Strategic Plan 2023

Aerial view of the campus


The Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) has a proud history of delivering exemplary Officers to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), a tradition that we are determined to carry on. In recent years, resource constraints have made it more difficult to produce such officers. In 2017, a Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV), an audit report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and a Board of Inquiry (BOI) report identified a number of concerns, but also identified areas of opportunity and provided us with a clear path forward.

A Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Initiating DirectiveFootnote 1 issued in April 2017 directed implementation of all the SSAV recommendations; that work is in progress and remains a top priority. We are also responding to the concerns raised in the OAG and BOI reports as a top priority.

We have chosen the strategic planning process, with its emphasis on assessing a current state, defining a desired future state, identifying the gaps between the states and then addressing those gaps with action planning as the ideal tool for this purpose.

We began strategic planning with a retreat in June 2018 to gather our people in a venue that provided the necessary time to think about and discuss the issues RMC is facing. Participants prepared for the retreat by reviewing previous strategic planning reports, the SSAV and OAG reports, the CDS Initiating Directive and our progress on implementing the SSAV recommendations. Subsequently, we received the BOI report and incorporated it into our considerations. This strategic plan builds on our on-going response to the SSAV, OAG and BOI reports and describes how we will live up to the tradition that sets RMC apart from others.

The Strategy Map 2023

We have chosen a strategy map as the mechanism best able to articulate our strategic plan. As presented by Scholey and SchobelFootnote 2, the strategy map illustrates an organization’s desired future state and highlights the cause-effect relations between elements of the strategy map that drive decisions about strategy – about actions and priorities. It further supports the development of performance measures for presentation in a balanced scorecard. Our strategy map presents our mission, the strategic outcomes that deliver the mission, the businesses that deliver the outcomes, the internal enablers that support the businesses, and the resources we manage to support our programmatic activities.

Treasury BoardFootnote 3 defines an outcome as the changes or differences that result from program output(s). We have chosen to state our strategic outcomes to help us ensure that our programmatic activities are contributing to our mission.

The following sections explain each element of our strategy map.

Strategic Outcomes

Officers prepared to excel

Generate bilingual and fit officers prepared to lead with distinction.

Officership 2020Footnote 4 provided a vision of the CAF Officer Corps as follows:

“Exemplary leaders serving Canada and devoted to the profession of arms.

Leading by example, fully accountable, they are dedicated to their subordinates and inspire loyalty and mutual trust. They possess the spirit and expertise to succeed in a wide range of operations. These officers of high intellectual ability operate effectively in a technological and information-rich environment. With an understanding of national policies, military doctrine and their application to diverse national and international circumstances, they will boldly accept the risk and ambiguity inherent in the demands of their profession. They embrace the military ethos, understand and apply the appropriate levels of force, and draw strength from the values and aspirations of the pluralistic nation they serve. They welcome challenge and serve with courage and integrity.”

In his Initiating Directive, the CDS assigned a vision to the Canadian Military Colleges (CMCs)Footnote 5:

“The Canadian Military Colleges offer the most complete and effective programs to attract, educate, develop and prepare junior officers for commissioned service and to lead future development in the CAF. The naval/officer cadets are enabled to excel by being immersed in an environment that values excellence in academics, physical fitness, second language ability and leadership. The CMC environment cultivates self-discipline, self-motivation and mutual respect, and the College motto Truth, Duty, Valour guides staff and students in everything they do.”

The CMC Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) is our programmatic response to these visionary requirements, and it is our core activity. We view this program as our vital ground.

Recognition as a Unique and Inclusive Military University

A Bilingual World-Class Military University

The official languages of Canada are French and English and our Constitution affords each equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada.Footnote 6 As a federal institution, RMC will meet and exceed official language requirements.

World-class means being recognized globally, especially with our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. We will focus our efforts on developing the finest officers for the CAF.

As a military university, we develop our N/OCdts in four pillars: Academics, Military, Physical Fitness and Bilingualism. The synergy between the pillars provides our competitive advantage: a unique opportunity to establish constructive group norms at a period in the N/OCdts’ lives when they are particularly amenable to this guidance. These group norms inculcate the tenets of Officership 2020 and Duty with HonourFootnote 7 and provide N/OCdts with an extended period – their undergraduate years – to learn, practice and live officership the right way.

A Leader in Defence Research

Research lies at the heart of a university: pursuing, generating and transferring knowledge; inspiring and motivating faculty and students; and responding to the needs of the CAF and the Defence community.

RMC has unique research facilities such as a nuclear reactor, wind tunnels, an anechoic chamber, an observatory and a cyber-lab, to name a few.  Our professors conduct research and provide expert advice to support the needs of the CAF in many areas such as defence policy, cyber, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN), nuclear, Electronic Warfare (EW), space, ammunition, the environment, aerospace, critical infrastructure, political science, business and economics, English and French language, literature and culture, military studies as well as military history. 

We celebrate our research capabilities.

A Positive Student-Centric Learning Environment for the Production of Leaders

N/OCdts are immersed in the military culture and ethos at RMC concurrent with leaving home and attending university so the pressure on them is intense. While we will enforce standards, we will pay close attention to the wellness of our N/OCdts, intervening when warranted. We will provide positive examples and role models and we will provide all of the resources necessary to help N/OCdts be successful, and to ensure that their experience at RMC is positive.

Support to the Defence Program

Educate Members of the Defence Community

RMC will deliver graduates who meet the RMC Degree Level Expectations as outlined in Appendix 3 of the RMC Institutional Quality Assurance Process Manual.Footnote 8 These degree level expectations are designed to meet the requirements of Officership 2020 and Duty With Honour and they are reviewed regularly to ensure that they continue to do so.

In addition to ROTP and other graduate and undergraduate programs, RMC delivers specialty education such as the Non-commissioned Member Executive Professional Development Program (NEPDP), Army Technical Warrant Officer (ATWO) program, and the Army Technical Staff Officer (ATSO) program.  We also deliver many specialty short courses and capabilities, which includes a broad spectrum of technical education and support to technical investigations/research of operational significance to the CAF.  Some of our research is sensitive or classified and is often conducted at RMC in direct support of operations.  Proudly, we also deliver the Indigenous Leadership Opportunity Year.

We will be the ‘University of Choice’ for all members of the defence community who seek personal and professional development via distance learning.

Provide Advice and Expertise

Because RMC has a world-renowned faculty conducting research in their specialized fields, our academic programs will remain modern and current. We will hold a reputation as a reliable source of advice, expertise and insight in those fields that matter to us and to our stakeholders.

Contribute to and Uphold the Profession of Arms

Duty With Honour defines the profession of arms for the Canadian Armed Forces and is the end state for the implementation of Officership 2020. RMC contributes to this effort and is a standard-bearer for its success both in the delivery of graduates ready for commissioning and in the development and delivery of the advanced education that is necessary to develop officers through all five Development Period levelsFootnote 9.

Our Business

Deliver on the Four Pillar Program

The ROTP encapsulates four pillars: Academics, Military, Physical Fitness and Bilingualism.

These pillars are embedded in the RMC tradition as shown in Table 1.

An Act to establish a Military College in one of the Garrison Towns of CanadaFootnote 10

“…a complete education in all branches of military tactics, fortification, engineering and general scientific knowledge in subjects connected with and necessary to a thorough knowledge of the military profession, and for qualifying officers for command and for staff appointments…”

Table 1 - Derivation of the Four Pillars
The Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Military CollegesFootnote 11 The Four Pillars
“…providing a university education in both official languages in appropriate disciplines designed on a broad base to meet the unique needs of the Canadian Forces…” Academics – an undergraduate university degree with a curriculum tailored to the requirements of the CAF.
“…developing qualities of leadership; stimulating an awareness of the ethic of the military profession…” Military – professional development in leadership and the military ethos
“…developing a high standard of personal physical fitness…” Physical Fitness –  fitness programs that deliver a high level of personal fitness complemented by varsity and intramural sports
“…developing the ability to communicate in both official languages and to understand the principles of biculturalism…” Bilingualism – achieving the BBB standard in both official languages

As the CDS has observed:

“This College is an important national institution. It’s the only university with a mandate to prepare officers for service in the Canadian Armed Forces. We can’t take it – or you – for granted…

Ultimately it is the CAF expectations that are primary drivers of what RMC needs to be… Our soldiers, sailors, aviators and special forces operators deserve nothing less than the best leadership that we can give.  The success of the Canadian Armed Forces on operations depends on them being well led…

ROTP [at] RMC provides the greatest certainty of success as a junior officer… It is a vitally important program [that is] intended to be challenging, both physically and mentally… This institution must put emphasis everyday on self-discipline, self-motivation and adherence to a value system that absolutely must be in place for those that are occupied with warfare and the management of violence.” Footnote 12

We will deliver the four pillar program to meet CDS and CAF expectations.

Deliver High Quality Education in Both Languages

Realizing the vision for the CAF Officer Corps given in Officership 2020 and the CDS vision for the CMCs requires N/OCdts to undertake the intellectual development necessary to become skilled in their military specialties and in critical thinking. These skills prepare Officers to be professional in the way that they approach ambiguous and complex situations. At the undergraduate residential level, RMC will deliver a core curriculum that is directly connected to the profession of arms. This core curriculum will be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is delivering to expectations.

ROTP undergraduates will meet the intermediate level of second language proficiency and will be offered paths to higher levels of proficiency. We will promote full bilingualism to ensure that all undergraduate residential courses are available in both official languages.

Ensure Effective Communication and Engagement

We face three issues here: the complexity of our operations demands that different elements of the College be aware of how and why they fit together to further our purpose; we have many stakeholders who may not be as well informed as we would like; and the national, regional and local media are continuously interested in news of RMC.

To address these issues, our communication will: be broad in its reach, respect people’s time, create executive awareness of college operations and the external environment, generate a common purpose and understanding among staff and cadets, and inform external perceptions and expectations of us.

Establish and Maintain High Standards

We will continue to embrace excellence in everything we do. We will better define our expectations of our cadets, faculty and staff, and we will strive to deliver on them.

We expect that these high standards will energize and motivate our people.

Engage in Research

As a university with a difference, RMC will respond to research challenges faced by the CAF and DND as well as by Canadian society. Our research relationships will allow recruitment and retention of the world-class Faculty interested in defence-related research.

While our emphasis is on defence research we acknowledge that, “You cannot limit a keen intellect, or try to fetter its activity… [You] cannot put the untiring brain into cold storage, or prevent the thinker from thinking.”Footnote 13 To that end, respecting academic freedom, we fully support and encourage all inquiry-based research by our Faculty.

Research, knowledge, creative works and publications from professors and researchers at RMC are recognized nationally and internationally as being of the highest quality and value.

Foster a Positive Environment

We make the hard work necessary to live up to our high expectations and standards easier when we provide a positive and enjoyable RMC experience. Our positive environment is built on clarity and unity of purpose and we create a harmonious atmosphere by behaving with integrity and by treating people with respect.

Internal Enablers

Embrace our Institutional Culture and Values While Respecting Diversity

The CAF leadership model given in Leadership DoctrineFootnote 14 is one of transformational leadership, i.e. one of influence rather than authority. RMC represents a blend of the military way of life and the university environment, and it embraces diverse cultures within its population. We are well situated to lead in creating a common culture.

Embracing our values and leveraging diversity enables us to contribute to the development of the CAF culture that reinforces and promotes transformational leadership.

Qualified and Experienced Personnel

RMC needs the right people with the right skills and attributes at the right time. Our people must be properly prepared and supported to operate the businesses that will deliver our strategic outcomes.

We will recruit and retain people, military and civilian, by establishing RMC as an employer of choice for those who wish to participate in developing the future leaders of the CAF.

Clear and Effective Governance

RMC will work with its governing bodies to uphold the bicameral governance that is necessary to operate a military university.

Encourage Innovation in People, Processes and Technology

We will develop and validate new methods in teaching, education, training, administration and research on behalf of our internal and external stakeholders.

By valuing and appreciating our employees and their ideas for improvement, evolution, and innovation in the College’s pathways and processes, we will create an environment wherein people are encouraged to use their initiative and to thrive in originality.

Adopt Appropriate Policies and Processes

We will drive our programmatic activities in pursuit of our Mission and we will support these activities by adopting policies and processes that facilitate their completion.

Resource Management

Invest in our People

In our quest to have sufficiently qualified and suitably experienced personnel, we will not ignore the resources immediately available to us – our people.

We will identify the resources we need to better develop our people and then acquire those resources.

Responsible Stewardship

We will deploy our resources effectively, and we will work on our internal processes on a continuous basis to make those deployed resources more efficient.

Appropriate and Sustainable Support

We need the ability to respond to variations in provided support, as we must maintain essential infrastructure in IT, administrative services, facilities and grounds to ensure a leading-edge working and study environment.

We will engage with the organizations who support us to define and acquire appropriate and sustainable support in service to our Mission.

Stable Funding

RMC needs stable funding or the agility to respond to variations in funding. We will engage with those who fund us to stabilize the funding we need at a level that is appropriate for our assigned mission.

Increase Throughput

We will examine our operations and find ways to increase student throughput without degrading our programs in order to optimize our cost-per-student and to encourage revenue generation for reinvestment in programs.

The Campaign Plan

The following campaign plan presents the actions we are initiating in the short-to-medium term. The plan incorporates a four academic year time horizon and is updated annually.

These actions address the priority gaps identified between our present and future states.

Reading the chart:

  • Our mission, its supporting strategic outcomes, and their supporting businesses are shown on the right-hand side.
  • The left-hand side displays the lines of effort associated with each business and the four academic year time horizon.
  • The circles indicate forecast completions for priority actions. The boxes at the base of the chart explain the circles.
  • The lines of effort feed through our businesses to our strategic outcomes and thence to our mission. We have not included connectors from the businesses to the strategic outcomes as each business can support several strategic outcomes.

Each of these actions has been assigned to an OPI and work has begun.

Campaign plan to realize our strategic outcomes

Text version of the campaign plan:

Our Business:

  1. Deliver on the four-pillar program
    1. 2018-2019 Review the professional development program
    2. 2018-2019 Review the 4-pillar program
    3. 2019-2020 Respond to the OAG report
    4. 2019-2020 Renewal of Performance Physical Testing
    5. 2019-2020 Implement SSAV recommendations within our control
  2. Deliver high quality education in both languages
    1. 2019 How to grow our delivery modes (business case)
    2. 2019-2020 Review the core curriculum
    3. 2019-2020 Lead in Cyber: curriculum, programs, research
    4. 2019-2020 Highlight education areas connected to SSE
    5. 2020 Redesign MPA program
  3. Establish and maintain high standards
    1. 2018-2019 Establish a coherent strategy for SLT.
    2. 2020 Use Defence Analytics to measure progress and provide feedback
    3. 2021-2022 ITSM implementation
  4. Foster a positive environment
    1. 2018-2019 Engage with Friends of Point Frederick
    2. 2019 Optimize Comptroller function
    3. 2019-2020 Re-start the red tape program
    4. 2020 Grow the Success Centre
    5. 2021 Optimize support services
    6. 2022 Nurture and grow the museum
  5. Ensure effective communication and engagement
    1. 2019-2020 Establish a strategic communications plan
    2. 2019-2020 Use social media
  6. Engage in research
    1. 2019 Prepare a strategic research plan

Strategic Outcomes

  • Generate bilingual and fit officers prepared to lead with distinction
  • A bilingual world-class military university
  • Educate members of the defence community
  • A positive student centric learning environment for the production of leaders
  • Contribute to and uphold the profession of arms
  • A leader in defence research
  • Provide advice and expertise


As a military university, the Royal Military College of Canada educates, develops, and inspires bilingual, fit, and ethical leaders who serve the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada.



It is important to acknowledge the land on which the Royal Military College of Canada is situated and the significance of it.  RMC is built on a beautiful peninsula, the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples.  Well before RMC was founded in 1876, these traditional lands were already home to community and trade, a vibrant place of teaching and learning.  There are still many lessons to learn about this larger part of the peninsula’s tradition, which includes the College.  Knowledge and teaching in all traditions and in all forms are essential to real education. 

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