What is the Centre for Army Leadership?

1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the British Army’s Centre for Army Leadership (CAL).

It has a combined military and academic team of leadership theorists and practitioners, and its mission is to maintain leadership excellence across the British Army and keep it at the forefront of leadership thinking.

2.0 What is the Centre for Army Leadership?

The CAL is the spiritual home of Army leadership.

3.0 What is the Role of the Centre for Army Leadership?

As described by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), there are two distinct parts to CAL’s role (Rock, 2019):

  1. The development of leadership in the British Army. This is via:
    • Development of career courses for both officers and soldiers.
    • Leadership surveys.
  2. The development of academic leadership. This is via:
    • Research-led material into the Army’s leadership courses;
    • Drawing in best practice;
    • Scoping the landscape of leadership; and
    • Generally creates a buzz about leadership across the Army.

The role of the CAL is fivefold (CAL, 2019a):

  1. Produce action-research papers on relevant leadership topics.
  2. Act as guardian to the British Army’s Leadership Doctrine.
  3. Act as a focus and library for the British Army’s academic leadership papers.
  4. Provide leadership presentations and speakers to military and civilian audiences.
  5. Organise Army leadership conferences and events.

As part of its mission to improve leadership in the Army and keep it at the forefront of leadership thinking, CAL events and publications stimulate debate and discussion about leadership amongst all ranks of the Army.

4.0 Where is the Centre for Army Leadership Located?

The CAL is located in Robertson House within The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), the premier officer training establishment.

RMAS is located in Camberley, Surrey, South West of London, just along the M3.

RMAS has been the home of the British Army officer training since 1812. Robertson House is named after Field Marshal Robertson, the only soldier in the history of the British Army to enlist as a private soldier and rise through the ranks to Field Marshal.

“The building may be in its grounds but the CAL is not actually part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. “We are siblings,” says Clark.” (Rock, 2019).

5.0 Organisation of the Centre for Army Leadership

Key personalities at CAL include:

  • Director of Leadership: A Major General (OF-7) who is jointly Commandant RMAS and the boss of CAL.
    • Also known as the Director General (DG) Leadership (DG Leadership, 2014).
    • Responsible “for leadership development in the British Army up to Lieutenant Colonel Level.” (DG Leadership, 2014, p.i).
  • SO1 Leadership: A Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4).
  • SO2 Leadership: A Major (OF-3).
  • Director of Research: A civilian.
  • Leadership Warrant Officer: A Warrant Officer Class One (WO1).

6.0 Army Leadership Conference

Each year, usually October, the CAL holds the Army Leadership Conference (CAL, 2019b).

As the British Army’s major leadership conference, the event brings together leaders and academics from across the military and civilian worlds in order to explore the theme, discuss the challenges and consider the implications of military leadership.

Approximately 1000-1200 delegates from across defence and the civilian sector attend to listen to a variety of speakers, attend pop-up events, and a final panel discussion in the afternoon.

Serving personnel can attend for free but civilians must purchase a ticket to attend.

7.0 Secondments

The CAL offers six-month secondments to Army junior and senior non-commissioned officers (JNCO and SNCO).

8.0 Publications and Speakers

The CAL offers a variety of services including:

  • The Leadership Doctrine first published in 2016.
    • The doctrine codifies what the Army does, and the CAL institutionalises and underpins the doctrine.
  • The Leadership Speaker Series which brings international, national and British Army leaders and leadership thinkers to an Army audience.
    • Speakers come to share their knowledge, ideas, research and experiences of leadership.
    • Attendance by junior officers and NCO’s is encouraged.
  • Leadership Insight Articles written by leadership experts and practitioners, they are ideal professional education for anyone interested in improving their leadership.
  • Leadership Digests, which provides a summary of the best leadership publications of the last period.

9.0 Useful Publications

10.0 Useful Links


CAL (Centre for Army Leadership). (2019a) Centre for Army Leadership. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/our-schools-and-colleges/centre-for-army-leadership/. [Accessed: 27 October, 2019].

CAL (Centre for Army Leadership). (2019b) Army Leadership Conference 2019. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/our-schools-and-colleges/centre-for-army-leadership/2019-cal-conference/. [Accessed: 27 October, 2019].

Director General (DG) Leadership. (2014) Developing Leaders: A British Army Guide. Edition 1. January 2014. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.ceptm.iue.edu.ar/pdf/ADR002383-developingLeaders.pdf. [Accessed: 27 October, 2019].

Rock, S. (2019) How the British Army Defined Leadership. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2019/july/how-the-british-army-defined-leadership. [Accessed: 27 October, 2019].


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