Written By: 2Lt Ovens 5 CDSB GAGETOWN - The theme of the capstone training activity for Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (CFSME) this year was “Strong Secure Engaged”, Canada’s new defence policy and the implications it will have on the military and the engineering branch specifically in the coming years. Approximately 200 people attended Exercise UBIQUE 2018 from February 14-15 at 5 CDSB Gagetown. Intended as a training venue for CEOC 1.2 (Construction Engineering Officer Course), BEOC 1.2 (Basic Engineering Officer Course), CE Superintendent Course, and Combat Engineer Troop WO Course, the exercise provided a forum for discussions on current challenges and issues of the Canadian Military Engineers (CME). A number of command teams from different units across Canada visited to offer insight on these challenges and offer advice to the next generation of leaders in the CME.
DAY 1: SSE
To start the first day of presentations, the Commandant of CFSME, LCol Honig, introduced guest speakers, and outlined the significance of Ex UBIQUE. The three mains points of importance for the exercise she identified were: the Officer and NCO relationship, the opportunity to interact with senior and high-ranking CME members, the discussion of current topics such as SSE (Strong, Secure, Engaged). The Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Military Engineers Branch, BGen Steve Irwin (Ret’d), was the first to speak to the newly graduating classes and brought forward discussion about values-based leadership in the CME. He emphasized the importance of our Canadian values in making great leaders in the CAF. He offered advice to the graduating students to motivate them to face all challenges and give their maximum effort through their careers, to proudly represent the Canadian Military Engineers. BGen Irwin (Ret’d) also spoke briefly about the history of some members of the CME and emphasized the importance of learning the history of the branch. Major-General Sirois (Chief Military Engineer) spoke about the unity of RCAF and CA engineers. Regardless of the colour of the uniform, engineers are working together towards common goals at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. An example was given that in operational deployments, RCAF and CA engineers are expected to assume the role of the engineer regardless of colour of uniform. BGen Horgan, Chief of Staff VCDS, discussed the people aspect of SSE. He brought up the expectations of our future leadership in order to achieve the new missions of the defence policy. The CAF and CME are striving to make a more diversified working group that is more representative of today’s Canadian population.
DAY 2: Development Breakout
Sessions - On the second day of Ex UBIQUE, a few more guests spoke before breaking off into individual group discussions in the afternoon. The main point of discussion on Day two was the officer and NCO relationship. Col Basinger, Director Royal Canadian Engineers, and CWO Thompson made a great example of this by providing a presentation to the graduating classes about these command team relationships and how a good working team dynamic is of high importance for successfully leading today’s operations. In the afternoon, each graduating class broke off into individual groups for further discussion and better opportunity to interact with senior leadership before the end of the exercise.
The mess culture was also present throughout the exercise. After the first day of presentations, there was a meet and greet at the Carleton Barracks Officers’ Mess. During the evening of the second day, there was a mess dinner and social gathering, with fun had by all. Following the two day exercise, the CEOC graduation parade was held with several students being promoted before heading off to their new postings to start their careers as Construction Engineering Officers. CFSME would like to thank all of the guest speakers for taking the time to travel and speak to the graduating classes at CFSME and providing great insight and advice for the future military engineering leaders.