Command Philosophy

As a start point, we must embrace the notion that ultimately everything we do in the Army is to produce combat forces whose fundamental role is to fight and win. Everything else emanates from this reality, and underpins our inherent versatility to undertake and deliver operational excellence in an extremely broad range of tasks below the threshold of combat. With this as a basis, the essence of my command philosophy is in the following 13 broad focus areas, for which theirspecificapplicabilitymaysomewhat varybynatureofmilitaryorcivilianservice,butI expectallintheArmytotaketoheart.

On Leadership

Leading our soldiers is a privilege. First and foremost I expect leaders at all levels to know and look after their people. They cater for individual strengths, developmentalneeds,andpersonalcircumstances,andindoingsosetsubordinatesupfor success. They must understand and manage tempo, set the example, publically recognize performance and service, and when necessary, hold our people accountable when they falter. Leaders get out and see and are seen, using a variety of means as we have seen duringthepandemic.Theyseizetheinitiativeandcreateopportunity.Theyareself-aware and realize the impact of their personality, actions, and decisions on others. They create a command climate of respect, trust, and healthy debate, where all feel psychologically safe and are comfortable in speaking up. They provide forthright yet tactful feedback up and down the chain of command. They exude a positive outlook and avoid engendering morale sapping cynicism. They make the hard decisions, and are loyal to those made by higher authorities. They strive to improve their organizations, their subordinates, and themselves every day. They create predictability and certainty to the degree possible for their subordinates - in other words, to create simplicity and clarity out of chaos. This entails being resilient in the face of surprise and shock, quickly recovering, and leading through the crisis at hand. They accept and turn honest mistakes into learning opportunities. They connect the needs of their subordinates and their families with available resources without fostering a culture of entitlement. They are humble men and women who are grateful for the opportunity to lead and are not burdened with a sense of entitlement for promotion and position. With strong character, they readily take action to dowhatisright.Whiledoingalloftheabove,leadersgetthejobdone.

On Commitment and Purpose

Weserveournation.Formanyitisacalling,forothersit isameanstoanend,butregardlesstheconceptof'service'isinherentinourrole.Allin theArmymustbeinvestedandbelieveinthesuccessofourmission.Whetheronfullor part-time duty, this is not a profession in which one gets rich- it has a transcendent purpose-whichistoserve.Assuch,itrequirespassionandenthusiasm,andoftenit demandssacrificeandservicebeforeself.Itgivesusmeaningandidentity.Therewards aremany,and,concurrentwithitsmanychallenges,IbelieveoverallserviceintheArmycan befun.

On Mission Command

I am a firm believer in mission command - that is, articulating intent(the'why')andthenempoweringandresourcingsubordinatestogetonwithit.In manycases,however,thecentralizedpolicyandresourceenvironmentinwhichwe operate constrains the traditional sense of this philosophy. That said, we will use mission command to not only execute these policies, but moreover to shape and develop them. The scope and complexity of the issues with which we deal means that no one individual is the fount of all answers, and we must leverage wisdom where we find it - which is often at the grassroots level. Furthermore, no one individual can shoulder all decisions, and thus power must be distributed and command exercised collectively. In this era of rapid change, mission command also entails empowering local innovation and sharing broadly those grassroots initiative that work.

On Agility and Change.

I define agility as the ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. The pace of technological change, the ability of our enemies to quickly learn, and the globalization of information all contributing to the uncertainty and volatility of our operating environment. We must be swift to adapt or else face irrelevancedefeat.Agilityisbasedonamindset,onethatmustbeinstilledthroughoutall trainingatallranklevels.Wecan'tbeweddedtoaplan,acertainwayofdoingbusiness, or existing structures. We must recognize,create, and seize opportunities. Challenging the status quo is inherently difficult so we must encourage and empower innovation at every opportunity. Part of agility is disciplined initiative - realize when the situation has changed, identify what needs to be done, and do it while ensuring no surprises for the chain of command. While mindful of the hard lessons earned in blood, we must embrace thenecessityof'changeasaconstant'intoourculture.

On Teamwork, Respect and Dignity

TheArmyisadiversegroupcomprised ofRegular, Army Reserve, Ranger, and Civilian components, all reflecting the makeup of Canada. All have a vital part in our mission and together we are 'One Army'. I consider diversity to be a force multiplier that better enables us to address complex issues and thus must be nurtured and protected. Exercising mutual respect is key and I have no time for any member of the Army who does not treat others with dignity, who impedes an inclusive environment, who does not promote a workplace free of harassment, or who otherwise exudes toxicity. We must redouble our efforts to ensure the Army reflects the talent inherent in Canadian society. Be welcoming of, look after, and look out for each other. Likewise,wewillbestrongteamplayerswithallexternalstakeholdersaswell,andwhen there is a clash of views, strive to see things from the other's perspective and assume positive intentions. Higher headquarters is not the enemy - there are enough real enemies striving to do usharm.

On Discipline and Conduct

For our members in uniform, as part of the sole institution chargedwithapplyingcollective deadlyforceonbehalfofthenation,wearerightlyheld to higher standards than the general population. This must be reflected in all of our activities, on and off duty, and including online, where the false cloak of anonymity will eventually fail. Our society is bombarded with conspiracy theories, extremist ideologies, hateful beliefs, and a sexualized culture. They have no place in our Army. For all members, including civilians, we are always perceived as representatives of the institution. We will all reflect and defend the values of the institution, both in word and action. Nothing erodes our credibility faster than divergence between our values and our actions, especially for leaders. Take action when inappropriate behaviour surfaces regardlessofitssource-tonotdosoistobeanaccessorytoit.Self-disciplineisvital where one will do the right thing, even in the absence of supervision. Furthermore, I expect leaders at all levels to be vigilant and decisive in enforcing ethical standards - in a leadership vacuum divergent sub-cultures with unwelcome values will invariably and often rapidly emerge.

On Retaining Talent

Talent management and retention, especially of our mid-level leaders,warrantsspecialmention.Thelong-termhealthandprofessionalismofourArmy is predicated on creating the conditions for retaining and employing our members where they are best suited. In conjunction with MilPersCom, we must move from an industrial age career management system to one that is much more personalized. There does not need to be one traditional path for all. We must strive for predictability and honest, transparentcommunication.Leadersatalllevelsmustbepersonallyinvested inretention. We cannot afford to bleedtalent.

On Fundamentals

Despite our our best efforts, we will not get our preparations for the next conflictright-butwedoneed togetthemrightenough.Thatdemandsasolid grounding in the fundamentals of our profession. Many of these fundamentals are age old - all in uniform must be able to shoot, move, communicate, and be physically fit and mentally resilient.Recentoperationshavehighlightednew, henceforthenduringfundamentalsthat must be part of our baseline, such as C-IED, combat casualty care, and population engagement. Following soldier fundamentals, all must master the core competencies of their trade. Mastery of fundamentals is a sign of true professionalism and requires deliberate effort and allocatedtime.

On Communication

Internal.The pandemic has reinforced our absolute need for human interaction. Communicate early and often up and down the chain. Keep subordinates informed frequently and through multiple means, especially face to face. Remember the old adagewheninformationarrives:'whatdoIneedtodowithitandwhoelseneedsto know'.Forreportingup,alsorememberthatbadnewsdoesnotgetbetterwithtime and that over communication is a good thing. I expect all to understand critical information requirements, and report appropriately when incidents arise. The overarching principle is 'no surprises'.

External.Wewillbeproactiveandnimbleinthepublicinformationspace.Wewill ownthe narrative,befirstwiththetruth,bustmythsand toxicfalsehoods,andtothe degree allowed by law and OPSEC, be transparent. Information vacuums will be filled with speculation and lies. Throughout the Army we will actively engage with the media and increase social media engagement, always in the context of higher intent and within ourarcs.

On Stewardship

Wefacesignificantresourcepressures-butthishasbeenthenorm duringthehistoryofourArmy.Let'sviewitasaforcingfunctiontofind innovative ways to ensure our readiness. As part of this, we must ruthlessly discipline our stewardshipofresources,lookafterourequipment,andcreateacultureofprideof ownership. Likewise we must be stewards of our data - its timeliness, integrity, and security - as it becomes increasing important in our profession. Finally, commanders at all levels will be personally invested in the business planning and comptroller processes and in getting the 'most bang for the buck'.

On Force Protection

Soldiering is inherently risky. That said, nothing we do justifies unnecessary force protection risk. I charge all members of the Army to intervene if you seeunsafeactivitiesoccurring-commonsensemustprevail.Bevigilantandbecurious.If it doesn't look right - ask and act. Investigate and learn from 'near misses'. Lastly,remember OPSEC and cyber security - our enemies have many ways of gathering intelligence.

On Professional Development

History has shown that the most important activities any Army undertakes is developing junior leaders. With the pace of change in the operating environment, we cannot expect our periodic professional military education to be a panacea. I expect all commanders to execute leader development programs, including reading,writingandpublishingtocontributetoourbodyof professionalknowledge.Our only enduring and meaningful legacy as commanders will be those subordinate leaders we develop who will lead us to success in our next fight. This principle of professional development applies to all - focus on getting better every day as a person and as a professional.AdayintheArmywhenyoudon’tlearnsomethingnewisadaywasted.

On Total Fitness and Balanced Lives

Fitness across all domains greatly improves not onlyqualityoflife,butmoreoverindividualandcollectiveperformance,andthusisakey contributor to readiness. We must strive to improve physical performance and cognitive abilities and set conditions for healthy, balanced living, which willbe greatly enhanced by numerousefforts:

  1. We will aggressively evolve and implement Mission: Ready as the key driver of Army Total Fitness. This will remain nested under the numerous CAF Total Health and Wellness initiatives, such as the recently published physical performance strategy,Balance.Iamaconvincedthatthepowerfulcombinationofdailyphysical activity,healthynutrition,sleephygiene,andinjurypreventionwillstandallingood stead in all aspects of professional and personallives.
  2. There is more work than we have capacity to accomplish. I expect ruthless prioritizationoftasksandclearcommunicationon whatwillnotgetdone.Wehavea culture of trying to do everything, with certain tasks falling off by default, not bydeliberatedecision.
  3. Iexpectalltomaintainanoverallwork-lifebalance.Inthis profession'serviceabove self' will on average prevail, but there will be certain life events where self and family will come before service. Use your leave - all of it - for its intended purpose.In our connected world, avoid intruding on others' personal time by sending non operationally urgent emails after work hours or on weekends. Ifworking remotely, create a clear separation between work and home. Recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and others, and take action -we need you for the long run.
  4. Finally, socialbalanceisvital.Thepandemichasclearlyhighlightedthisneed. Create and enjoy opportunities to get out and talk, socialize, and build support networks with others. Life in the Army goes beyond justwork.

In closing, I very much look forward to continuing to soldier with you, and together we will be stewards of our Army's success. I expect commanders at all levels the share this document with all ranks.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: