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September 2014: A Kiwi Naval Reservist in Canada

At the end of July this year I had the opportunity to travel from Wellington to Toronto, Ontario in the North East of Canada to complete the first phase of the Joint Command and Staff Programme (JCSP) run by the Canadian Forces College. Each year two to three NZ Reservists are selected to attend the JCSP as part of the Distance Learning (DL) programme.

For the 2013-14 Academic year, Major Grant Arrowsmith (Auckland) and I were the NZ candidates.  There were six other ‘Internationals’ on the course (two from Australia, one from Germany and three from the USA). For the DL portion of the course we were required to complete set readings, write discussion posts and submit a number of essays on topics including Leadership, Command, Component Capabilities, and Domestic Operations. Much of the course work was based on the Canadian way of doing things. However, my course mates commented on how great it was to have a different ‘down under’ perspective on things.

Image Right: LTCDR Hoeksma (left) with ANZAC Staff Course Members at the clock tower, Canadian Forces College Toronto.

During the contact phase (14 days at the College), we attended lectures and engaged in a tutorial designed to introduce us to the Canadian Forces Operational Planning Process (CF OPP), which we know  as the  Joint Military Appreciation Process (JMAP). The opportunity to meet my fellow course mates and work with them face to face was excellent, and a great deal of valuable networking took place with members of the Canadian Military forces (Navy, Army, Air force and Special Forces), Australian and US Military personnel at the LTCDR/CDR level.

During the course we had a battlefield tour of the 1812-15 Anglo-American War, visiting battlefields such as Lundy’s Lane and Chippawa, Fort Erie and the Niagara Falls. At Fort Erie, the International students had the opportunity to demonstrate the firing of a musket, to the slight embarrassment of the US students whose muskets promptly misfired several times!

The whole DL1 experience has been a busy yet thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Now back at our Home Units, we have started DL2 and are again busy juggling family, civilian work, Naval Reserve duties at HMNZS OLPHERT and study in order to be qualified with a Staff Qualification.

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