren't trained, experienced or familiar with...well....aerospace warfare.

I am an Air Operations Branch WO; my expectation to be posted to a Wing Msn Sp Sqn as the CE Unit WO is "nil". I simply don't have the required experience and knowledge to lead and manage CE and Fire Services trades etc. Could I do it? Certainly. But I definitely would not be the best choice, regardless of my operational experience and knowledge in my current trade and rank.

So...this leads to my question "are we getting it right?". Are we picking (1) the best people from (2) the most suited trade/classification for leadership in "current and future operations" and our institutions (training, developmental, operational)?

I took a look on the RAWC site; the CWO is an ATIS Tech (nothing against that trade...it was my previous one). Again...best trade for Aerospace Warfare leadership? Maybe a AWACS background AC Op, or an AES Op CWO is more suited because they come from the "air operations" world as operators.

Some might dogpile on me here; that's fine as I am not saying my thoughts and opinions are correct, but this is something I've been wondering in recent years so thought it might start an interesting discussion.

* I'll outright state I am not a huge fan of the current version of the "CWO/CPO Corps" and the "A Chief is a Chief is a Chief" mantra. It's simply not true IMO.

I dunno... 'Engineer' and 'Aerospace' seem pretty compatible to me at first glance, not that I know anything about those two things.

Just don't go checking the qualifications of some of our Army Generals though ;)
 

McG

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While I'm not privy to all the career info on either the former and current RAWC Comd, I'm wondering...are we getting it right?

The outgoing Comd is an Air Op Officer, with operational experience dating back to Somali. A pilot by trade, so part of the Air Operations Branch.

The incoming Comd is a Contruction Engineering Officer. I'm left scratching my head. Not to disrespect CE Officers...but they aren't trained, experienced or familiar with...well....aerospace warfare.
I don't know Col Lehoux, but I do know a few CE Officers who have worked various A3 jobs in Winnipeg. Is there not a possibility that such individuals might actually have a better idea of integrating air force effects than somebody who has never seen the outside of their platform community?

And, if we can believe this: Royal Canadian Air Force Aerospace Warfare Centre

RAWC looks to be the RCAF organization for history & heritage, doctrine writing, future concepts, and probably some modeling & simulation (M&S). History & heritage can be done by just about anybody. The doctrine staff should already be full of SMEs. Future concepts generally benefit from outside the box thinking and a range of perspectives. M&S normally gets thrown to technical trades anyway. Aside from branding, is there a need for selection criteria more specific than a competent generalist with skilled leadership capabilities?

How many Air Ops Officers have been posted in as the Cmdt of CFSME?
Potentially the same number as CE Officers who have been Cmdt of CFMSE. Which might be something around zero.
Not because they cannot do the job, but because army fills CFSME and air force fills 1 ESU.
It's some kind of detente.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Aside from branding, is there a need for selection criteria more specific than a competent generalist with skilled leadership capabilities?

This is the question, perhaps, I am asking only better worded. I've nothing against the Col, the CE Officer trade, truly.

I would have had the same question in my head if the article was about a LogO who became the Cmdt of the CF H Svcs Trg Center (sorry if that isn't the actually name); "is that the best person and trade for that position?" Obviously I guess...I think not.

So for these catagories of positions, 'competent generalist' is historically a key factor at the Col/Capt(N) level? I guess what I mean is..."has this always been they way, and I just did not know/care" or is this a new (last decade +/-) 'trend'?
 

blacktriangle

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Here's a link to the Internet RCAF Aerospace Warfare Center page and the RAWC Organization (Units) page with descriptions.
After looking at that link...CE? That's crazy.

Pilot, ACSO, Air Operations Officer (not sure if that's a thing yet?) If they want an engineer, isn't there still AERE as a trade? Or even a civilian engineer or other classification (possibly with RCAF background?) All better options, IMO.
 

Good2Golf

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This is the question, perhaps, I am asking only better worded. I've nothing against the Col, the CE Officer trade, truly.

I would have had the same question in my head if the article was about a LogO who became the Cmdt of the CF H Svcs Trg Center (sorry if that isn't the actually name); "is that the best person and trade for that position?" Obviously I guess...I think not.

So for these catagories of positions, 'competent generalist' is historically a key factor at the Col/Capt(N) level?
Perhaps some are mixing up Air Force CE officers with CELE(Air) officers? I can’t help but have an element of consideration along the lines of EITS’ original question, given past experience with both CELE(Air) and CE(Air) (up to LGen in both MOSIDs). CELE(Air) tends to think networked and inter-connective (which I think fits nicely into RAWC’s mandate). I have found CE(Air) to be more materially-minded.

That said, if the establishment position is ‘AIR ANY’ then the Comd could rightly come from any air officer MOSID.
 

McG

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After looking at that...CE? That's crazy.

Pilot, ACSO, Air Operations Officer (not sure if that's a thing yet?) If they want an engineer, isn't there still AERE as a trade? Or even a civilian engineer or other classification (possibly with RCAF background?)
Construction engineer officers are air force.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Pilot, ACSO, Air Operations Officer (not sure if that's a thing yet?)
AEC, as well. I had the opportunity to attend the 2020 ADLAP - my first conference with the AEC/AC Op community and I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and knowledge.
 
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blacktriangle

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Construction engineer officers are air force.
Sure, but that position seems focused on air & space ops...don't AERE do space stuff? Air Force construction engineers are more about airfield related stuff, aren't they? I suppose if we were looking at implementing some kind of forward air operations like the USMC in the Pacific (i.e. more dispersed, FARPs etc) than perhaps it would make more sense.

I suppose since this is a Col they are filling an executive role more than anything? I'm sure they can draw on the insights of the LCol/Maj in the units subordinate to them? (Not sure how these units are organized, only familiar with 414)
 

coolintheshade

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OP....I hear ya and valid question you post, however, you might not be privy to the incoming Comd's background and previous experience. My guess is these two individuals are both of the 'Air' element right? If an Air Col was being replaced at the RAWC with a Land Col, that will be the real head scratcher.

CALWC, has had different occupation CO's. Also, take CFSCE or CFJSR for example.....in very recent years, the CO & Comdt have been Sigs, with the DCOs CELE. I mean is there any reason why the posns can't alternate each year?
 

Eye In The Sky

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Perhaps some are mixing up Air Force CE officers with CELE(Air) officers? I can’t help but have an element of consideration along the lines of EITS’ original question, given past experience with both CELE(Air) and CE(Air) (up to LGen in both MOSIDs). CELE(Air) tends to think networked and inter-connective (which I think fits nicely into RAWC’s mandate). I have found CE(Air) to be more materially-minded.

If it was CELE (Air), I would have thought nothing of it, but that is from having a friend or two at the CELE LCol+ level and knowing where they've been posted and what competencies/skills/knowledge they bring.

Similarly (and speaking as someone who had a brief period of service as an ATIS Tech before remustering again), when I was curious as to who was the AWC CWO, I saw "ATIS Tech" and sort of frowned...and then saw "time with The Gypsies and 42 Rdr" and went "oh, nice". Right or wrong, there is that aspect of credibility that comes with some things (maybe individually, what qualifies as 'credibility' differs).
 

Eye In The Sky

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Also, take CFSCE or CFJSR for example.....in very recent years, the CO & Comdt have been Sigs, with the DCOs CELE

Seen, however...they are both 'born and bred' at CFSCE and within the C & E branch, and have enough in common to wear the same cap badge...whereas...Air Ops / Engr...not so much?

Many 'Bios' are a case of copy pasta...rather than asking for an update from the individual.

True. However, none of a CE Officers experience will be conducting Air Ops; they could fly every second day and it will all be "PAX hours". There's a huge knowledge delta (for an org that is a "warfare center) . Perhaps the name of the RAWC is what needs changed. :D
 

blacktriangle

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Perhaps the individual is truly exceptional, and will do an excellent job regardless of background. Perhaps this is also a way to give them wider exposure to prepare them to progress further in the RCAF? It might end up benefiting the RCAF or CAF as a whole down the line, and this is simply a focal point of something positive for the institution.

I don't like what they've done with the CWO rank, but perhaps on the officer side there is more merit in these sort of initiatives.
 
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