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1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Primary Air Environmental Qualification (PAEQ) course received by non-commissioned members (NCMs) of the Royal Canadian Air Force or Force Aérienne Royale Canadienne (FARC).

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is one of three elements/branches of military service that make up the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or Forces Armée Canadiennes (FAC), the other two being the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

After NCMs and officers have completed their basic training, Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) or Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) respectively, they will move on to what is termed environmental training.

Whereas the BMQ/BMOQ courses are common to all members of the Canadian Army, RCAF and the RCN regardless of trade, environmental training is specific to the element/branch of military service the individual is joining.

The PAEQ course covers a variety of topics including the history and role of the RCAF, Defence writing and RCAF management. As personnel progress through their careers and gain promotion they will undertake AEQ training at a number of levels:

In Part One, this article will provide a description of the PAEQ course, when it is delivered and who it is for, before outlining its position in the training paradigm of the CAF. Part Two will outline the organisation of training, meaning what training establishments deliver the training and where. Part Three will provide a brief outline of the training. Finally, Part Four will provide a summary, as well as some useful links and publications before providing a list of references.

1.1     What is the Primary Air Environmental Qualification?

Each element of the CAF has their own environmental training common to all personnel that join that element/branch of military service.

For the RCAF, this environmental training is known as Air Environmental Qualification (AEQ) training, which is for NCMs. The course develops skills and knowledge common to all RCAF jobs, covering training specific to operating within an Air environment.

Non-RCAF personnel attached to the RCAF must undertake Air Familiarisation training, typically based on their rank:

  • Basic Air Familiarisation Qualification (BAFQ); and/or
  • Advanced Environmental Familiarisation Qualification (AEFQ).

1.2     When Does The PAEQ Take Place?

Within the training paradigm of the CAF the PAEQ course is nominally scheduled after Primary Leadership Qualification (PLQ) training and is required for advancement to Master Corporal (Section 1.4).

However, depending on when courses are scheduled within the training year and other factors (e.g. overseas postings), personnel may undertake occupational training first and then the PAEQ course.

1.3     Who Is the PAEQ Course For?

PAEQ is aimed at RCAF NCMs, typically at the rank of Corporal, who have completed the PLQ course but not yet completed their (next level of) occupational training.

1.4     Developmental Period Two

In the training paradigm of the CAF, the PAEQ course falls within Developmental Period 2 (DP2), the second of five periods, which focuses on the skills and knowledge required for intermediate/supervisory level employment and further training.

In addition to experience at unit level, DP2 includes applicable environmental and intermediate occupational qualifications, as well as leadership training. After completing DP2, military personnel are deemed occupationally employable at an intermediate level.

Theoretically, at least, DP2 training is conducted in the following order:

  • PLQ;
  • Environmental training (as required);
  • Intermediate occupational training (as required); and
  • Advancement to Master Seaman/Master Corporal.

Progression to DP3 occurs when the individual has successfully achieved/completed all of the above.


2.0     Introduction

The PAEQ course is delivered at the Royal Canadian Air Force Academy, which is part of 16 Wing, both located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, Ontario.

This section provides a brief overview of the defence training establishments involved in the delivery of the AEQ programme.

2.1     Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System

The CAF uses a systems approach to determine what tasks are to be taught, which is known as the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System (CFITES).

CFITES can be described as a management framework designed to optimise the quality and quantity of individual training and education (IT&E), while minimising the resources dedicated to IT&E programmes.

Drilling down, CFITES is a structured analytical approach to determining the customer requirement and how to deliver the end product. Strategic guidance to operations drives the determination of what is needed. Based on a needs assessment and analysis of the occupation, the customer determines the requirement, or the tasks to be performed.

After the needs assessment defines the desired end result, a training organisation’s role is to develop, implement, and maintain the respective training programmes. A six-phase systems approach model governs each programme. The phases are:

  • Phase 1: Analysis;
  • Phase 2: Design;
  • Phase 3: Development;
  • Phase 4: Conduct;
  • Phase 5: Evaluation; and
  • Phase 6: Validation.

A training organisation works through this process for every course in concert with the various stakeholders who have a vested interest in the training outcome.

The six phases of CFITES manifest in the 10+ volume Manual of Individual Training and Education (A-P9 Series) which describes the various steps in the development of a training programme.

2.2     2 Canadian Air Division

2 Canadian Air Division (CAD) is located at Winnipeg, Manitoba, and commanded by a Brigadier General (OF-6), who is assisted by a Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) (OR-9).

In its overarching role as the training authority for the RCAF, 2 CAD generates and develops personnel through three organisations (15 Wing, 16 Wing and the Canadian Forces Aircrew Selection Centre). This role can be sub-divided into three streams (RCAF, 2015):

  1. Oversight of RCAF IT&E (including ab-initio training for most RCAF occupations);
  2. Oversight of core RCAF developmental courses; and
  3. Support to the overall RCAF training management.

2.3     16 Wing

“Birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).” (RCAF, 2016)

16 Wing is a lodger unit of CFB Borden, Ontario, and is the “largest training wing” in the CAF delivering both technical and professional training. (RCAF, 2016).

The Wing is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5), who is assisted by a CWO (OR-9), and consists of:

  • A Headquarters (HQ), located at CFB Borden;
  • The Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering (CFSATE), located at CFB Borden;
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force Academy (RCAF Academy), located at CFB Borden; and
  • The Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO), located at the NAV Canada Centre in Cornwall, Ontario.

16 Wing originally started as an RCAF (Reserve) Operational Wing in Hamilton, Ontario, on 01 October 1950 and has witnessed a number of transformations before reaching its current iteration; although an air training school has been at CFB Borden since 1917 (RCAF, 2016).

The Wing delivers training to approximately 2000 trainees each year, ranging from “core aircraft technology such as engine and airframe maintenance and repairs, to aerospace control operations, leadership and RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) history.” (RCAF, 2016).

2.4     RCAF Academy

The Royal Canadian Air Force Academy, generally known as the RCAF Academy, is located at CFB Borden and is led by the Commandant, a CWO (OR-9) (CME Association, 2015).

It has witnessed a number of iterations, as highlighted below:

  • Junior leadership school established at Penhold, Alberta, in 1973.
  • Junior leadership school established at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, in 1974.
  • The Air Command Professional Development and Training Centre (ACPDTC) established at CFB Borden in 1994.
  • Both junior leadership schools closed in 1994 and functions reassigned to the ACPDTC.
  • The Air Force Indoctrination School Detachment in St Jean, Quebec, and the Canadian Forces School of Air Reserve Training in Penhold also saw functions and resources reassigned to the ACPDTC.
  • ACPDTC renamed the Air Command Academy (ACA) in October 2004.
  • ACA renamed the RCAF Academy in June 2014.

The role of the RCAF Academy is threefold (CME Association, 2015; 16 Wing Public Affairs, 2016):

  1. To provide leadership and management training and education to all NCMs serving under the RCAF.
  2. To broaden awareness of RCAF heritage; and
  3. To develop general service knowledge and professional attributes among NCMs.

This role is manifest through a number of courses delivered by the RCAF Academy (acting as a central location) to approximately 1000 trainees each year (16 Wing Public Affairs, 2016):

  • Basic Air Environmental Qualification (BAEQ);
  • Primary Leadership Qualification (PLQ);
  • Primary Air Environmental Qualification (PAEQ), formerly the Junior Leader Air Environmental Course;
  • Intermediate Air Environmental Qualification (IAEQ), formerly the Sergeant Seminar; and
  • Senior Air Supervisor (SAS) course.

Other locations that may deliver the PAEQ course include Comox, Shearwater, Winnipeg, Trenton, Cold Lake, Cornwall, Greenwood and Bagotville.


3.0     Introduction

The PAEQ course is a 5 week online course covering a variety of topics such as the history and role of the RCAF, behaviour and management (needs verification: was in abeyance and there were plans to amalgamate it with the PLQ). A prerequisite course for the PAEQ is/was the PLQ.

Officially, the aim of the course is twofold:

  1. To outline the NCM AES-based professional military education and training required to complete the NCM Primary Air Environmental Qualification: and
  2. To provide the individual with the tools (i.e. skills and knowledge) necessary to perform their duties at the rank of Corporal within the RCAF.

The PAEQ course is delivered at the RCAF Academy and was first delivered in late 2013 after being piloted in early 2013 (needs verification).

3.1     Underlying Concepts

Regardless of whether an individual is undertaking Air Environmental or Air Familiarisation training, there are a number of underlying concepts that embrace each level, which include:

  • Military Professionalism: covering Identity; Responsibility; Expertise; and Military Ethos.
  • Leadership.
  • Professional Development: covering Training; Education; Self-Development; and Work Experience.
  • Leadership Development.
  • Leadership Development Framework: including Meta-competencies such as Expertise; Cognitive Capacities; Social Capacities; Change Capacities; and Professional Ideology.

3.2     PAEQ Programme Outline

The PAEQ course has two Performance Objectives (POs) and two Education Objectives (EdOs) that trainees must achieve in order to successfully pass the course. The two POs and two EdOs include:

  • PO Air 201 – Apply ethical principles and values when using Air Force management tools;
  • PO Air 202 – Communicate orally and in writing;
  • EdO Air 201 – Describe the role and history of the Air Force; and
  • EdO Air 202 – Recognise key concepts of support to Air Force operations.

The POs/EdOs are manifest through a number of topics which include:

  • History and role of the Air Force;
  • Defence writing: including sentence structure, punctuation and grammar;
  • Briefings and human behaviour;
  • Selection boards;
  • Air management; and
  • A variety of other topics.

Assessment on the PAEQ is conducted via:

  • Quizzes;
  • Exams (typically multiple choice);
  • An essay on the history of the RCAF; and
  • A Presentation (typically PowerPoint).

This training is completed post-PLQ via Distributed Learning (DL).


4.0     Summary

The Primary Air Environmental Qualification is common to all Non-Commissioned Members, typically at the rank of Corporal, of the Royal Canadian Air Force regardless of trade.

The PAEQ course covers the history and role of the RCAF, Defence writing, briefings and human behaviour, selection boards, RCAF management and a few other lessons.

4.1     Useful Links

4.2     Useful Publications

  • Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAODs):
    • DAOD 5002-0 – Military Personnel Requirements and Production.
    • DAOD 5031-1 – Canadian Forces Military Equivalencies Programme.
    • DAOD 5031-2 – Individual Training and Education Strategic Framework.
    • DAOD 5031-8 – Canadian Forces Professional Development.
    • DAOD 5039-6 – Delivery of Training and Education in Both Official Languages.
  • Manual of Individual Training and Education (A-P9 Series), sits within the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System (CFITES):
    • Volume 1: Introduction/Description (A-P9-050-000/PT-001).
    • Volume 1(1): Supplement – CFITES Glossary (A-P9-050-000/PT-Z01).
    • Volume 2: Needs Assessment (A-P9-050-000/PT-002).
    • Volume 3: Analysis of Instructional Requirements (A-P9-050-000/PT-003).
    • Volume 4: Design of Instructional Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-004).
    • Volume 5: Development of Instructional Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-005).
    • Volume 6: Conduct of Instructional Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-006).
    • Volume 7: Evaluation of Learners (A-P9-050-000/PT-007).
    • Volume 8: Validation of Instructional Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-008).
    • Volume 9: Quantity Control in Individual Training and Education Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-009).
    • Volume 10: Managing Individual Training and Education in Projects (A-P9-050-000/PT-010).
    • Volume 11: Evaluation of Instructional Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-011).
    • Volume 11(1): Supplement – Evaluation and Validation Techniques (A-P9-050-000/PT-Z11).
    • Volume 12: Canadian Forces Military Equivalencies Programme (CFMEP), Prior Learning Assessment (A-P9-050-000/PT-012).
    • Volume 13: Administration of Individual Training and Education (IT&E), Establishments and Programmes (A-P9-050-000/PT-013).
    • Volume 14: Resource Management in IT&E: Costing Model and Procedures.
  • Academic/Research:
  • Annual Military Occupation Review (AMOR).

4.3     References

16 Wing Public Affairs (2016) Royal Canadian Air Force Academy: Leading the Future, One Class at a Time. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 23 June, 2016].

CME Association (the Canadian Military Engineers Association) (2015) CME Branch CWO Activity Report Sep – Nov 2014. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 23 June, 2016].

RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) (2015) 2 Canadian Air Division. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 July, 2016].

RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) (2016) 16 Wing Borden. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 23 June, 2016].