Dear students, staff, families and friends of the Royal Military College of Canada,
The Officer Cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) are a distinguished group of young Canadians who have dedicated themselves to the service of our country. I am proud of their commitment, and as the Chief of the Defence Staff, I want to ensure we continue to educate, develop and prepare Officers who will excel in an ever-evolving world.
As you may know, on 30 August 2016, I ordered a Special Staff Assistance Visit, or SSAV, to RMCC. I did this to fully assess and understand the situation at the College. A team of highly experienced military leaders, both serving and retired, was sent to RMCC. They interviewed approximately 400 people, including academic and training staff and a quarter of the student body.
I have their final report, which I invite you to read here. [Special Staff Assistance Visit - Report on the Climate, Training Environment, Culture and ROTP Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada – Kingston]. Thanks to their excellent work, I have a clear understanding of the environment at the College, and what we need to do to improve it. Here are some of the report's key findings:
- RMCC continues to provide Officer Cadets with the education, development and preparation they need to succeed as Officers in the Canadian Armed Forces.
- The college environment is challenging and complex, with many expectations and rules. We can improve on how the program is supported, delivered and resourced.
- We need to better manage schedules – The priority for Officer Cadets while at RMCC is earning their degree and we need to ensure that they are provided with an environment that permits them to excel both academically and militarily.
- While support services such as medical and dental care are provided to the Officer Cadets, these services are not readily available on campus.
- We need to improve College infrastructure, in particular the library. Officer Cadets need more study space.
Life at RMCC is challenging and demanding. It’s supposed to be. Both higher education and military training are hard work – and that hard work has meaning; it helps young men and women grow into leaders.
In light of the findings, it is my intent to make significant improvements to RMCC. Some of the changes will be implemented immediately, while others will take more time. Some of the improvements are as follows:
- Making changes to the leadership training model to provide a better overall experience that is focused on a positive learning environment and achieving the standards necessary to graduate with a commission in the Canadian Armed Forces.
- Providing more regular, focused mentoring and coaching to Officer Cadets to prepare them for their military careers.
- Providing improved coordination of schedules, such as academic and training, as well as limiting the number of external activities requiring Officer Cadet participation.
- Providing better services to Officer Cadets on campus, such as medical, dental, administrative support and food services.
- Improving staff levels at the College to ensure better administrative and training support to the Officer Cadets.
- Making the necessary investments in infrastructure to ensure the Officer Cadets have access to modern, well-maintained facilities and living quarters.
I am personally invested in the success of implementing these recommendations and will keep a close eye on the progress at RMCC. This is why I’m writing to you about these changes – you need to know about them and to know that I remain committed to providing the best possible leadership and support to our Officer Cadets attending RMCC as they meet the many challenges before them on their way to graduation and commissioned service in the Canadian Armed Forces.
They will be the face of our tomorrow so let's fulfil our commitment to them today.
Jonathan H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff