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Last Updated: 09 May, 2016

1.0     Introduction

Canadian Special Operations Forces CommandThis article provides an overview of the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre (CSOTC) which was established in June 2012 (Spencer, 2014).

The CSOTC is headquartered in Petawawa, Ontario, and is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4).

The CSOTC forms the educational and training element of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM or CSOFC) Special Operations Forces (SOF) community, a “fourth service” (Horn, 2012, p.48) of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The Centre has a mixture of personnel in instructional and support roles.

2.0     The Role of the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre

The CSOTC is responsible for providing CANSOFCOM with common SOF-specific training, designing and delivering a wide range of academic and practically-orientated courses

As described by the Director of Research and Education (Spencer, 2014) at CANSOFCOM’s Professional Development Centre:

“The CSOTC provides training that is common to all CANSOFCOM units and designs and runs professional development courses that push members out of their comfort zones and provide insight into different areas of cognitive development. Through this process, the CSOTC empowers CANSOF members with not only the physical skills required to meet the demands of their profession, but also the mental capacity to deal with uncertainty and possible moral ambiguities in a complex, dynamic and, potentially, lethal operating environment.”

As noted by Global Affairs Canada (2015), the CSOTC also provides:

  • Annual training for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) personnel through the Special Operations Readiness Training (SORT) on Human Rights, Laws of Armed Conflict, Ethics, Cultural Awareness, and Rules of Engagement, with the focus on protection of all non-combatants, including women and girls, while deployed on operations.
  • The Special Operations Command Environment Training (SOCET) including core deployment requirements addressing both human rights and the protection of women and girls.

In 2014, the Commander CANSOFCOM (Rouleau, 2014, p.2) made the following statements regarding future aspirations:

  • “We are also developing our own special operations non-commissioned member career progression model.”
  • “We have CSOTC – the new SOF school in Petawawa and we’re doing a lot of work to see how we can innovate around lessons learned to create the SOF leader of tomorrow.”
  • “We also have a professional development centre in Kingston where SOF-specific academic research is done in the areas of cognitive decisionmaking, adaptive proficiency into how a trooper or leader thinks.”

3.0     CANSOFCOM Professional Development Centre

The CANSOFCOM Professional Development Centre (PDC) was formally established in January 2011. It is headed by the Director, an OF-5 level officer.

It is located in Kingston, Ontario, in order to be closely aligned with the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) and to be near all four of the CANSOFCOM units, as well as the HQ.

The PDC offers graduate and undergraduate RMCC courses for CANSOFCOM personnel, often adapting the delivery methods in order to meet the operational demands of the members.

The PDC also provides a number of uniquely tailored professional development sessions and workshops that take complex academic theories and illustrate how they apply to the jobs that CANSOF personnel perform.

4.0     Useful Links

  • Canadian Special Operations Forces: http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-special-forces/index.page

5.0     References

Global Affairs Canada (2015) 2013-2014 Progress Report – Canada’s Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. Section 3.1.2 Training. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.international.gc.ca/start-gtsr/women_report_2013-2014_rapport_femmes.aspx?lang=eng. [Accessed: 09 May, 2016].

Horn, B. (2012) “We Will Find a Way”: Understanding the Legacy of Canadian Special Operations Forces. JSOU Report 12-2. February 2012. Available from World Wide Web: http://jsou.socom.mil/JSOU%20Publications/12-2_Horn_CanadianSOF(Feb12)_final.PDF. [Accessed: 17 April, 2016].

Rouleau, M. (2014) CANSOFCOM: Stepping Out of the Shadows. The Maple Leaf. November 2014. 17(10), pp.2.

Spencer, E. (2014) CANSOFCOM. Available from World Wide Web: http://defence.frontline.online/article/2014/4/155-CANSOFCOM. [Accessed: 18 April, 2016].