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                                   PRE-AOC COURSE 0702


1.      The aim of the Pre-Army Operations Course (Pre-AOC) is to provide those junior
officers from MTAP sponsored countries with tactical skills and knowledge of combat team
operations. The fourteen-day course prepares students, who have been selected to attend the
Army Operations Course (AOC) at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College
(CLFCSC), with the basic skills necessary to effectively participate in the more advanced


2.     The Pre-AOC is based on the curriculum of the Army Tactics and Operations Course
(ATOC) conducted at the Tactics School, Combat Training Centre Gagetown for all
Canadian Army officers. This course concentrates on the intermediate level of tactical
operations - that is, in the all arms battle group and the interaction of its groupings and sub-

3.      The course is "Tactical" since it focuses on the "disposing of military forces in actual
contact with the enemy" and since it concentrates on the "level of command which directs the
use of military forces in battles and engagements". The study of combined arms tactics
begins at the sub-unit level (combat teams, company and squadron groups) and culminates at
the basic combined arms tactical building block - the battle group. It is not the intent of the
course to produce combat team commanders but to ensure that the student has a basic
understanding of the conduct of tactical operations.


4.      The thorough understanding of combined arms tactics can be related to requirements
for battlefield commanders:

        a.      technical and tactical proficiency;

        b.      operational experience;

        c.      ability to visualise the battle;

        d.      mastery of time and space;

        e.      mastery of the common operational language and culture;

Direction to Student                                                          PRE-AOC
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        f.      ability to control combat systems through subordinates; and

        g.      the ability to use the decision making process efficiently.

5.      These requirements are met:

        a.      by tactical and administrative problem solving (individually and in groups);

        b.      by employment of battle procedure (especially the combat estimate process);

        c.      by the interaction with staff and peers of differing background and experience.

7.     This process of development will be enhanced by the simulation of operations and by
frequent role-playing.

8.      After fourteen training days, the attendee will travel to CLFCSC Kingston, Ontario to
participate in the Distributed Learning Phase of the AOC.


9.      The Pre-AOC meets the above objectives through study of the following topics:

        a.      MOD 1 - Doctrinal Concepts, command theory at the sub-unit level;

        b.      MOD 2 - Battle Procedure, the combat estimate;

        c.      MOD 3 - Offensive operations at the combat team level;

        d.      MOD 4 - Defensive operations at the combat team level;

        e.      MOD 5 - Delay operations at the combat team level;

        f.      MOD 6 - Transitional phases at the combat team level;

        g.      MOD 7 - Army sustainment doctrine;

        h.      MOD 8 - Duties of a staff officer in a CSS CP; and

        i.      MOD 9 – Doctrine, Units and Equipment of Main Contingency Force (MCF)
                and Opposing Force (OPFOR).

10.    Admin Information (ADM). This non-instructional series completes the course
package. It provides specific information on the conduct of the course and provides the
attendee with sufficient background and time to complete problem solving, to conduct

Direction to Student                                                         PRE-AOC
ADM 01
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personal administration, complete after-action reporting and receive direct feedback from


11.     This is a non-graded assessed course. However, a report of the student’s performance
will be forwarded to CLFCSC.


12.     The education process is accomplished, for the most part, as a group learning
experience. Individual preparation is a definite requirement. Each student has individual
strengths and weaknesses stemming from intellect, experience and education. The student's
goal is to identify and improve both these strengths and weaknesses. To fail to improve in
either arena is to fail oneself and one's profession.

13.      Knowledge is received from assigned readings, lectures, demonstrations and
discussions. The urge to forgo certain assignments or to doze through discussions, especially
after a long day in the field or a long night of study, will seem irresistible. It is in the
classroom and in the field that this knowledge is integrated and tested. It is the synthesis of
experience and ideas among members of the syndicate and course that produces the best

14.     Role-playing exercises are specially designed to absorb students in the learning
process. Every role is important since it focuses on specific learning points. The best results
will be achieved when the student is faithful to the role.

15.    Army officers are competitive by nature and this is an assessed course. The ultimate
aim of all combined arms training is to produce a winning team. Individual assessment
should not obstruct cohesion. Each officer is assessed on ability to integrate knowledge
pertinent to classification with course material to demonstrate competence and
understanding. The officer is assessed against a common standard, not against peers.
Cooperation, a cardinal military virtue, is demonstrated by willingness to share development
with peers in the furtherance of the team effort. Cooperation is assessed.

16.     The purpose of the staff is to assist the student. This assistance takes the forms of
instruction, feedback, administrative support and assessment of strengths and weaknesses.


17.     The lecture or LDE in course terminology will provide the student with confirmation
of the knowledge he has gained through the required study assignments. The material
presented is based on the Module in the ATOC courseware and in the stated reference

Direction to Student                                                          PRE-AOC
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18.     The discussion, or "DI" in course terminology, plays an essential role in
understanding and confirming issues of complexity. It is here that the integration of
knowledge from a variety of sources occurs. Officers are expected to articulate informed
opinions on subjects. By presenting an informed opinion and by commenting on the opinion
of others, officers develop subject understanding, the ability to think logically and the ability
to communicate clearly.


19.     The purpose of the DI, then, is fourfold:

        a.      to acquire additional understanding;

        b.      to develop critical analysis;

        c.      to develop approaches to problem-solving; and

        d.      to develop personal communicative techniques.


20. The process of the DI is of more value than the stated aim of the specific period. The
arrival at a solution to a problem is not as important as the learning that occurs in getting
there. Exercises exist to produce solutions to problems. DIs exist to ensure that the group
derives as much quality learning as possible in the time allotted. The stated questions or
problems are merely a start point for intelligent discussion.


21. Unless stated otherwise by the DS or in supporting papers, preparatory work for DIs is
to be an individual effort. The participant studies the readings and notes responses to

22.     The participant should also note any point requiring clarification that arises during
the reading. These points should be discussed during the DI.

23.     Normally, one student is selected to present an answer to a question while another is
selected to critique/comment on that response. The chairman of the discussion will solicit
additional comments from the remainder of the syndicate.

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24.     The following guidelines ensure that the maximum is gained from the discussion:

        a.      correct terminology is employed (ensures all parties are discussing the same

        b.      exchanges are kept professional (despite the intensity with which opinion is

        c.      easy consensus is avoided (group-think holds that getting all to agree is more
                important than getting it right - consensus is not necessary, especially on
                Friday afternoons); and

        d.      everyone communicates (through talk, use of diagrams, questioning, frequent

25.    Discussions will often include the use of film clips to explain and emphasize tactical
procedures and techniques.



26.   Tactics must ultimately be studied on the ground. A number of Tactical Exercises
Without Troops will be conducted on the course.


27.    The purpose of the TEWTs is to apply theory to ground. This application is used to
confirm student understanding of sub-unit and unit tactics and administration, and to confirm
a student’s ability to use and present the estimate as a critical part of the tactical decision-
making process.


28.     Unless stated otherwise by the DS or in supporting papers, preparatory work for
TEWTs is to be an individual effort. Where sub-syndicates are required, the DS will detail
specific appointments.

29.    Normally, the first student selected will christen the ground, which as a minimum
should include:

        a.      present location (grid);

        b.      direction of North;

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        c.      boundaries; and

        d.      notable areas (objective, axis, etc).

30.     The student may also be required to brief on the current situation. This does not
mean reading aloud the exercise scenario. It means summarising the relevant points for the
situation at hand.

31.    The following guidelines or hints ensure that the maximum is gained from the

        a.      correct terminology is employed;

        b.      presentations are "rehearsed" during consideration time;

        c.      a minimum of loose papers are used (distracting, tend to get mixed up or
                blown away at the wrong moment);

        d.      everyone is oriented to the appropriate map or diagram;

        e.      the ground is used wherever possible (instead of the map) to explain solutions;

        f.      waffling and tap dancing are not substituted for brevity and relevance;

        g.      overlays, diagrams or maps are neat, correctly coloured, separated if "busy"
                and large enough to be seen by the group; and

        h.      compass and binoculars are available.

32.     Students will be asked by the DS for questions of fact pertaining to the presentation.
This is to clarify the details presented, not to critique or offer alternative solutions.
Frequently, DS will assign roles of subordinates prior to the presentation. These questions
will therefore be the ones that the individual required to execute the plan would need to know
(seeing a plan through the eyes of a subordinate appointment is itself a learning experience).

33.    A specific student might then be asked to critique the solution. Constructive criticism
and assassination are differing concepts. A critique aims to find two or three strong points
and two or three weak points in a solution. These points should be linked to principles of
war, fundamentals of the operation and sometimes common sense. A critic should be
prepared to commit to a declaration of "workable" or "unworkable".

34.    After the critique, the presenter is entitled to a brief "rebuttal". The DS will then
open the discussion to the remainder of the participants for additional comments and

Direction to Student                                                           PRE-AOC
ADM 01
01 Jul 07

35.     Once discussion ends or time runs short, the DS will summarise the main points of
the problem and the proffered solutions. A DS solution may be offered, not as a "correct"
solution, but as an alternative that may not have emerged during discussion.

36.     The next problem will be issued and a time and place for discussion given. All
participants must be prepared to discuss the next problem on time. The time will seldom
seem sufficient to fully prepare the solution. This is deliberate; firstly, to emphasise the
requirement of the battlefield commander to be personally organised and secondly, to
emphasise that the majority of learning takes place during the presentation and discussion
phase of the TEWT.


37.    The success of the course is largely dependent on the quality of the TEWTs. In order
to ensure future success it is necessary to abide by the following rules:

        a.      do not leave garbage at the exercise site;

        b.      do use appropriate gates to cross fences;

        c.      do give personal residences a wide berth and be courteous and friendly when
                dealing with civilians;

        d.      do not bother livestock;

        e.      avoid planted fields, use lanes or fence lines;

        f.      do not enter property unless you are certain it is authorised for use. If in
                doubt, consult the DS;

        g.      do report any damage to the DS; and

        h.      do conduct yourselves as officers at all times.


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