The Communications and Electronics Branch
The Communications & Electronics Branch and a number of affiliated organisations serve a similar objective – that of providing C & E personnel a professional ‘identity’, professional development, and a social environment for the fostering of camaraderie and esprit de corps. While there is overlap in their respective activities, each organisation does fulfill a meaningful role in the eyes of their members.
The Communications and Electronics (C & E) Branch is one of many personnel Branches which were created in 1968 following the integration of the Canadian Forces. The purpose of these Branch structures was to enable members of the Canadian Forces in related occupations to identify with each other in cohesive professional groups. (CFAO 2-10) Since 1968, the C & E Branch and a number of affiliated groups have evolved to better meet the occupational and social needs of Branch members, as well as their associates in related professions.
The Branch has appointed a Colonel Commandant who were historically appointed for Army Corps or Branches composed of ‘families of tactical units’ such as artillery or engineers. In the contemporary CAF construct, Colonels Commandant are honorary appointments for numerous branches, including the C&E Branch. They alone serve as the link between the Branch and the Royal Family designate appointed as the ceremonial commander;
The Branch has designated a Branch Leader, who while not a member of the Branch can represent Branch interests at higher levels of Command.
The C & E Branch is not an operational entity, rather a professional body, which represents its members through the support of those who belong to it. CMP has directed that the Branches will be represented by a Branch Advisor – and as a secondary duty. The advisor is to be a focal point for Branch personnel and to provide advice to CMP regarding personnel and professional matters, which may affect the members of the Branch.
The Branch has designated a Branch Chief, who through his own NCM Advisory Committee can represent the interests of the Branch NCMs directly to the Branch Advisor. The Branch Chief is also a member of the Branch executive, and through his efforts ensures that Branch NCMs remain appraised of on-going changes to their responsibilities and trade structure.
The C & E Branch has over 7,100 members. It is therefore a large and diverse Branch, with responsibilities spread across the operational arms of the Canadian Forces. To ensure that all Branch personnel and the interest of their commanders are adequately represented, the Branch Executive, headed by the Branch Advisor, is composed of senior personnel from the varied employment environments.
The need for professional identity and social association amongst serving, non-serving and retired C & E personnel is also provided by organisations such as: the Lineman’s Association; the Air Force Telecommunications Association and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).
Each of these organisations offers a unique sense of identity and camaraderie – a special interest group to cater to the unique needs of their membership body. Each organisation can contribute individually or collectively to the mission of the C & E Branch – not as a competitor but as a representative body, which can speak in an authoritative and influential manner.