View Full Version : Canada pulls ahead...

Ken White
01-02-2010, 03:53 AM
Milnewsca and The Torch, Canadian blogs, are reporting that the Canadian Department of National Defence has issued a request for bids on a contract to develop an assessment of the mental / emotional readiness of Soldiers to deploy Here's the story: (LINK) (http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-mentally-ready-are-canadian.html)and here's the fromal RFP: (LINK) (http://milnewsca.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/merx-npp-bps-model-31dec09.pdf).

As one who has for over 30 years believed a need for such an assessment exists and that the benefits would far outweigh the costs, I think they're ahead of us. Again...

01-02-2010, 12:55 PM
Hi Ken,

DOD issued a similar one last summer which was supposed to start this month. To the best of my knowledge, however, they have been sitting on the project twiddling their thumbs saying that they don't have to think about it until June, 2010 or so.

The DRDC RFP is just one of a number of similar initiatives the CF has been putting in place over the past few years (I think, although i could easily be wrong, that this is the 3rd or 4th related RFP). While the initiative is laudable, I am a touch concerned that it may assume a one-size-fits-all bio-psycho-social model. I don't know if that is the case, but I am concerned that it might be and, if it is, then it is a waste of money IMHO.



Ken White
01-02-2010, 02:56 PM
of DND AND US DoD contracting... :wry:

...While the initiative is laudable, I am a touch concerned that it may assume a one-size-fits-all bio-psycho-social model. I don't know if that is the case, but I am concerned that it might be and, if it is, then it is a waste of money IMHO.and agree that if your concern is realized, it will be not only a waste of money but will add that it might also do more harm than good...

I do believe the principle, as stated, is sound and can provide a combination of more effective forces and considerably fewer psychological injuries to those forces if committed.

Here's hoping they do it right. Then we can study the results, state we do not need to do that; that is is inapplicable to the much larger US force; or that we cannot afford it -- until it becomes the idea of a US senior leader and then we'll do it. Regrettably, we'll initially screw it up as you fear but eventually, we'll perhaps, hopefully get it right... :D

01-29-2010, 01:07 PM
First, belated thanks, Ken, for the original post - I've been HUGELY delinquent here, and the sharing with the keeners here is very much appreciated.

There's a bit more via MSM (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2496800) as of today - some highlights:

The ultimate goal is a checklist of requirements for commanders to consider, possibly including the stability of a soldier's personal family life and his or her "cognitive readiness" to cope with the rigours of, for instance, combat or peacekeeping, said Fred Buick, the project's team leader.

"We're really looking at the person in the most whole-human way that we can.... A person's social situation, their psychological makeup, these things all figure in some way in a person's total health," the DRDC scientist said.

The bio-psycho-social program seems like a good idea, but the military has tried in the past to vet its soldiers for non-physical attributes although perhaps in a less-scientific way, said Doug Bland, chairman of defence management studies at Queen's University and a retired lieutenant-colonel in the army.

Officers were expected to evaluate whether individual troops had their private lives and psyches in good order before they could be deployed, Prof. Bland said.

"You knew all your soldiers and you stood them up and said, ‘Bloggins is OK, but his mate is a nutcase and he's not going anywhere,' " he said. "The Canadian army, well back in its history, has always had some system for assessing individuals for overseas duties, and being very careful about their personal situations, whether they were getting divorced or whatever."

The system seemed to break down around the time the Canadian Airborne Regiment was dispatched to Somalia and became immersed in a scandal over abuse of prisoners, Prof. Bland said. The regiment had, to some extent, become a repository for troublemakers in the army. The Royal Commission that looked into the torture affair concluded that the assessment and preparation of Airborne members was poorly done, he said.

01-29-2010, 01:22 PM
One of the things that both amuses and frustrates me about this type of project is that we already have several examples of such bio-psycho-social technologies (in the Ellulian sense of the word). I can think of three off the top of my head that all have a good track record, but none of them will ever be adopted since they are all based in religions :cool:.

What we will probably see coming out, and this is a purely projective guess, is some type of watered down "system" that has the technical (hardware) side down fairly well, but falls down flat on both the wetware and software sides.

02-14-2010, 11:26 PM
Haven't had a chance to look this over yet, but given the interest, here's what appears to be the first crack at reviewing the literature, and setting up goals for the next phases of research:
(1.26 MB 120 pg PDF)

Ken White
02-15-2010, 03:18 AM
Seems to make sense in most respects -- at least they acknowledge they're feeling their way into uncharted territory. I think it will be beneficial...

Thanks for posting it.

04-01-2010, 03:29 PM
You've seen the "how ready are they to head downrange?" research mentioned above. Now, the CF and its research arm want to see how returning troops are doing after they come home from Afghanistan - this, from MERX (http://is.gd/b9OcW):

.... The Department of National Defence, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Toronto, Ontario has a requirement for the conducting of interviews, in both English and French, on post-deployment reintegration experiences of Canadian Forces (CF) members, transcribe the recorded interview material, translate any French interview transcriptions into English, and write brief one to two page summaries of the major themes emerging from each of the interviews. The work for the first set of interviews, transcriptions, translations and summaries (first post-deployment cycle) is expected to commence in May 2010 while the work for the second and third set of interviews, transcriptions, translations and summaries (second and third post-deployment cycles) will commence approximately October/November 2010 and April/May 2011, respectively …. The funding for this project is limited to: $45,000.00 CAD (all applicable taxes excluded) for the firm requirement, and $45,000.00 CAD (all applicable taxes excluded) for the optional requirement….
An interesting tidbit from the bid document*: the drafter of the docs says, "Past research** suggests it can take several months for military personnel to readjust after returning from deployment, with four months being mentioned as the typical readjustment period following a fairly stable deployment such as Bosnia," adding this latest research aims to compare the post-Afghanistan experience to that.

If you’re interested in other research along these lines, check out the DRDC’s Centre for Operational Research and Analysis’s Technical Memorandum “Effects of Personnel Tempo on Military Members, their Families, and the Organization: An Annotated Bibliography” published in November 2008 here (http://pubs.drdc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc81/p531068.pdf) (PDF).
* - Full bid document available by e-mailing me (tony@milnews.ca). The Statement of Work from the bid documents is available here (http://milnewsca.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/merx-return-interviews/).
** - Thompson, M.M. & Gignac, M.A.M. (2002). The experience of Canadian Forces augmentees. In P. Essens, A. Vogelaar, E. Tanercan, & D. Winslow, Eds.), The Human in Command: Peace Support Operations (pp. 235-263). Amsterdam: Mets & Schilt/KMA.[/size]