11 July 2013. Ottawa. The Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) commends the Hon. Peter G. MacKay, Minister of National Defence, for the launch of the Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative (CMLPI), a partnership between the University of Alberta and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The partnership will launch an accredited and structured program that will fulfill the academic objectives of participants while developing a set of wider personal and professional objectives. This initiative will have a positive impact on the development of leadership capabilities for the CAF and contribute to the community’s understanding of the military contribution to Canadian society.

The CMLPI is an entirely new initiative though it shares some historic links to an older model, the Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC), which was terminated in 1968. In this new pilot project participants will enrol in the four-year undergraduate degree program of their choice and enrol in the Canadian Army Reserve as officers or non-commissioned members in a military trade of their choice. During the academic year, participants will train with an Edmonton-based Army Reserve unit. Their summers will be spent undertaking military training as reservists. Upon successful completion of the program participants may continue with their career in the CAF, remain in the reserves or release and pursue other opportunities.

This public private partnership owes much to the efforts of the Breakout Educational Network, a charitable educational organization created in 1994. In 2012 the Breakout Educational Network, following several years of background work, proposed to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence a modern version of the COTC which would see military leadership training academically recognized in university curriculums as a mutually beneficial incentive to both universities and the Canadian Army. In addition to the Breakout Network, Reserves 2000 and Réserves 2000 Québec also provided inputs for the Senate Committee’s interim report.

Please direct any enquiries to Captain (Ret’d) Peter Forsberg, Public Affairs Officer; or to Colonel (Ret’d) Alain Pellerin, Executive Director; at 613-236-1252 or email director@cda-cdai.ca.