Policy Officer Recruitment Programme


The 2023-2024 application period is now closed. Those who applied will hear about next steps in the coming weeks.

If you'd like to be notified about recruitment campaigns, please join our email list here: https://forms.office.com/r/m4V0E9rP15.

The Policy Officer Recruitment Programme (PORP) is a three-year professional development program designed to recruit and develop 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 270 individuals. Many of our former members 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 on an array of pressing defence and security issues that are constantly evolving, such as information warfare, continental defence, great power competition, the Arctic, climate change, cybersecurity, disarmament, disaster response, procurement, multilateralism, peacekeeping, etc.

For example, they:

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. For example, members of the programme may get to temporarily work at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York to assist with preparations for the UN General Assembly High-level Week. In addition, after graduating from the programme, there are opportunities for longer international postings and to deploy on CAF operations around the world to act as Policy Advisors.

Essential qualifications

To be considered for the PORP, you must:

You must also have the ability to:

You must also demonstrate:

What we offer

Full-time, permanent employment

Individuals hired through the Policy Officer Recruitment Programme are offered a full-time, indeterminate (permanent) position in the Policy Group at the Department of National Defence. The PORP is not an internship, a contract, or an academic program.

The programme covers a period of three years during which participants get three one-year work assignments in three different divisions within the Policy Group. Our rotational programme allows employees to be exposed to a variety of issues, types, and styles of work, and gain meaningful experience.

New policy officers work on pressing defence issues and military operations covering a wide range of topics, from culture change to emerging technologies, below threshold conflict to climate change, to intelligence, and more.

Members of the PORP are hired as Developmental Policy Officers 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 then promoted to Junior Policy Officers (EC-04 level) in their second year, if they meet the necessary requirements. After three years in the programme, PORP members will be assessed for graduation as a Defence Policy Officer, at the EC-05 level, and offered a position within the Policy Group.

For more information, 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.

Continuous learning opportunities

At its core, the PORP is a professional development programme that will round-out your academic experience and help you hone your skills in areas like writing in a professional context, strategic thinking, and negotiation skills.

In addition to the on-the-job learning opportunities offered by the three work rotations, training is done through a combination of classroom and on-line courses, ad-hoc learning opportunities, mentoring, and special projects or assignments. Full-time, paid second language training is also provided for those who are not already proficient in both official languages.

All participants of the program participate in 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 allows them to learn more about operational issues, equipment, and life in various military units outside of Ottawa, and how this relates to their own work at headquarters.

An open and welcoming work environment

The PORP hires five to eight individuals on average per year. Our cohort hiring practice means that from day one you have a built-in network of peers, as well as the opportunity to tap into the vast network of other PORPs and program alumni.

The Policy Group maintains an ongoing, open dialogue about ensuring ours is a supportive and inclusive work environment where people thrive.

We recognize the dignity and worth of each member of the organization and all facets of their identity (including gender and gender expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, ability, etc.) and we are committed to creating and fostering an environment where this diversity is valued, inclusiveness is reflexive, and everyone, at all levels, can feel enabled and included to do their best work.

We understand that the light shed on instances of harassment and sexual misconduct in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces may be cause for concerns for potential PORP applicants, especially for women, members of LGBTQ2+ communities, racialized people, and other individuals who are underrepresented in the defence and security environment. Should you want to be connected with a current member of the Policy Group to discuss their experience working with us, please do not hesitate to contact us at PORP-PRAP@forces.gc.ca.

How to apply

Applications are accepted during an advertised process, typically on an annual basis each Fall, 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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