Author Topic: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf  (Read 3597 times)

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Offline milnews.ca

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CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« on: December 20, 2012, 16:34:14 »
This from the Minister of Defence:
Quote
“On October 29, 2012, I approved the Chief of the Defence Staff’s recommendation to establish the position of the Canadian Forces Judge Advocate General at the rank of Major-General from that of Brigadier-General and to promote the Judge Advocate General, Major-General Blaise Cathcart, to that rank.

The elevation of the Judge Advocate General’s rank is a significant recognition of the importance of the Judge Advocate General’s position in performing two unique roles set out in the National Defence Act: legal advisor in matters relating to military law and superintendent of the administration of military justice in the Canadian Forces. In the complex global environment within which the Canadian Forces operate, security challenges are more diverse and complex than ever before. In these increasingly dynamic circumstances, mission success remains inseparable from adherence to the rule of law. Against this backdrop, the role of the uniformed legal advisor as a source of independent and objective legal advice, takes on growing importance. The Judge Advocate General is a key strategic advisor in the decision-making process.   

The rank of Major-General is appropriate in keeping with the practice of a number of our allies. Most importantly, it will enhance the Judge Advocate General’s independence and his ability, and that of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, to provide oversight of the military justice system and to efficiently and effectively deliver timely, independent, operationally focused and solution oriented legal services to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence.

At this time, I would also like to extend my congratulations to Major-General Blaise Cathcart, the Judge Advocate General, on his promotion.”
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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 16:37:59 »
..and I suppose one move up along the whole chain?  Fiscal smiscal............. :brickwall:
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 20:59:45 »
Good work on that "fiscal restraint and reducing headquarters overhead"



  ::)
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 22:03:08 »
Rank inflation.  As Bruce pointed out, it simply paves the way for the LEGAD branch to slide a few BGens in down the road.

The fluff about needing the extra rank enhancing his Independence and ability to provide oversight is merely that, fluff.  As a specialist adviser, the rank is really immaterial.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 00:07:32 by Infanteer »
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline dapaterson

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 09:02:02 »
Watch for a list of promotions & position changes to come out shortly.


Or so a little bird told me...
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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 09:06:32 »
Now just think of how a Sgt. on IR in Wainright with his family in Edmonton is enjoying this.

How did the clowns at the top ever get so disjointed with the corps of the military?  ..and, more importantly, how do we get it back?
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Offline Crantor

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 09:41:20 »
The JAG in USN was a RAdm until 2006 when they changed it to a Vice Adm.  In the UK it would seem that the JAG is a civilain position.  In fact it would seem all their lawyers are civilians.  Just an FYI.
Optio

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2012, 09:46:37 »
Rank inflation.  As Bruce pointed out, it simply paves the way for the LEGAD branch to slide a few BGens in down the road.

The fluff about needing the extra rank enhancing his Independence and ability to provide oversight is merely that, fluff.  As a specialist adviser, the rank is really immaterial.


Agreed.

Many, many years decades ago chaplains in the RCN had no rank ~ ever. The padre, it was said, shared the rank of the person he was advising, be it a lonely, frightened ordinary seaman or the admiral. It wasn't a bad system.

Physicians, in hospitals - which are pretty hierarchical places - seem to have few difficulties in determining who is "superior" and who "subordinate." Do they really need traditional ranks in the military? I can guarantee that the quality of advice did not appear to change when my old chum Cora Fisher was promoted from Cdr to Capt (N). I'm sure she got "better" with age (experience) but did she need more gold on her sleeve to "prove" that? I don't think so.

In court rooms we can see that judges and lawyers have somewhat different "gee gaws" (robes and ribbons, etc). But they seem, in the day to day world, to get along pretty well based on a knowledge of "who's who."

Maybe chaplains, lawyers and physicians need a new, different, way or sorting themselves ~ one that doesn't need military ranks, per se. They are, already, paid quite differently from other officers, maybe they should be "ranked" differently, too.
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Offline ArmyDoc

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2012, 11:33:34 »

Agreed.

Many, many yearsPhysicians, in hospitals - which are pretty hierarchical places - seem to have few difficulties in determining who is "superior" and who "subordinate." Do they really need traditional ranks in the military? I can guarantee that the quality of advice did not appear to change when my old chum Cora Fisher was promoted from Cdr to Capt (N). I'm sure she got "better" with age (experience) but did she need more gold on her sleeve to "prove" that? I don't think so...

Maybe chaplains, lawyers and physicians need a new, different, way or sorting themselves ~ one that doesn't need military ranks, per se. They are, already, paid quite differently from other officers, maybe they should be "ranked" differently, too.
The idea of giving medical officers a new "rank" structure was debated over a decade ago when we were having significant recruitment/retention issues.  One of the proposals was to provide a distinctive "medical identifier" to the rank, something like the old Navy ranks of Surgeon-Lieutenant, Surgeon-Commander, etc, which I quite like.

IMO, from my standpoint as a specialist advisor we DO need a military rank structure for two reasons, both of which are related to the military hierarchy.  First, within the health services we have many different MOSIDs all of which carry traditional rank e.g. Nursing Officers, Pharm O, Physio O, etc.  To make sense of who's who in the medical pyramid and to allow for appropriate command/control, Medical Officers need to wear appropriate rank.  This is consistent with other trades as well as our allies, although we might be considered under-ranked by one rank when compared to our NATO allies.

Similarly, the greater CF community has a hierarchical culture where rank is very vitally important.  Since we function in this greater CF milieu, an equivalent rank designation for MOs is required to appropriately interact with the operators.  We see this, for example, when a Capt/Lt(N) is filling the Base Surgeon role in an acting capacity but without the Maj/LCdr rank that goes with the position.  Despite their qualifications, they are often seen as "just another Capt" when providing medical advice to the CoC.  Within the RCN, arguably the most rank conscious of the 3 environment, rank is especially important and this goes also for the medical folks who support them (i.e. 2.5 rings worker bee, 3 rings good, 4 rings better).  If you want to play on a level playing field with the other players, then you need to earn the same ranks at each equivalent level that they do.

All that to say that I disagree with the assertion that "as a specialist advisor, the rank is really immaterial."

Offline dapaterson

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2012, 11:49:39 »
I agree that the problem is not the specialists per se, but the rank-obsessed poltroons who surround them.
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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 11:49:56 »
......although we might be considered under-ranked by one rank when compared to our NATO allies.
Well, this thread is about rank inflation, so you just shoulder your way up to the trough.


Actually, the Navy seems to have it right with the Medical Officers; have a different colour between the bars on the epaulettes -- everyone knows what mess they belong to, but they're not confused with the operators. Maybe extend that to the lawyers and padres too....and spread it across the Army and Airforce.
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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 11:54:59 »
WRT the "rank is immaterial" comment, I should qualify it in terms of the advice given to the generalist crowd.  I'm not going to take the advice of a LCol Legad any differently than if it was coming from a Maj Legad.  Does the JAG's advice suddenly get better now that he has a second leaf?  Is he any more empowered to direct the Legal Branch?  Hence my comments that the reasons for the promotion amounted to fluff.

The Germans had a system of ranks for their specialists (lawyers, medical personnel) known as Beamter.  It was still hierarchical, but denoted the fact that they were specialists and not generalists.  I don't think I agree with Edward's proposal that we need such a specialized system, I just question this story as part of the general inflation of rank that is going on when we don't have enough Privates to fill companies and squadrons.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 11:59:14 by Infanteer »
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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 11:59:28 »
..... as part of the general inflation of rank that is going on when we don't have enough Privates to fill companies and squadrons.
Which was the basis of my initial "WTF" thought.   Way to go, NDHQ.  :not-again:
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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2012, 12:04:04 »
Well, this thread is about rank inflation, so you just shoulder your way up to the trough.


Actually, the Navy seems to have it right with the Medical Officers; have a different colour between the bars on the epaulettes -- everyone knows what mess they belong to, but they're not confused with the operators. Maybe extend that to the lawyers and padres too....and spread it across the Army and Airforce.


Note that in the USN "line" officers (MARS, MARE) wear a star above their stripes, like our Executive curl, while "staff" officers wear special insignia designating their function.
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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2012, 12:05:36 »
WRT the "rank is immaterial" comment, I should qualify it in terms of the advice given to the generalist crowd.  I'm not going to take the advice of a LCol Legad any differently than if it was coming from a Maj Legad.  Does the JAG's advice suddenly get better now that he has a second leaf?  Is he any more empowered to direct the Legal Branch?  Hence my comments that the reasons for the promotion amounted to fluff.

The Germans had a system of ranks for their specialists (lawyers, medical personnel) known as Beamter.  It was still hierarchical, but denoted the fact that they were specialists and not generalists.  I don't think I agree with Edward's proposal that we need such a specialized system, I just question this story as part of the general inflation of rank that is going on when we don't have enough Privates to fill companies and squadrons.

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Offline FJAG

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 14:21:29 »
Wow. I just don't know where to start here.

I've known Blaise Cathcart since 1990 when he joined the branch and I can honestly say that he's a top notch guy who well deserves recognition for the excellent job he's done in the branch and the leadership he is providing there now.

While I think that his promotion is well deserved, I too am one of the ones who questions the need for stepping up the JAG's rank from Brigadier to Major General.

I know the primary argument is that everyone else who sits on Armed Forces Counsel is a two star or more so he should be too. Similarly our allies' JAGs are generally two stars plus. Two stars definitely do carry more weight at the table than one. Further, the branch has greatly expanded over the last two decades both in numbers and the responsibility it has as the CF has become more legal-centric in all its decision making processes. On the other hand I've always found that if you are a good legal officer you have no problems persuading or influencing higher ranked CoC guys and further that the branch is already rank heavy (effectively you start at captain and the journeyman working rank is major.

We've recently had a similar "step-up" in rank as the branch made the Director of Defence Counsel Services a full colonel rather than a light colonel. This puts the DDCS on a rank par with the Director of Military Prosecutions notwithstanding that DMP runs a significantly larger and more complex shop than DDCS. I didn't think that DDCS's "step-up" was necessary either, particularly because the DDCS is never involved with the chain of command and doesn't have to deal with the optics of "credibility by virtue of rank" that does impact on specialist advisors to the CoC from time to time. I'm not sure of the numbers these days but I doubt if the whole DCS shop, including reservists and civilians, has more than 25 people.

There are currently eight Deputy Judge Advocates General or equivalent in the branch including DMP, DDCS and DJAG/Reserves. This is the Colonel level. The last time the JAG was a MGen (MGen Pitzul - strangely enough he was also promoted to that rank when the CDS was an air force officer (but in fairness to the current CDS, the current JAG's promotion was approved on the same day the new CDS took over so the promotion must have been staffed by the former CDS)) there were jokes about moving everyone up one rank but those were just that - jokes. No one was actually promoted and I doubt anyone will be now although I would think eventually an argument might be floated to move the DJAG/COS up to a BGen rank. After Pitzul, the next JAG was again at the BGen rank.

I should point out that the JAG is in a bit of a special category from most CF personnel as only the CDS and the JAG are appointed by the government.

All in all I have to count myself amongst those who feel that, when we're losing billions from the budget and we're cutting back on many essential trades and skills at the lower rank levels, we don't need more or higher ranked generals or even a DDCS at the Colonel rank. What we need is a lot less folks and at lower ranks within NDHQ and more folks in the line units.

 :2c:

« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 23:50:13 by FJAG »
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2012, 14:54:00 »
 :goodpost:
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline MCG

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Re: CF's Top Legal Beagle Gets One More Maple Leaf
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2012, 17:18:28 »
Introducing new rank badges and/or a whole new rank system for specialist officer occupations would be a wasteful exercise in window dressings.  The doctors, lawyers, padres, etc do not need a buttons & bows solution to some unique problem in their systems; the problem is not unique within any part of our military.  The Army and Canadian Forces require a solution to the rank inflation problem that seems to affect all staff organizations and all occupations within staffs.