• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

CAF improves promotion selection process, beginning with General and Flag Officers


Sr. Member
Reaction score

Over the next years, the CAF will introduce an evidence-based framework for character-based leader assessments to provide a broader lens in support of selection and promotion processes.

As a first step, candidates on the General Officer and Flag Officer (GOFO) selection boards completed three online psychometric assessments. The first assessment was a non-verbal measure of general cognitive ability/reasoning (a core component of character), geared to the senior leader level. The second assessment was a personality inventory that measured various aspects of personality commonly associated with success in organizations. Finally, candidates completed an assessment of leadership skills that is commonly used in executive selection processes. The results of these assessments contributed the member’s overall score.

Candidates who are recommended to the Minister of National Defence for promotion to or within the GOFO Cadre will also be subject to a post-selection confirmation step using what is known as a “360 degree” assessment tool. This is a process that collects feedback from multiple evaluators regarding an individual’s leadership effectiveness. In order to obtain a holistic perspective of the candidate’s leadership behaviours and effectiveness, raters are chosen for the candidate from a diverse group as possible.

“General and Flag Officers share the responsibility for the stewardship of our institution, and for the profession of arms as a whole,” said Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff and chairperson of this year’s GOFO selection board. “Our evolving assessment framework is a step forward in enhancing the CAF’s overall efforts toward positive culture change.”

Across all selection boards this year, additional efforts were made to reduce bias and foster diverse perspectives. Key amongst the initiatives were a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) review of scoring criteria and the inclusion of at least one voting member from a designated group such as a woman, visible minority or Indigenous member of the Defence Team.

“Increasing diversity and representation in leadership positions is critical to the success of our mandate and to the well-being of our people. Culture change starts with leaders and creating a diverse selection board for GOFOs is a commendable first step towards ensuring all candidates are given equal and fair opportunities. The incorporation of a senior DND civilian voting member was important to expand the perspective brought to GOFO candidate files,” said Mme Isabelle Desmartis, Assistant Deputy Minister Human Resources (Civilian), and board member for the 2021 GOFO selection boards.

Research and consultation are underway to develop an evidence-based framework for character-based assessments that can be expanded to other leadership ranks in the coming years. The intent is to expand the framework to Major/Lieutenant-Commander and Sergeant/Petty Officer 2nd Class and above levels.

The introduction of these changes to the promotion and selection process will accompany the forthcoming implementation of the CAF’s new electronic-based appraisal system – Performance and Competency Evaluation (PaCE) – with an overall end state of selecting inclusive leaders who embody the CAF’s professional values and ethos.

I'd say it is 'certainly misleading' but "messaging" seems to be the important part in all this.
I think this would be a lot more useful if done to select Commanding Officers... that would obviously take more resources as there would be more people to do, but it would sort the wheat from the chaff* earlier, and from what I've seen it's when someone is in a CO position that you really see their true character revealed.

*assuming the method is effective in doing what it's intended to do.
Fortunately psychopaths aren't good at manipulating people or standardized testing....

My $0.02 all this standardized testing is a waste of time if we still incentivize straight up results without holding people accountable for their decisions. You can achieve short term success by driving your people into the ground but if half of them quit your overall impact is pretty bad. 360 assessments help, but you really need to do to use it as a learning tool at the juniour officer level to develop good leadership skills early. If someone with bad 360 results finds out as a GOFO candidate it's too late, and they can still do lots of damage with no further promotion, and plenty of complete lunatics have already been unit COs at the three ringer range.

It usually happens informally with good NCOs, but YMMV. But much easier to make mistakes and learn from them as a 2Lt/SLt, and if you do it properly should be able to give honest feedback for people to learn without killing their career. And frankly I think the ability to improve and grow from valid criticism is a critical skill set that we should encourage.

But I guess this will be a good out to keep blaming 'mid level leadership' for failing.
Evidence based is the new synergy. It used to mean something but now it is just something that gets thrown out to sound sciencey and modern. How do you have an "evidence based framework" for subjective character traits?