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1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Senior Air Supervisor (SAS) 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 SAS course “is designed to look beyond the day to day, to look with a strategic eye with a vision towards the future.” (Millward & Attitree, 2014, p.8). 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 SAS 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 Senior Air Supervisor Course?

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 SAS Course Take Place?

Within the training paradigm of the CAF the SAS course is nominally scheduled after an NCM has been “…hand picked by the Chief of the Air Force office to be the NCM leaders of tomorrow’s Air Force.” (Millward & Attitree, 2014, p.8).

1.3     Who Is the SAS Course For?

The SAS course is aimed at RCAF NCMs, typically at the rank of Master/Chief Warrant Officer.

1.4     Developmental Period Five

In the training paradigm of the CAF, the SAS course falls within Developmental Period 5 (DP5), the fifth of five periods, which focuses on the skills and knowledge required for employment as institutional leaders and at the strategic level.

Theoretically, at least, DP5 training is conducted in the following order:

  • Staff work and experience;
  • Senior appointment qualification;
  • Senior Appointment Programme (SAP); and
  • Advancement to Chief Petty Officer Class One/Chief Warrant Officer.

There is no formal progression beyond DP5.


2.0     Introduction

The SAS 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 SAS course is a 2 week residential course, delivered at the RCAF Academy, with the aim of developing exceptional management and leadership ability in NCMs who will undertake roles in varied employment assignments to include unit, joint or combined operational employment, and/or employment within a command team at a base, wing or staff positions within higher headquarters.

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 Senior Air Supervisor course; and
  2. To provide the individual with the tools (i.e. skills and knowledge) necessary to perform their duties at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer within the RCAF.

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     SAS Course Programme Outline

The SAS course “…is designed to look beyond the day to day, to look with a strategic eye with a vision towards the future.” (Millward & Attitree, 2014, p.8). The structure and delivery of the course is designed to facilitate this aim.

  • Trainees present a discussion on the organisation they have come from (including Q&A);
  • Syndicate work;
  • Special projects (group work, problem solving and presentation of conclusions); and
  • Transition from Corps to institutional level thinking.


4.0     Summary

The Senior Air Supervisor Course is common to all Non-Commissioned Members, typically at the rank of Master/Chief Warrant Officer, of the Royal Canadian Air Force regardless of trade.

The SAS course provides a transition from a Corps focused individual to an institutional focused individual.

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].

Millward, L. & Attitree, R. (2014) Visions of the Future. Citoyen Borden Citizen. 66(13), pp.8. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 17 July, 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].