PRE- ARMY OPERATIONS COURSE (PRE-AOC) 0702
1. The aim of the Pre-Army Operations Course (Pre-AOC) is to provide those junior officers from MTAP sponsored countries with tactical skills and knowledge of combat team operations. The fourteen-day course prepares students, who have been selected to attend the Army Operations Course (AOC) at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College (CLFCSC), with the basic skills necessary to effectively participate in the more advanced course.
2. The Pre-AOC is based on the curriculum of the Army Tactics and Operations Course (ATOC) conducted at the Tactics School, Combat Training Centre Gagetown for all Canadian Army officers. This course concentrates on the intermediate level of tactical operations - that is, in the all arms battle group and the interaction of its groupings and sub-units.
3. The course is "Tactical" since it focuses on the "disposing of military forces in actual contact with the enemy" and since it concentrates on the "level of command which directs the use of military forces in battles and engagements". The study of combined arms tactics begins at the sub-unit level (combat teams, company and squadron groups) and culminates at the basic combined arms tactical building block - the battle group. It is not the intent of the course to produce combat team commanders but to ensure that the student has a basic understanding of the conduct of tactical operations.
CONCEPT OF TRAINING
4. The thorough understanding of combined arms tactics can be related to requirements for battlefield commanders:
a. technical and tactical proficiency;
b. operational experience;
c. ability to visualise the battle;
d. mastery of time and space;
e. mastery of the common operational language and culture;
f. ability to control combat systems through subordinates; and
g. the ability to use the decision making process efficiently.
5. These requirements are met:
a. by tactical and administrative problem solving (individually and in groups);
b. by employment of battle procedure (especially the combat estimate process); and
c. by the interaction with staff and peers of differing background and experience.
6. This process of development will be enhanced by the simulation of operations and by frequent role-playing.
7. After fourteen training days, the attendee will travel to CLFCSC Kingston, Ontario to participate in the Distributed Learning Phase of the AOC.
8. The Pre-AOC meets the above objectives through study of the following topics:
a. MOD 1 - Doctrinal Concepts, command theory at the sub-unit level;
b. MOD 2 - Battle Procedure, the combat estimate;
c. MOD 3 - Offensive operations at the combat team level;
d. MOD 4 - Defensive operations at the combat team level;
e. MOD 5 - Delay operations at the combat team level;
f. MOD 6 - Transitional phases at the combat team level;
g. MOD 7 - Army sustainment doctrine;
h. MOD 8 - Duties of a staff officer in a CSS CP; and
i. MOD 9 – Doctrine, Units and Equipment of Main Contingency Force (MCF) and Opposing Force (OPFOR).
9. Admin Information (ADM). This non-instructional series completes the course package. It provides specific information on the conduct of the course and provides the attendee with sufficient background and time to complete problem solving, to conduct personal administration, complete after-action reporting and receive direct feedback from DS.
10. This is a non-graded assessed course. However, a report of the student's performance will be forwarded to CLFCSC.
ROLE OF STUDENTS AND STAFF
11. The education process is accomplished, for the most part, as a group learning experience. Individual preparation is a definite requirement. Each student has individual strengths and weaknesses stemming from intellect, experience and education. The student's goal is to identify and improve both these strengths and weaknesses. To fail to improve in either arena is to fail oneself and one's profession.
12. Knowledge is received from assigned readings, lectures, demonstrations and discussions. The urge to forgo certain assignments or to doze through discussions, especially after a long day in the field or a long night of study, will seem irresistible. It is in the classroom and in the field that this knowledge is integrated and tested. It is the synthesis of experience and ideas among members of the syndicate and course that produces the best results.
13. Role-playing exercises are specially designed to absorb students in the learning process. Every role is important since it focuses on specific learning points. The best results will be achieved when the student is faithful to the role.
14. Army officers are competitive by nature and this is an assessed course. The ultimate aim of all combined arms training is to produce a winning team. Individual assessment should not obstruct cohesion. Each officer is assessed on ability to integrate knowledge pertinent to classification with course material to demonstrate competence and understanding. The officer is assessed against a common standard, not against peers. Cooperation, a cardinal military virtue, is demonstrated by willingness to share development with peers in the furtherance of the team effort. Cooperation is assessed.
15. The purpose of the staff is to assist the student. This assistance takes the forms of instruction, feedback, administrative support and assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
16. The lecture or LDE in course terminology will provide the student with confirmation of the knowledge he has gained through the required study assignments. The material presented is based on the Module in the ATOC courseware and in the stated reference publications.
17. The discussion, or "DI" in course terminology, plays an essential role in understanding and confirming issues of complexity. It is here that the integration of knowledge from a variety of sources occurs. Officers are expected to articulate informed opinions on subjects. By presenting an informed opinion and by commenting on the opinion of others, officers develop subject understanding, the ability to think logically and the ability to communicate clearly.
18. The purpose of the DI, then, is fourfold:
a. to acquire additional understanding;
b. to develop critical analysis;
c. to develop approaches to problem-solving; and
d. to develop personal communicative techniques.
THE EDUCATION PROCESS
19. The process of the DI is of more value than the stated aim of the specific period. The arrival at a solution to a problem is not as important as the learning that occurs in getting there. Exercises exist to produce solutions to problems. DIs exist to ensure that the group derives as much quality learning as possible in the time allotted. The stated questions or problems are merely a start point for intelligent discussion.
CONDUCT OF A DI
20. Unless stated otherwise by the DS or in supporting papers, preparatory work for DIs is to be an individual effort. The participant studies the readings and notes responses to questions.
21. The participant should also note any point requiring clarification that arises during the reading. These points should be discussed during the DI.
22. Normally, one student is selected to present an answer to a question while another is selected to critique/comment on that response. The chairman of the discussion will solicit additional comments from the remainder of the syndicate.
23. The following guidelines ensure that the maximum is gained from the discussion:
a. correct terminology is employed (ensures all parties are discussing the same issue);
b. exchanges are kept professional (despite the intensity with which opinion is held);
c. easy consensus is avoided (group-think holds that getting all to agree is more important than getting it right - consensus is not necessary, especially on Friday afternoons); and
d. everyone communicates (through talk, use of diagrams, questioning, frequent recapitulation).
24. Discussions will often include the use of film clips to explain and emphasize tactical procedures and techniques.
TACTICAL EXERCISES WITHOUT TROOPS (TEWT)
25. Tactics must ultimately be studied on the ground. A number of Tactical Exercises Without Troops will be conducted on the course.
26. The purpose of the TEWTs is to apply theory to ground. This application is used to confirm student understanding of sub-unit and unit tactics and administration, and to confirm a student's ability to use and present the estimate as a critical part of the tactical decision-making process.
CONDUCT OF A TEWT
27. Unless stated otherwise by the DS or in supporting papers, preparatory work for TEWTs is to be an individual effort. Where sub-syndicates are required, the DS will detail specific appointments.
28. Normally, the first student selected will christen the ground, which as a minimum should include:
a. present location (grid);
b. direction of North;
c. boundaries; and
d. notable areas (objective, axis, etc).
29. The student may also be required to brief on the current situation. This does not mean reading aloud the exercise scenario. It means summarising the relevant points for the situation at hand.
30. The following guidelines or hints ensure that the maximum is gained from the presentation:
a. correct terminology is employed;
b presentations are "rehearsed" during consideration time;
c. a minimum of loose papers are used (distracting, tend to get mixed up or blown away at the wrong moment);
d. everyone is oriented to the appropriate map or diagram;
e. the ground is used wherever possible (instead of the map) to explain solutions;
f. waffling and tap dancing are not substituted for brevity and relevance;
g. overlays, diagrams or maps are neat, correctly coloured, separated if "busy" and large enough to be seen by the group; and
h. compass and binoculars are available.
31. Students will be asked by the DS for questions of fact pertaining to the presentation. This is to clarify the details presented, not to critique or offer alternative solutions. Frequently, DS will assign roles of subordinates prior to the presentation. These questions will therefore be the ones that the individual required to execute the plan would need to know (seeing a plan through the eyes of a subordinate appointment is itself a learning experience).
32. A specific student might then be asked to critique the solution. Constructive criticism and assassination are differing concepts. A critique aims to find two or three strong points and two or three weak points in a solution. These points should be linked to principles of war, fundamentals of the operation and sometimes common sense. A critic should be prepared to commit to a declaration of "workable" or "unworkable".
33. After the critique, the presenter is entitled to a brief "rebuttal". The DS will then open the discussion to the remainder of the participants for additional comments and questions.
34. Once discussion ends or time runs short, the DS will summarise the main points of the problem and the proffered solutions. A DS solution may be offered, not as a "correct" solution, but as an alternative that may not have emerged during discussion.
35. The next problem will be issued and a time and place for discussion given. All participants must be prepared to discuss the next problem on time. The time will seldom seem sufficient to fully prepare the solution. This is deliberate; firstly, to emphasise the requirement of the battlefield commander to be personally organised and secondly, to emphasise that the majority of learning takes place during the presentation and discussion phase of the TEWT.
36. The success of the course is largely dependent on the quality of the TEWTs. In order to ensure future success it is necessary to abide by the following rules:
a. do not leave garbage at the exercise site;
b. do use appropriate gates to cross fences;
c. do give personal residences a wide berth and be courteous and friendly when dealing with civilians;
d. do not bother livestock;
e. avoid planted fields, use lanes or fence lines;
f. do not enter property unless you are certain it is authorised for use. If in doubt, consult the DS;
g. do report any damage to the DS; and
h. do conduct yourselves as officers at all times
1. The aim of this activity is to administratively in-clear all students into MTAP at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
2. The in-clearance will be conducted at #4 Hanger by the Course administrative staff. During this time, the students will receive all the necessary stores, reference materials, and stationery required for the course.
3. Students will arrive at this in-clearance with a completed copy of the Student Information Sheet included in their course welcome package.
1. The aim of this period is to provide students with an understanding of the aim and scope of the Pre-AOC.
2. This one period lecture is conducted in the Syndicate Room. The following key issues will be presented:
a. the aim of Pre-AOC;
b. how the Pre-AOC is based on ATOC and how ATOC fits into the Canadian Officer c. Professional Development System, i.e., career progression;
c. the doctrinal basis providing the foundation of the Pre-AOC curriculum material;
d. vital skills to be developed in the Pre-AOC;
fe the evaluation system used for the ATOC, i.e., performance assessment/grading; and
f. method of instruction.
3. None required.
1. The aim of this period is to introduce the course and course members to the syndicate.
2, This activity is a one period introduction to the syndicate and DS.
3. Syndicate members will be required to introduce themselves to the DS and peers. Specific emphasis will be placed on experience.
4. Questions on course conduct and administration should be raised at this meeting.
1. The aim of this period is to provide the course staff with formal feedback.
2. This is a one period open forum discussion conducted in the syndicate room with course members, the MTAP Course Officer and the DS.
3. The following critique points should be commented on:
a. course content;
b. course administration;
d. feedback opportunities;
e. time allocations;
f. course strengths; and
g. course weaknesses.
1. The aim of this period is to provide students with a summary of the PRE-AOC aim and scope in order to develop an appreciation of student performance and accomplishments.
2. This is a one period lecture conducted in the syndicate room. The following key elements will be covered:
a. review the aim to determine whether it has been achieved;
b. examine the validity of the doctrinal tenets upon which the ATOC is based to determine their relevance to the course;
c. review the vital skills to be developed on the course; and
d. examine the effect that a professional student critique will have on course development.
3. None required.
1. To describe and forward the student's progress and achievement on the course.
2. A brief synopsis of the student's performance during the conduct of the Pre-AOC Course will be prepared and forwarded to CLFCSC. Each student will be assessed as described in Pre-AOC/ADM/01. The purpose of this brief assessment is to inform the CLFCSC DS, who will assist the student in the DL phase of AOC, on the perceived strengths and weaknesses observed during the Pre-AOC course.
3. None required.
1. The aim of this activity is to administratively out-clear students from the MTAP and 14 Wing Greenwood as efficiently as possible.
T2. he out-clearance will be conducted at #4 Hanger. The clearance will include the return of course material and issued items.
3. In order to complete the out-clearance, students must have paid their mess bills (if required) and returned any stores or borrowed materials to MTAP. The payment of mess bills (if required) must be done prior to the last day of the course. The schedule for the return of stores and materials will be verified through the Course Administration Coordinator.
4. Course final interviews will be conducted in accordance with the course schedule.
5. Final details of transportation to Kingston will be confirmed during the out clearance procedure.
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