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At the end of June 1999 a symposium sponsored by the Queen's University Defence Management Studies Programme and the Army Training Authority was held at Queen's University. The focus of the symposium was on the "NCO in the Future Army." In the audience were a wide variety of Canadian Forces and foreign officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and non-commissioned members (NCMs) from all environments, both regular and reserve, augmented by civilians interested in military issues. The presenters consisted of university professors, CF officers, Warrant Officers, and Senior NCOs as well as a Command Sergeant Major from the US Army and the Artillery Corps RSM from the British Army. Topics provided a historical perspective on the NCO throughout history and lead into thoughts about the NCOs of the future, (1) i.e., what is to be expected of them and how they should be prepared for their job.
One of the topics presented was entitled "Into the 21st Century: Strategic Human Resource Issues." (2) This topic forms the basis for discussion in this article. As can be determined by the title, the presentation summarized a variety of factors that will influence the CF's future human resource (HR) practices.
Although the symposium was aimed at the NCO, the points discussed have an effect on all members of the CF. This article will highlight some of the key points from the symposium as well as with a few of the practical steps being considered and in some cases implemented, to prepare the Army for the future, and the resultant effect upon the Reserve in particular.
* Age. It is expected that the elderly (those over 65) will out number those under age 15 within three decades. Some implications are that the size of the country's workforce, and therefore the tax base, will be reduced. A reallocation of funding will likely be demanded for healthcare and pensions. To sustain the population-workforce ratio we must all propagate profusely, or double immigration quotas now. One model being discussed suggests that force reductions will aggravate the problem: the average age for officers will rise to 38 and that for NCMs to 36. And, as our ageing troops draw close to compulsory retirement age (CRA), a great deal of expertise and experience will be drained from the CF.
* Diversity. The increase in immigration and the resulting change in the ethnic composition of the workforce from which the CF must recruit new members brings with it the requirement adopting a work environment truly open to ethnic diversity. Predictions are that those of Chinese origin will …