New Army Reserve enrollment process streamlined

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The CAF is testing a streamlined approach to recruiting for its Army Primary Reserve Force, with an eye to eliminating delays while maintaining the high standards expected of recruits.

With this “expedited Reserve enrollment trial” process, recruits will be enrolled after successfully completing standard aptitude tests and an initial medical and security screening. More in-depth medical and security screening will occur while candidates undergo their basic training, which will include drill, deportment, and military history. If successful, the trial process will allow new recruits to be enrolled and in uniform in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Leroux, of the Canadian Army’s (CA’s) personnel branch, said applicants previously waited more than 100 days on average for their applications to be completed.

The trial, he noted, does not eliminate any steps, but rather changes the sequence to give applicants an earlier foot in the door.

“We want to retain applicants who may be thinking about applying elsewhere if their applications are not done quickly, and to make sure that we have more recruits coming in to fulfill our strategic intake plan as much as possible,” LCol Leroux explained. “This expedited approach will help us do that and get more people in quickly.”

There are still very high standards that must be maintained, he added.

Basic entry qualifications, such as the entry level physical fitness evaluation, will not change during the trial, and candidates will still be subject to screening conducted by recruiters trained to recognize unsuitable characteristics.

“During the attraction phase, as a first filter, Reserve unit recruiters—who are usually at the rank of sergeant—ask questions and make sure the applicant fits our needs and requirements,” said LCol Leroux. “As the applicants go through the process, they will be formally interviewed by recruiting officers to ensure our quality standards are met.”

This expedited process is being trialed in Atlantic Canada by units within the CA’s 5th Canadian Division through to fall 2017.

Improving the recruiting process is just one of several initiatives in an ongoing effort to strengthen the Primary Reserve, which is a vital partner to the Army’s Regular Force. Reserve units provide as much as 20 percent of personnel in overseas operations, and their presence in communities all across the country often ensures the quickest response to domestic emergencies such as natural disasters.

“Recruiting is just one aspect of strengthening the Reserve,” said LCol Leroux. “There is equipment and all kinds of other resources that will come into play, but the most important and difficult to acquire is people. These initiatives are to ensure we maintain what we call our manning level, our strength in personnel, and to eventually grow and expand.”

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