Breakout Educational Network and the University of Alberta’s Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative Launched For Canadian Forces

By Robert Roy

July 8, 2013

Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative

The Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative is a partnership between the University of Alberta and the Canadian Armed Forces  to launch an accredited and structured program that fulfills the academic objectives of participants while developing a set of wider personal and professional objectives. This program will serve as a pilot, or proof of concept, for potential expansion to programs at other Canadian universities.

The University of Alberta is committed to providing a test-bed for the four-year pilot project and administrative support for an initial cohort of students to participate in the program. The Canadian Army is committed to providing Army Reserve training vacancies for participants in the program.

Ultimately, the Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative aims to provide a practical framework in which to develop the leadership skills of tomorrow’s leaders and to strengthen the connections between Canada’s military, civil, and academic communities. The program will inculcate the values of leadership, citizenship, and nation-building to participating university students who will have access to programming within a military context. The program will combine the opportunity to develop an appreciation of responsibilities in a democratic society with an understanding of the CAF role in that society.

The Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative comprises mandatory civil and military curricula. Students will typically enrol in the four-year undergraduate degree program of their choice. Further, participants will enrol in the Canadian Army as officers or non-commissioned members in a military trade of their choosing, including but not limited to logistics, maintenance, armoured reconnaissance, artillery, infantry, intelligence, military police, and engineering. In addition to a selected undergraduate degree program, there is a modest common civil curriculum, intended to firmly establish the historical context and philosophical principles of military leadership. The pilot is expected to be launched in September 2013 and be completed in 2017. A minimum of 20 students is required for the cohort which can enrol a maximum of 40.

During the academic year, participants will train with an Edmonton-based Army Reserve Unit approximately one night a week and one weekend per month. Their first summer will be spent undertaking common military training and each of the two subsequent summers will provide up to 12 weeks of more focused trade specific training. All military training will be conducted at Canadian Armed Forces facilities.

Upon successful completion of both military trade training and university prerequisites, the University of Alberta will grant a certificate of qualification in leadership. Participants may continue with their career in the CAF or release and pursue other opportunities, carrying with them invaluable and marketable leadership skills.

The Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative is new initiative with historic links to an older model, the Canadian Officer Training Corps, which was terminated in 1968 with the unification of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army into the CAF.

The Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative is different from a former program which often utilized infrastructure on campus property to conduct military training. With this pilot program, the military training is conducted off campus and students, in civilian clothing, will attend regular classes. Other nations, such as the United States and Britain, also employ the university model concept with variations.

There are no additional costs to the military associated with this pilot project. It is financially feasible because it uses the existing model whereby students pay regular tuition consistent with the tuition level of their program of choice, while they receive pay and pension, health and other benefits as members of the CAF. It is expected that the CAF pay received will significantly off-set the cost of the tuition.

The Role of the Breakout Educational Network

One of the Breakout Educational Network’s objectives is to create a civically engaged, strategically aware public by initiating long term cultural change in the way Canadians relate to and understand the Canadian Forces. Through citizen based initiatives that create opportunities to develop an awareness and appreciation of our responsibilities in a democratic society, Breakout’s projects contribute to the conditions necessary to bring about a change in Canada’s strategic culture. These changes will better prepare Canadians to confront the challenges of the 21st Century.

THE CIVIL MILITARY LEADERSHIP PILOT INITIATIVE is one of our most important concepts.

For more than 50 years, the Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC) helped to create business, civil and military leaders. Through the ‎COTC, university students developed, harnessed and realized their civic-mindedness, leadership, discipline and initiative – all while creating a bridge of understanding and support between civil society and its armed forces.

Breakout seeks to revive this tradition of leadership training in Canada in a contemporary fashion as the Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative so that we may join many of our allies including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and South Africa, who continue to benefit from this exercise in leadership, citizenship and nation building.

Since launching the initiative in 2006, Breakout has produced, promoted, and broadcast documentaries that introduced the concept to the public. Initial discussions with the University of Alberta about a pilot project to put this concept into effect were begun in 2009 and meetings were then held with the Canadian Armed Forces to explore renewal options. Breakout has secured financial support from several prominent philanthropic sources, including the Aurea Foundation and the Weston Foundation. Cabinet members, the Governor-General and the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence have been briefed. An advisory board of prominent Canadians, has offered their assistance and expertise in furthering our goals. Among the Advisory Board are: Senators William Rompkey, Pamela Wallin and Hugh Segal, Dr. Neville Poy, Dr. Jack Granatstein, the Hon. Bill Graham, former Minster of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. John Fraser, former Speaker of the House, Dr. John Scott Cowan former principle of the Royal Military College, John Rankin, Paul Chapin and Jean Thérèse Riley.

With the Minister of National Defence’s July 8 announcement providing momentum, we hope to build a national constituency to expand the CMLPI to other universities. We will be producing further films focusing on officer –cadet training traditions in Australia and the new University Reserve Training Unit in South Africa. Our completed productions on the Cambridge‎ OTC in the UK ( FOR QUEEN & COUNTRY – 2008) , the return of the‎ NROTC to Columbia University in the U.S. ( BRIDGING THE GAP – 2013) and the demise of the COTC in Canada, ( NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN – 2008 ) have already made the CMLPI possible. Aired by our broadcast partner ‎ichannel, these programs have built public interest and attracted the support of university presidents, students and the business community.


Robert Roy
Breakout Educational Network
Suite 304  1200 Bay Street  Toronto,
Ontario M5R 2A5
416 923 1105  in association with
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Reason to Reach Out and Remember

-by John Richmond

On Sunday the 7th of April this year, I had the distinct privilege of attending the ‘Freedom of the City of Moncton’ ceremony during which this historic and significant honour was bestowed upon the VIII th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s). The ceremony, held in concert with the Regiments 165th Birthday celebrations, highlighted the close ties the Hussars have had with Moncton and the Province of New Brunswick since their inception. Honorary Colonel Elisabeth Rybak, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel David Henderson and Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Don Bourque accepted the honour on behalf of the Regiment from their worships Mayor George Leblanc of Moncton and Dorchester Mayor Jerome Bear.

Of equal importance to me was the opportunity to meet with so many members of the Regimental Family, including Cadets and family members; and to offer my gratitude for the service to Canada that they as individuals and as a unit provide. To family members, parents, grandparents, spouses and children it was an opportunity to say thank you for the sacrifices they make while their loved ones are away on training or operational assignments at home and around the globe.

I believe it is important for me as a citizen to acknowledge their service and sacrifice, to say thank you and to show my support for their efforts on ‘my’ behalf; after all these young men and women represent me (and YOU) wherever they go and whatever they do.

Left: Pte. David Robert Greenslade, Saint John, N.B. 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment  Right: MC Christopher Paul Stannix, Reservist Princess Louise Fusiliers, Halifax

Left: Pte. David Robert Greenslade, Saint John, N.B. 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Right: MC Christopher Paul Stannix, Reservist Princess Louise Fusiliers, Halifax

Both the daily newspapers of St. John and Moncton justly covered the story on the front page of their Monday editions. As I glanced through the rest of the St. John paper I was struck by the grim reminder of just what the costs for this service can be. There in the last section on the paper, two young proud faces stared out at me as families paid homage to Master Corporal Christopher Stannix and Private David Greenslade who both fell in Afghanistan on April 8th, 2007.

Connecting with our Military Community is often more difficult in peace than it is in war. In conflict the press keep us informed of the challenges, dangers and disasters that our military personnel face on a daily basis. In peace it falls upon us the citizens to reach out to our military community, to convey our continued support for their efforts on our behalf and to acknowledge the real costs in lives to build this great country.Join me in celebrating these amazing men and women and their families. Be Proud. Show you care. Get involved with your local Garrison Community Council, or start one and stay connected.