Policy Officer Recruitment Programme


We are pleased to announce that the Policy Officer Recruitment Programme will be accepting applications in November 2021.  Please check this website again closer to that time.

The Policy Officer Recruitment Programme (PORP) is a three-year program created to recruit, develop, and train talented individuals from entry to working-level in the Policy Group at the Department of National Defence (DND).

Through the PORP, participants are familiarized with the unique characteristics of DND and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The PORP is designed to provide participants with the experience, knowledge and competencies required to emerge as well-rounded and effective Defence Policy Officers.

The programme has a track record of success. Since its inception in 1987, the PORP has recruited more than 200 individuals. Many of our former recruits are now senior Policy Officers or executives across DND or elsewhere in the federal government. Take a look at the testimonials of some of our former candidates of the PORP.

What is a Defence Policy Officer?

Defence Policy Officers help inform government decision-making by providing sound advice, recommendations and analysis. For example, they:

  • provide advice to the Minister of National Defence and defence and military senior officials on key defence issues
  • maintain bilateral relationships with international Allies and partners
  • analyse and make recommendations on courses of action
  • provide support and guidance to the Minister and senior officials on Parliamentary, Cabinet and Committee processes and issues
  • provide policy support to military operations and exercises
  • brief the Minister of National Defence and senior officials on a variety of emerging and current issues related to Defence

Defence Policy Officers are typically based at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. There may also be opportunities to travel both domestically and internationally as part of regular or special working assignments.

Essential qualifications

To be considered for the PORP, you must:

  • have a Master’s degree in history, political science, international affairs, public administration, law, sociology, economics or other security and defence related disciplines from a recognized university
  • have a specialization (university-level course) in sociology, statistics or economics*
  • be proficient in English or French
  • be knowledgeable of current Canadian defence policy, as well as current domestic and international security and defence issues
  • have experience researching, analyzing, and writing on subjects related to international affairs, defence and/or security or public policy
  •  be a Canadian citizen
  • have an interest in national and international defence and security issues

* Candidates must demonstrate their specialization in economics, sociology or statistics by indicating in their application that they have taken at least one university-level course or by describing a combination of education, training and/or experience in one of these subject areas.

You must also have the ability to:

  • communicate effectively orally
  • communicate effectively in writing
  • conduct research, analysis and synthesize information
  • work under pressure with tight deadlines
  • form a professional network
  • work in teams

as well as demonstrate:

  • commitment to excellence
  • values and ethics
  • judgment
  • leadership
  • adaptability
  • initiative

What we offer

Recruits of the Policy Officer program are trained over a period of three years.

Training is done through a combination of classroom and on-line courses, in-house learning opportunities, mentoring, and special projects or assignments. We also challenge our participants with demanding and unique 12-month working assignments.

All participants of the program are sent on a Canadian Forces Base Tour during their first year, to familiarize themselves with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This also allows them to learn more about operational issues, equipment, and life in various military units – outside of Ottawa.

Members of the PORP are hired at the EC-02 level (Economics and Social Science Services Group), and remain at that level for their first year in the programme.  PORP members are promoted to the EC-04 level in their second year, if they meet the necessary requirements. View the rates of pay for all levels of the Economics and Social Science Services Group.

PORP members moving to Ottawa are also eligible, under certain circumstances, for a relocation allowance, to a maximum of $5,000. Find more details about the Government of Canada’s relocation policy.

How the PORP works

Upon entry into the programme, Policy Officers are placed into a number of different assignments throughout the Policy Group.

In previous years, assignments have included, amongst others:

  • writing speeches for the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Deputy Minister and other senior defence officials
  • preparing the Minister for Question Period
  • preparing government and departmental representatives for Parliamentary committee appearances
  • providing policy advice on equipment purchases for the Canadian Armed Forces
  • managing DND's bilateral and multilateral defence and international security relations
  • evaluating strategic developments
  • helping to develop and articulate major proposals on defence policy

There may also be opportunities to travel both domestically and internationally as part of regular or special working assignments.

Graduation from the PORP

After three years in the PORP, participants will be assessed for graduation by a Program Assessment Review Board. Candidates will be assessed against an EC-05 Statement of Merit Criteria.

All PORP members successful in the graduation process will be offered a position within the Policy Group at the Department of National Defence at the EC-05 level.

How to apply

Applications are accepted during an advertised process, typically on an annual basis for a two-week period.

Contact Us

If you have questions or comments not addressed on this website, you can send us a message at PORP-PRAP@forces.gc.ca.


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