1.0     IntroductionMilitary Leadership

The UK military has a long tradition of providing training and educational opportunities for all its personnel. In common with its civilian brethren the UK military has long provided a variety of educational opportunities for its Officers (i.e. graduates) in the form of mandatory training through modules/courses:

  • Delivered at the various Officer academies as part of Phase 1 initial training;
  • Delivered as part of Phase 2 specialist training on some trade courses; and
  • Delivered as part of Phase 3 Career professional development and ‘post-graduate’ training facilitated by universities and/or accredited Defence Training Establishments (e.g. the Joint Services Command and Staff College).

Probably the most well-known establishment for the training and education of British Officers is the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), which has provided training and education since 1947. Training and education for Officers has been ongoing, in various forms, since the 1740s.

Training and education for UK military officers is termed ‘Command and Staff Training’ (CST) and all three Services have mandatory Officer Career Development (OCD) Programmes for their officers. Although the title of each Service’s OCD Programme is different, the underlying principles are the same.

OCD Programmes are based on three career stages that encompass an officer’s entire career. Stage One begins at an officer’s commissioning course and ends at promotion to OF-3 (Major). Stage Two begins with promotion to OF-3 and attendance at the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land, Air or Maritime). Stage Three begins when an officer is promoted to OF-4 (Lieutenant Colonel) and attends the Advanced Command and Staff Course.

The ‘Officer Career Development Handbook: A Guide to Comprehensive Training and Education’ (2014DIN07-072) is for all British Army and Royal Marine officers. It provides guidance and direction on the comprehensive elements of officer training and education. It is primarily aimed at informing and guiding junior officers, as well as those who have a command responsibility for ensuring that those in their charge are able to progress through their professional development in a timely and effective manner. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) have their own versions.

2.0     Defining Command, Leadership and Management

Before looking at what the range of Officer Career Development Programmes (OCDP) incorporates, we must first define, in a military context, the three elements of Command, Leadership and Management:

  1. Command: Command is a position of authority and responsibility to which military men and women are legally appointed. Leadership and management are the key components in the successful exercise of command. Successful management is readily measured against objective criteria but commanders are not leaders until their position has been ratified in the hearts and minds of those they command.
  2. Leadership: Military leadership is visionary. It is the projection of personality and character to inspire those they command to do what is required of them. Skill in the techniques of leadership is the foremost quality in the art of command and contributes very largely to operational success. There is no prescription for leadership and no prescribed style of leader. Military leadership is a combination of example, persuasion and compulsion dependent on the situation. It should aim to transform and be under-pinned by the ethos of Mission Command and a balance of military qualities and skills. Successful military leaders are those who understand themselves, the organisation, the environment in which they operate and the people that they are privileged to lead.
  3. Management: Management is a facet of command. It is about the allocation and control of resources (human, material and financial) to achieve objectives. Management requires the ability to deploy a range of techniques and skills to enhance and facilitate the planning, organisation and execution of the business of defence. A successful commander combines these management skills with those of leadership to achieve the desired outcome.

3.0     Value of OCD Programmes

The UK military is committed to ensuring that its Officers (Table 1 below) have the training and skills required for promotion. As such, the OCD Programme is mandatory for those selected for promotion to a higher rank.

3.1     Aim of the OCD Programme

The aim of the OCD Programme is to improve the performance of individuals both in barracks/ship/air station and on operations by developing leadership, management, command and staff skills as individual’s progress through the ranks.

3.2     Role of the OCD Programme

The role of the OCD Programme is to prepare individuals for the tasks that they will undertake during their military careers through progressive command and staff training, and the development of military knowledge.

3.3     OCD Programme Levels

The OCD Programme T&E is developmental and provided at a number of distinct levels depending on an officers rank. OCD Programme levels include:

  • Junior Officer Career Development Programme;
  • Senior Officer Career Development Programme; and
  • Executive Officer Career Development Programme.

Table 1 provides the reader with an outline of the various OCD Programmes by Service and title: Table 1: UK Officer T&E by Rank & Service

3.4     OCD Programme Elements

The T&E elements of the OCD Programme are delivered using various modes depending on the requirements of the individual Service. They are designed to prepare individuals for promotion to a higher rank by giving them the attitude, skills and knowledge they will require in order to operate effectively when in command. Each course builds on the previous one, while introducing new material as appropriate. The programme of courses cover:

  • Leadership;
  • Management;
  • Communication;
  • Professional knowledge;
  • Staff officer duties;
  • Personal development; and
  • Physical training.

All levels of the OCD Programme count as credits for civilian qualifications, whereby individuals can gain:

  • Professional and vocational qualifications in management;
  • Degree-level modules and credits; and
  • Membership of professional institutions.

3.5     OCD Programmes by Service

For information on the OCD Programmes specific to each Service use the following links:

3.6     Transferable Skills

The skills and qualifications that individuals gain are accredited and transferable to civilian life when they leave the armed forces.

4.0     NATO Rank Codes and UK Service Designations

The NATO rank code system allows comparisons to be established between the various countries military systems and across the Services. Table 2 provides the reader with the NATO rank codes and their UK Service equivalents: Table 2: NATO Ranks

5.0     Operational Performance Statements

The OCD Programme provides generic training and education (T&E) for promotion purposes for Officers across the Services. Although inter- and intra-service differences occur due to Service, Corps and Trade requirements, the general aim and underlying principles of the OCD Programme remain the same.

Each Service has written specifications (known as Operational Performance Statements, OPS) which describe the generic tasks that must be performed by individuals at a given rank. For example, the British Army OCD Programme provides generic T&E for all officer promotion through OPS. The OPS also specify the conditions under which the tasks will be undertaken and the standards that are to be achieved. These are further detailed in Instructional Specifications (ISpecs) and Assessment Specifications (ASpecs).

6.0     British Students Attending Overseas Staff Colleges

The Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) runs a 2-day course for British officers selected to attend staff training courses overseas, normally in April/May.These briefings may also prove to be of value to other British officers with responsibilities at overseas staff colleges, such as Liaison or Exchange Officers/Directing Staff.

There are no academic entry requirements for this course, which is delivered at Shrivenham in a classroom environment. The aim of this course is to update students on defence related issues so that they are aware of the current UK position in key subject areas. Course components include:

  • Defence Policy;
  • Doctrine;
  • Updates on the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force; and
  • Joint Estimate/Campaign Planning process.

Additionally, officers will meet points of contact at the College, who may be able to provide assistance during their time overseas.  A small book pack and CD ROM are also issued to individuals.

7.0     Defence Academy of the United Kingdom

The Defence Academy of the United Kingdom (DAUK), an arm’s length body located in Shrivenham, is responsible for postgraduate education and the majority of command, staff, leadership, defence management, acquisition and technology training for members of the UK military and (Ministry of Defence) MOD civil servants. It is also the MOD’s main link with UK universities and international military educational institutions. Figure 1 provides an overview of the organisation of the DAUK.

Figure1: DAUK Organisation

Figure 1: Overview of the organisation of DAUK

The article will now look at the sub-organisations which are involved in the training and education and OCD Programmes, which includes the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Joint Services Command and Staff College and the College of Management and Technology.

7.1     The Royal College of Defence Studies

The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) provides postgraduate level strategic education in defence and international security to officers of OF-5 to OF-6 rank and their civilian equivalents. RCDS is situated in the heart of Belgravia, London, and its internationally renowned programme of strategic studies attracts members from around the world. RCDS membership is usually by invitation and selection.

The RCDS course comprises four terms:

  • Term 1: The future strategic context;
  • Term 2: Conflict and strategy in the modern world;
  • Term 3: Contemporary international issues; and
  • Term 4: Leadership in the strategic environment.

The main course serves as the foundation for an MA in International Security and Strategy offered by King’s College London to those members electing to undertake additional studies in parallel. Each full member of the RCDS course is required to write a dissertation of up to 10,000 words (the requirement is 15,000 words on the MA programme). The paper is considered a personal intellectual challenge, and enables members to demonstrate their academic calibre. It is an opportunity to research a subject deeply, to provide fresh analysis, to test conventional wisdom, and to arrive at conclusions pointing to a way forward. Members have a free choice of subject provided it is a strategic issue and there will normally be an international relations, defence or security (broadly defined) focus.

7.2     The Joint Services Command and Staff College

The Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) trains the future commanders and staff officers (OF-2 to OF-5) of all three Services and those from many countries around the world.

JSCSC delivers this training through a number of command and staff training courses (Table 2 above) which provide wide-ranging and comprehensive mid- and late-career development and education focusing on leadership and success on operations.

As such the JSCSC is the Defence training provider for mandatory officer training and education at the intermediate, advanced and higher levels for those officers seeking promotion to a higher rank.

7.2.1  Defence Studies Department

The Defence Studies Department (DSD), which is part of King’s College London, provides professional military education to the UK military at the JSCSC.  The MOD recognised the imperative for its officers to understand military history as well as issues of contemporary and future defence and international security at the postgraduate level. DSD meets this requirement by providing research-led teaching and postgraduate accreditation in a unique partnership at the JSCSC.

7.3     The College of Management and Technology

The College of Management and Technology provides high quality education, training and advice in technology, management and leadership, together with relevant aspects of security and resilience to students (OF-2 to OF-5) in Defence and the wider security area in order to enhance the delivery of defence capability.

8.0     Cranfield University

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is one of four Schools within the Cranfield University. CDS offers unique educational opportunities to the Defence and Security sectors of both public and private sector organisations. Based at DAUK at Shrivenham, CDS is the academic provider to the MOD for all postgraduate education at the College of Management and Technology and training in engineering, science, acquisition, management and leadership.

9.0     Accreditation

9.1     Chartered Management Institute

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is a professional and awarding body for UK management and leadership qualifications, dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. The CMI encompass a membership community more than 100,000 strong and is the only body that awards Chartered Manager.

9.2     The Institute for Leadership and Management

The Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM) is the UKs largest management body and is an independent charity that forms part of the City & Guilds Group. The ILM has approximately 35,000 members and over the past ten years more than 750,000 managers have benefited from an ILM qualification or accredited training programme.

10.0   Defence Learning Portal

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) wanted to deliver training in a way that would reduce cost and the impact on frontline duties. The solution, provided by BT (2009), was the Defence Learning Portal (DLP) which is the MOD’s primary source of distance learning. The on-line training system enables training to be delivered where individuals are posted at whatever time is convenient.

11.0   Useful Links

Listed are some links which the reader may find useful:

12.0   References

BT (British Telecommunications) (2009) Case Study, MOD Defence Learning Portal: Transforming Ministry of Defence Training. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.globalservices.bt.com/uk/en/casestudy/mod_defence_learning_portal. [Accessed: 23 September, 2013].

Frost, A. & Black, L. (2013) News: Aide Memoire App Trialled. TAQ – The Magazine for the Territorial Army. Andover: Army Media & Communication.


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