Part 2 – What is the Canadian Armed Forces Ethos and How do I Use It?

The CAF Ethos describes who we are as a profession. Ethos is defined as the characteristic spirit of a culture, community, or organization as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations. Therefore, the ethos of a military force is the ideal culture of that profession, expressed by clear principles, values and expectations. Ethos should not be confused with ethics. Ethics are moral principles that govern people’s behaviour (i.e. what is right and wrong). They form the foundation upon which the CAF Ethos is built.

The CAF Ethos comprises seventeen elements categorized as three ethical principles, six military values, and eight professional expectations. Since these elements are either unique or crucial to the Profession of Arms, they are not only described and taught but must also be embodied by all military professionals, at all times. The CAF Ethos defines our professional conduct, shapes our professional judgment, and frames our performance expectations.

Most of our principles, values, and expectations can also be found in other government codes such as the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics, and also the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. However, the CAF Ethos further defines how these seventeen elements relate specifically to Canadian Armed Forces personnel as members of the Profession of Arms. Although these elements clearly apply to operations, the principles, values and expectations of the CAF Ethos must also be applied appropriately at all times.

The CAF does not expect recruits to fully understand and comprehensively apply the CAF Ethos right away. However, socialization, or more simply, an ongoing discussion between leaders, subordinates and peers, helps to deepen our understanding of its application to military service and our daily lives. The CAF Ethos must guide all our actions and decisions, ranging from how we respect each other every day, up to and including the lawful use of force on operations.

Leaders have a special responsibility to exemplify the highest standards of our ethos in their military service because, as CAF leadership doctrine emphasizes, we lead by example. Leaders must also constantly socialize the ethos with their subordinates. It is through practicing the ethos that we learn, internalize, and live it.

The CAF Ethos does not define standards of behaviour in minute detail. The CAF is a values-based organization that depends on self-discipline and sound judgement to uphold its high standards of conduct and performance. The ethos is a living value system that needs to be broad enough to apply to any number of situations. The ethos is only as effective as how our people interpret and apply it in their daily lives and military service. We all play an active role as members of the Profession of Arms in holding each other to account to the highest standards of conduct and performance.

Ethical Principles

The CAF Ethos has three ethical principles founded on The Constitution Acts 1867 to 1982 which in turn describes the basic principles of the Canadian democratic government and the CanadianCharter of Rights and Freedoms. These principles are the foundation of our CAF Ethos and underpin strength of character. The ethical principles are presented here in order of their importance to the CAF Ethos.

1. Respect the Dignity of All Persons

Everyone must be treated with respect and humanity at all times and in all places. Everyone deserves to serve in a safe, inclusive environment. As military professionals, we must respect the dignity of all persons at all times.

This first principle must anchor everyone’s conduct across the profession. We always need to perform our duty with humanity, treating people with respect, whether they are in the military or not.

Respect for others is developed by appreciating the other person’s unique identity, skillset, perspective, history and experiences. Respect, in turn, is the foundation for inclusion and trust built within and across our diverse military teams. Creating an inclusive and positive atmosphere enhances our ability to perform more effectively in military service. Respect is a necessary condition of mission success.

Respect is also expressed in humility, empathy, compassion, and an understanding that we are all of equal value, despite the different lived experiences that have shaped us. Respect is most important when dealing with vulnerable populations while on operations. Humility, empathy, and compassion are values Canadians aspire to and ones that we must commit to developing throughout our military careers.

Respect for the dignity of all persons goes beyond openness and consideration for all those within our working environment. As the foundation of military ethics, it also means an aspiration that all humans can live their lives in peace and be protected against unprovoked aggression, because we are all fundamentally equal and deserving of this ideal. When an extreme aggressor denies such a principle, it is the responsibility of those who embrace this principle to lawfully defend it. The equal dignity of all human beings is the logic of military ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Those who respect the dignity of all persons demonstrate humility, empathy and compassion and give credit where it is due. They advocate for others’ interests and welfare, demonstrate respectable behaviour, create a safe space to live and work, and are a positive and compassionate influence.

2. Serve Canada Before Self

CAF personnel prioritize service to the country, the military and their teammates ahead of themselves as a personal commitment to mission success. As military professionals, we place service before self to maximize team effectiveness.

This commitment to a higher purpose rests at the core of our value system. It is closely related to loyalty, selflessness and humility. We answer a calling to serve Canada and come to understand that we are an integral part of an essential national institution that defends our people and our way of life. We fulfill this function with our critical commitments to domestic operations that safeguard Canadians in crisis and abroad in supporting and advancing Canadian interests. We serve with a strong sense of duty, without a sense of entitlement or needing special recognition.

Fulfilling this function is demanding. Leaders have a role to play in ensuring a healthy work-life balance for their subordinates. Leaders who allow the service demands to become too extreme for the team may achieve short-term mission success but risk longer-term unintended and potentially adverse consequences. Military personnel need to stay true to their personal identities and attend to roles and responsibilities in their personal lives. After all, military members have full lives outside of the military, and contributing to our family and community life is how we stay in touch with Canadian values and personal values.

CAF personnel must operate with a strong sense of duty and are responsible to keep their leaders informed of their personal needs. It is a leader’s responsibility to understand each individual’s diverse and personal circumstances within their team to achieve a fair balance between service to Canada and care for self and family. Maintaining this balance is a positive force for the long-term health of our military personnel and supports mission success.

Those who serve Canada represent their team’s interests first, they help their team improve their professional standards, do the right things for unselfish reasons with no thought for reward, and support one another through adversity.

3. Obey and Support Lawful Authority

CAF personnel act decisively in following lawful commands and orders to achieve mission success. As military professionals, we always obey and support lawful orders and the authority that issues them.

The strict obligation to obey lawful commands is a binding regulation that enables the chain of command’s duty to achieve the mission. In turn, the military chain of command relies on a disciplined, cohesive team to immediately obey and carry out lawful commands and achieve decisive results towards mission success. Failure to follow a lawful command can result in reduced operational effectiveness at best, or at worst, complete mission failure. Obeying and supporting lawful authority reinforces our professional expectations of discipline, teamwork and duty. Everyone also bears the responsibility not to follow manifestly unlawful commands and to report them to a higher and appropriate authority.

Leaders must recognize that their decisions and orders impact the level of trust they earn from their subordinates. The consistency of their lawful and ethical decisions and related orders can build trust across the team, enhance cohesion and ultimately strengthen the chain of command, despite the potential for those lawful and ethical decisions to be unpopular.

Those who follow this principle support lawful authority, demonstrate initiative to support their commander’s intent, make the team more effective through disciplined obedience, lead their subordinates through adversity and persevere to mission success.

Military Values

Canadian values must always form the foundation for Canadian military values. These military values are the critical moral requirements for success in military service. They are also intrinsically aligned with and foundational to the development of character across the profession.

1. Loyalty

In order of precedence, loyalty is a personal allegiance to Canada, its parliamentary democracy, the Profession of Arms, the chain of command, and the team. Loyalty is most effective when it is based on mutual trust and respect between people. It requires that we support the intent of superiors and obey lawful orders and commands. It also explicitly requires leaders to be loyal to our professional ethos and set the best example of professionalism for others to follow. Finally, loyalty is also a reciprocal relationship between the military institution and its people, between leaders and followers, and amongst peers.

Loyalty is built first through mutual support in the completion of military tasks. Self-discipline, commitment and teamwork help to form strong relationships that can develop into lasting professional friendships. Loyalty can be strengthened as we demonstrate consistent professional conduct and performance in line with our military ethos. Trust builds slowly over time but can be quickly lost because it is based on the actions and behaviour between individuals, and also how people perceive such action or inaction.

For leaders, team loyalty is developed by following the CAF Ethos and by prioritizing the team’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in their performance of duty. A leader who actively shares in the team’s hardships and risks associated with duty also further develops loyalty between subordinates and the leader. While the CAF Ethos obligates subordinates to demonstrate loyalty to authority, the hard-won personal loyalty earned by the leader’s example acts as a catalyst to mission success.

Those who are loyal always show respect, challenge unacceptable behaviour, support their teammates in difficult situations, help others, ensure that their conduct and performance is always a credit to the CAF, ensure others’ well-being and safety, and are willing to risk their health or life for that of another.

2. Integrity

Integrity is the uncompromising adherence to strong ethical principles. It is a commitment to a principled approach to duty and being accountable for both our action and inaction, and their respective consequences. A person of integrity is honest and has high ethical standards. Integrity means that our decisions and actions are consistent with established codes of conduct, values and ethics. It specifically requires transparency of motive in decisions and actions, speaking honestly, pursuing truth regardless of personal consequences, and a dedication to fairness and justice. Leaders must especially have unwavering integrity because of their personal example’s powerful effect on those around them, particularly their subordinates.

With continued service, we understand that the CAF Ethos is designed to make the profession more effective. As this appreciation increases, it becomes easier to commit to and embody the CAF Ethos, leading to a career with integrity. Developing and maintaining integrity is challenging and requires a commitment to live each component of the ethos to the best of our ability in every situation. A person with integrity is truthful, strong of character and reliable.

Those who embody integrity take responsibility for their decisions and actions and accept the consequences, good or bad. They own their mistakes, learn from them and share their insights. They assess conduct and performance transparently and honestly. They are reliable and trusted to complete tasks, are sincere, trustworthy, and honest and act on what they believe to be right. Their conduct will stand up to the closest public scrutiny, they are dedicated to fairness and justice, never use their official role for personal gain, and instead of making excuses, they make things right.

3. Courage

Courage is a quality that allows a military professional to overcome fear and pain in pursuit of the mission, and to do what is right in the face of adversity. Courage is both physical and moral; it allows us to confront danger such as physical risk to life and limb. It also allows us to confront the moral anguish of taking action that may cause injury or death to those around us, or the moral courage to do the right thing despite social pressures.

Courage requires the willpower to see things through. It means making the best choice when faced with dilemmas, admitting our mistakes, and rectifying them to maintain trust. Moral courage enables us to speak the truth to our superiors and teammates. This can be especially challenging for marginalized groups. It also means standing up for what is right, and fostering a team culture and climate within our team that supports all team members and yet holds them accountable to the high standards of our profession.

Courage is essential to meeting the challenges of the military profession. It is a critical ingredient to succeed across the full spectrum of operations. It is also a critical requirement to ensure discipline and integrity within our teams.

Courage is an active choice made every day by individuals to think and act in line with the highest standards of the CAF Ethos, despite any fear of consequences. The moral courage required to do the right thing can be as equally if not more demanding than the physical courage to continue fighting in the face of adversity. It takes courage to show up, face uncertainty, and act in a way that is in keeping with one’s values and character. Courage does not eliminate fear; instead, it overcomes fear’s restraints. We cannot be courageous if we first do not feel fear.

In day-to-day military service, courage can be developed by helping others in following and championing our ethos. Conversely, the poor conduct and/or performance that you walk past and do not correct is the standard that you accept within the Profession of Arms

Those who are courageous take calculated risks and learn from their mistakes, have the will and drive to get things done despite any danger or difficulty and do what is right despite pressure to do otherwise. They speak out and correct things when something is wrong, admit to needing help and accept it, resist peer pressure, remain steadfast in the face of adversity, and do what must be done, despite personal risk.

4. Excellence

Excellence is the pursuit and achievement of strength of character and higher levels of professional competence to improve conduct and performance. As military professionals, we need to continually pursue the highest levels and standards of excellence.

Military service demands our total commitment towards the healthy pursuit of excellence in military conduct and performance. The pursuit of excellence includes healthy competition amongst CAF members who encourage each other to reach higher personal and collective standards.

Continuous learning is a requirement of military service that can be achieved by improving our individual and collective professional skills, and by expanding our communications, leadership and interpersonal skills beyond what is required in mandated education and training. Leaders need to set the example when it comes to continuous learning. Additionally, leaders have a responsibility to mentor and coach subordinates in their pursuit of individual and collective excellence.

Advancement in military rank means increased authority, responsibility, accountability, and an expectation to develop a broader range of interpersonal and leadership competencies. The pursuit of excellence goes beyond occupational competencies because of the increasing demands of professional service. Consequently, as we progress in rank, we require a greater understanding of our joint institution, diverse partners and the complexity of international security issues. Though our professional military education system supports this learning, we also need to understand Canadian societal evolution to serve our diverse teams better.

People who embody excellence seek opportunities for personal improvement, are curious, ask questions and seek advice. They embrace valid standards, they are open to experimenting with new concepts and processes, they help others to improve their standards of conduct and performance, they pursue lifelong learning through additional training and education, and they look for ways to improve their workplace, their trade, occupation and profession.

5. Inclusion

Inclusion within an equitable professional culture is essential to creating a sense of belonging and cohesion. Within the CAF, inclusion makes our military teams stronger. As military professionals, we understand and expect all CAF members to recognize, value and help develop each other’s unique potential. It is increasingly important to see each of our teammates as unique individuals and understand their distinct backgrounds. As the diversity of the CAF increases, we can build more cohesive and versatile teams.

As a national institution that needs to be credible and trustworthy, the CAF must be representative of the diversity of people, history and traditions of Canada. The CAF values the knowledge, skills and life experience that each individual brings to the team and needs to maximize this diverse potential through an inclusive culture. Inclusion is a force multiplier because it increases our operational effectiveness by integrating various perspectives and insights to improve decision- making. It encourages creativity, fosters group motivation, speeds up problem-solving, improves risk management, and increases productivity and performance. It also engenders trust and creates a sense of belonging which enhances group cohesion.

Embracing diversity produces stronger teams, with leaders capable of making better-informed decisions and with team members contributing their unique knowledge, skills, experience and perspectives to the team. The military profession and its individual members in particular support gender equity, equal status of both official languages, inter-culturalism, equal opportunities, and the respectful treatment of all CAF members as their authentic selves. The profession establishes policies and practices that enable all CAF members to develop their full potential and have a rewarding career in a supportive, equitable and inclusive environment. Inclusion, acceptance and empathy towards one another are the only paths that lead to unlocking this potential.

Inclusion goes beyond respecting the dignity of all persons. Those who practice inclusion create an environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work, everyone contributes to the team and cohesion is built through a real sense of belonging.

Those who are inclusive reject racism, sexism, heteronormativity, homophobia, xenophobia or any other form of hateful, discriminatory or hurtful behaviour, conduct or association. They take a proactive approach to prevent, stop and report such conduct and support those affected. Inclusive leaders and team members take deliberate steps to identify and challenge inequities both within their teams and within the institution.

6. Accountability

The integrity of the Profession of Arms belongs to all its serving members. As military professionals, we understand and expect to hold each other to account to the CAF Ethos’ highest standards.

Regardless of the power and authority of a certain rank or position, military professionals are accountable for decisions, actions and failures to act, and furthermore, they are accountable for how closely these align with the CAF Ethos. Whether we are issuing or following orders, we are accountable. To protect our profession’s health and credibility, we must correct those, including superiors that deviate from the CAF Ethos.

A member of the Profession of Arms’ personal conduct is held to a higher level of scrutiny than that of other citizens. We wear symbols on a uniform to display our commitment to national security, and to upholding the values and interests of Canadians. They expect that we reflect such ideals through our standard of conduct both on- and off-duty. The demands of service require that everyone act in a manner that will bring credit to the profession.

It is important to note that leaders hold the greatest accountability within the profession. While responsibility and authority may be delegated to subordinates, overall accountability remains with the leader. Leaders may also be held accountable for the conduct, action or inaction of those directly or indirectly under their command or supervision. Leaders may also be held accountable for the measures they take, or fail to take, to correct them. Not only must leaders be successful in their assigned tasks, but they must also remain vigilant to safeguard the integrity of the profession. They need to promptly correct subordinates’ decisions and behaviour that do not align with the CAF Ethos.

Those who are accountable live our ethos, help others to embody the ethos, do not hesitate to respectfully question or correct others (including superiors) and routinely discuss the application of our ethos in daily military service with others. They identify, report and change any elements of military culture that are opposed to the CAF Ethos.

Professional Expectations

Professional expectations are necessary for the military to function effectively. Therefore, we expect high standards of personal conduct and performance to ensure our profession remains a competent and credible instrument to serve the public interest under the direction of the elected government and according to law.

The military is a truly unique profession. The concepts of unlimited liability and the military’s authority over the use of lethal force to achieve government objectives set the military profession apart from other professions.

1. Duty

Military duty is unique. As members of the Profession of Arms, we serve. We can be called upon to serve day or night and often under challenging or dangerous conditions. Duty requires us to obey the law of armed conflict, the rule of law, and military policies and regulations with dedication, initiative and discipline. Duty dictates that we accept the risks of military service. It recognizes that the primacy of operations directs military leaders to prioritize their decisions based on a hierarchy of the mission first, then their subordinates, and finally themselves. As such, duty requires that leaders ensure the welfare of their subordinates.

Duty’s primary mandate is achieving the mission. We can be required to work for long uninterrupted periods, and often with no rest or sleep. At times, the demands of service can be all-consuming and exhausting. For this reason, military personnel must be physically, mentally and spiritually resilient to endure and achieve mission success.

Generally, our careers are not spent in positions that lead directly to operational deployments. However, sometimes duty may require that we respond to an unexpected crisis, deployment or urgent task with little to no preparation. At other times, the readiness cycle allows for periods of reconstitution, where daily duty is predictable and allows more opportunities to maintain social connections with family and friends. Regardless of the professional context, we are expected to perform our duty to the highest professional standards, take initiative, accept responsibility and perform with dedication.

Those with a strong sense of duty put the mission first, they are dedicated to the completion of a task despite hardship and obstacles, maintain a positive attitude, give focus and attention to the task at hand, are reliable, demonstrate initiative and complete tasks to the highest professional standards.

2. Accepting Unlimited Liability

Unlimited liability means that we may be ordered, or may have to order others, into harm’s way during the performance of duty. Therefore, as military professionals, we understand and accept that we have unlimited liability to Canada to perform our lawful duty.[1] Unlimited liability is one of the most unique components of our ethos. It lies at the heart of our understanding of duty and service to Canada. It means that we may have to injure or kill to achieve the mission and that we may suffer injury or be killed while performing our lawful duty.

Unlimited liability amplifies the notion of service before self beyond that of enduring great hardship because it elevates the risk to health to, potentially, the loss of life. Without this high level of commitment to achieving mission success, our military effectiveness would be critically undermined.

Unlimited liability is mitigated by a leader’s obligation to ensure the team’s welfare and minimize losses when in pursuit of mission success. However, leaders also bear the moral burden of making decisions that could lead to loss of life or limb.

In specific situations, the CAF requires everyone’s total commitment to the military profession. The military profession expects everyone to dedicate their time, energy, talent, and, if need be, health or life to accomplish the missions that the government assigns.

Those who accept unlimited liability never give in or shy away from work, they are willing to push beyond personal limits to succeed, they do what needs to be done regardless of personal risk, they carry on despite risks and hardship, they ensure other’s well-being, and they take calculated risks for unselfish reasons without thought for reward.

3. Fighting Spirit

CAF members must be committed to mission success. As military professionals, we understand and expect to develop and embody a fighting spirit to overcome the hardship and risk that can be a part of achieving mission success.

Having a fighting spirit means that we willingly undertake challenging tasks. It demands an unwavering will to succeed, requires grit and the will to fight against all adversity. It is a vital source of strength to draw upon in times of need. It drives us to view obstacles as opportunities to overcome adversity and complete the mission. Through this tenacious attitude, we find ethical ways to overcome significant challenges, undertaking our assigned missions with confidence and a relentless will to succeed.

Fighting spirit is cultivated within the significant demands inherent in full spectrum operations, in the confidence of the team’s fighting competence, the moral bond between team members, and the importance of the mission. We build perseverance through progressive, challenging and realistic collective training that prepares us for the significant demands of military service. Our love for and loyalty to our team members bolsters our determination to give our utmost to ensure success.

Fighting spirit permeates all aspects of military life. It is reflected in everything we do, whether generating forces for operational deployment, conducting training, or performing administrative work to support our institutions. We must always meet the expectations of our superiors and teammates, and succeed at the assignments we are given. It is also present in our determination to change our practiced culture more closely to what is expressed in the CAF Ethos.

People who embody fighting spirit push past their own perceived limits, they always take on tasks no matter how challenging they might appear, they remain calm, confident and demonstrate resolve in the face of extreme adversity, and they are relentless in ensuring high levels of ethical conduct across the profession.

4. Leadership

Continuity of leadership is critical to mission success. CAF personnel understand and expect the profession to constantly develop the leadership potential of its members to ensure this continuity. This creates the leadership resilience necessary to overcome the chaos and hardship of military service and to succeed, as every member of the CAF is a potential leader. Resilient leadership is critical to mission success, especially in situations where there is danger or a threat to life, such as on high-risk search and rescue missions, emergency responses, mass casualty events, humanitarian missions, or in combat.

Military leaders are developed through education, training, employment experience and self-development. Leaders have the most significant impact on CAF culture and cohesion because they have the authority and responsibility to set and maintain a healthy climate necessary for CAF members to develop to their full potential. Our profession depends on a values-based approach to leadership that is founded in the CAF Ethos. The CAF Ethos is essential in developing and maintaining an open, equitable and inclusive culture across the profession through the application of values-based leadership.

Leaders make difficult decisions based on sound moral principles and commit to them even in the face of adversity, they seek out and take on responsibility and are accountable for their actions, they recognize their own limitations and that of others, they mentor, coach and develop subordinates, and they provide professional advice to superiors. They also develop CAF culture by purposefully pursuing self-development for the benefit of their team, embodying all aspects of the CAF Ethos and inspiring the same in others, and, most importantly, they promote the welfare of their subordinates by creating a healthy workplace.

5. Discipline

To best achieve mission success, we must act decisively and in unison as a highly cohesive team of teams. As military professionals, we understand and expect high standards of discipline from ourselves (self-discipline) and within our teams (collective discipline). That discipline creates a cohesive, coordinated and decisive advantage over our adversaries. There is no path to mission success without a total commitment to discipline.

Individual and collective discipline plays a crucial role in attaining and maintaining excellence in military conduct and performance. A high standard of discipline takes root in our understanding of the demands of military service, and in the respect, cohesion and trust of our team and our leaders. Discipline is the glue that keeps our teams unified in action. With discipline we harness our collective and individual abilities to win the fight or fulfil our duties with distinction in daily military service.

Self-discipline requires us to recognize when to act to ensure that unlawful or unethical acts are prevented, stopped, reported and corrected. If we do not respond to behaviour contrary to the CAF Ethos, we are condoning that behaviour and failing to do our duty. Furthermore, by holding each other accountable in correcting behaviour, we shape our professional conduct and performance, enforced through discipline.

Discipline at its best becomes a constant and considered habit; a lived determination to do our professional duty. Personal discipline at its best means doing the right thing even in the absence of supervision and in the face of peer pressure. Discipline is also the path to courage because it commits us to habituated action in the face of fear.

CAF leaders must be the best examples of discipline. As the individuals authorized to hold others to account, leaders are expected to be beyond reproach if they are to oversee disciplinary proceedings or impose administrative measures.

Those who are disciplined are critical of their own conduct and behaviour first, and challenge unacceptable behaviour in others. They enforce discipline and uphold professional standards, they take ownership and do what is right without incentive or reward, they demonstrate self-control in the face of adversity, and they cultivate cohesion through teamwork.

6. Teamwork

The military is a collective profession. It is a profession where an individual cannot perform its function alone; we fight as a team. As military professionals, we understand that operational effectiveness is predicated on the strength of our teams, which in turn rests on the unique contributions of our people.

The CAF’s effectiveness comes from the combined talent of its diverse Canadian military professionals. In addition, CAF members share common goals, having accepted the obligation to defend the interests of Canada. Like Canadian citizens, CAF personnel represent all of Canada’s vibrant diversity, be it age, racialization, sex, sexual orientation, creed, religion, spirituality, ethnicity, socio-economic background, language, gender, physical ability, perspectives, or personal choices.

The military is also diverse in terms of its full-time or part-time service, different environmental services, functions, and numerous occupations that, when combined, work together to become greater than the sum of its parts.

By bringing the diversity of our people together with the diversity of our work and service, we ensure that every member can, or feel they can, contribute to the mission at hand. Attaining this synergy and sense of belonging is possible because of the fulsome application of the CAF Ethos.

Leaders are responsible for building cohesive and inclusive teams. One key ingredient to achieving this is creating favourable conditions to optimize the diverse skills and contributions of the individual team members. Building teams means creating an inclusive climate where all team members are valued, supported, respected, and where they can develop a sense of purpose and belonging.

Teamwork is facilitated through mutual trust, integrity, shared experience and a commitment to one another and the mission. When the team shares in success and learns from failure, trust and cohesion forms between teammates. Interaction between teams further this relationship and spread cohesion across the larger team. These cohesive relationships make our military teams at all levels powerful in the face of adversity and resilient to overcoming fear and obstacles.

Respect and inclusion are critical to developing teamwork. Every member of the team brings their unique talents and perspectives to bear in the performance of their duty. It is essential that we recognize such talents and perspectives, for the benefit of our effectiveness as a team of teams. Therefore, we need to lead our teams with empathy, compassion, openness and respect to foster the depth of relationships required amongst CAF members to best serve Canada and Canadians.

Those who strengthen teams prioritize having a positive attitude and influence, they pull the team together to complete a task, they respect, recognize and develop the diverse talent within the team, always contribute to high morale, and foster a healthy and safe workplace.

7. Readiness

Military forces must be rapidly deployable to respond to threats and government assigned national security objectives. As military professionals, we understand and expect to undertake demanding individual and collective training to achieve high readiness states. In addition, we understand the requirement to be on short notice-to-move status for extended periods of time, and also the requirement to respond quickly to unexpected crises and threats.

High levels of readiness are achieved through extensive and repetitive training. This training produces the professional skills, physical and mental resilience needed to overcome the hardships and risks that come with achieving a mission.

The demands of these high readiness standards impact us and those in our personal lives and relationships. Therefore, the military must take a balanced total health and wellness approach to readiness. This approach is one that takes in the whole professional-social aspects of our lives given the demands of military service on- and off-duty.

Accordingly, we need to develop high levels of resilience. We need physical, mental, and spiritual abilities to cope with and recover quickly from shock, stress and hardship. We achieve physical resilience from progressive physical conditioning. This conditioning strengthens our bodies so that we may endure physical hardship. Mental resilience is enabled by leaders who are active listeners, provide clear expectations, employ positive leadership styles, create a safe work environment, give clear direction, manage workloads and tempo, establish realistic deadlines, motivate their subordinates and consider their needs. We develop and maintain spiritual resilience by leading balanced lives and developing honest relationships with our families and beliefs. Bonds with family, friends and personal belief systems are potent sources of resilience for the military professional that can see them through significant trauma.

It takes every military professional’s focused effort to be the best they can be to achieve and maintain high levels of personal readiness. This disciplined practice includes maintaining a healthy baseline in downtime that will enable a rapid recovery to high standards on active duty. Leaders have a crucial role in attaining and maintaining the readiness of their teams. Leaders also have the responsibility to ensure that the CAF policies, programs and resources are sufficient to support the team in achieving these high readiness goals and the government assigned military objectives while on operations.

Those who take readiness seriously, attain and maintain high personal and professional standards, they push themselves to higher levels of physical fitness, they maintain open and honest relationships with others, they balance military service and personal life to keep themselves, their family and their friends well and they communicate honestly with their superiors to ensure such a balance.

8. Stewardship

Resources entrusted to the CAF must be used effectively and efficiently. We all have stewardship responsibilities to fulfill in our daily military service from the clothing we are issued to the financial resources at our disposal, to the information we are given, the data we create, and to the subordinates we are assigned.

Stewardship demands that leaders at all levels foster an ethical culture, exemplify and reinforce the CAF Ethos, and develop and maintain a trusted professional identity. Stewardship also requires that we consider the long-term effects of our decisions and actions on people and on the environment. It requires leaders to provide the necessary training and to actively develop their subordinates to reach their full potential. It also demands that leaders provide the resources needed to successfully accomplish the mission.

Every member of the CAF is responsible for the care, maintenance and ethical use of the public resources of the Government of Canada. Public resources include, for example, uniforms, equipment, money, property, information, data and human resources.

Stewardship requires the following behaviour from CAF personnel:

  • Effective and efficient use of public money, property and resources under their management.
  • Considering the present and long-term effects that their decisions and actions have on people and the environment.
  • Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate and lawful.
  • Providing purpose, direction, and motivation to personnel, both individually and collectively, to reach the highest standards in performance.
  • Ensuring that sufficient resources are in place to meet future challenges, particularly through planning and forecasting. [2]

Those who demonstrate a strong sense of stewardship do not use government resources for personal gain, are not wasteful, protect the natural environment, ensure that protected information and data are safely handled, and that information and data are only used for the purpose of the mission.

Additionally, leaders that commit to stewardship make sure their subordinates are completely prepared for their mission, they prioritize their subordinates’ well-being, keep their subordinates well-informed and highly motivated in the performance of their duties, and shepherd resources to allow for longer-term goals. Stewards ensure the long-term health, credibility and viability of the Profession of Arms.

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