Message from the New Communications & Electronics Branch Advisor – Lieutenant-Colonel Steeve Lavoie

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This message is intended for all members of the C&E Branch.

I am honoured and thrilled to accept this appointment as your new Branch Advisor. I wish to acknowledge my predecessor Colonel John Roper for his service as Branch Advisor.

I have been wearing our “Jimmy” proudly for my entire career of almost 35 years (joined in June 1989). I spent my first ten years as a technician (223 Tel Tech, 225 SIS Tech) and the past 25 years as an officer (CELE), I have served in various ranks on four operational tours (OP ARCHER/ATHENA, OP UNIFIED PROTECTOR, OP AFGHAN ASSIST, and OP PROTEUS). I have also had the privilege of serving as the Branch Adjutant. So, from experience I say that I am impressed to see our Branch personnel serving with such technical competence, maturity, mission focus, and “no fail” attitudes.

My exposure and experience over the past 35 years have provided me with friends and colleagues throughout Canada and the world in the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Special Operations Forces, and our nascent Canadian Armed Forces Cyber organization. The Branch is an organization that is intended to unite us (RCCS, RCAF, RCN, SOF and Cyber) as professionals, with the common purpose of ensuring vital communications for the CAF, DND and our partners. I intend to continue to support and enhance this unity, with your support.

Like most Branch members, I have experienced both highs and lows regarding “the Branch,” contemplating its significance to me and its intended purpose. I realized that I was making it about me when the intent should be that we make it about others – those in need and those that will follow and replace us. So I encourage you to think about it and make it a little less about ourselves and reinforce what unites us. I believe we can leave something great behind for the next generation.

It is important to remember that the other arms and services simply see our Jimmy cap badge and lump us into a single group. This single group (the C&E Branch) represents about 10% of the CAF with our 6,500 members (Reg and P Res) – a very significant number. Our Branch is well regarded with a strong reputation, one that I am proud to represent.

One thing remained true my whole career is that it is the people that make our experiences and institutions great. Not institutions by themselves, but rather the effort we put into supporting each other in the name of our Branch. There remains a lot of work to do to make the Branch strong. You, are the Branch!

Over the last number of years my predecessors have undertaken various methods to improve communications and interactions with our current and retired members through the establishment of an internet website which is essentially an information hub for our wider Branch family. For all the latest Branch news (promotions, retirements, last post, newsletters, events) please visit: https://cmcen-rcmce.ca/ and follow us on Facebook at RCMCE.CMCEN. To make a submission please visit here: cmcen-rceme.ca/branch-forms/

We are also trying out different ways to engage our membership with events such as e-sports. Check our discord here: C&E Sports Discord and cmcen-rcmce.ca/ce-sports/.

On behalf of the Branch Secretariat, our Branch CWO (CWO Alex Arndt) is actively seeking to increase engagement with all. He is willing to speak to all rank levels and you may engage him at: [email protected].

I will not announce any earth-shattering news and I will not promise things that are unachievable, but I can promise you that I will listen and support you in any way I can to shape the Branch to what its membership wants along with what it is willing to support.

Please communicate with me, our Branch Adjutant, Major Gavin Ellis, or our Branch CWO, CWO Arndt, and/or through your local chain of command to contact one of us (as appropriate).

Lastly, we built a dedicated Museum facility in the 1990s for all to enjoy, and it expanded a few short years ago. We are undertaking measures to make the facility more available to all across Canada and the world. However, we need support to make it happen. For the first year ever, donation levels, partnerships and the endowment are not sufficient to meet the demand. To return our programs to their previous level requires additional support. Both the Museum and the Branch are supported with the same funds through our Foundation. At present, we have approximately 500 monthly donors who are contributing just under $5000 total a month which has decline over the past ten years from 1000 monthly donors at $10,000 a month. We have excellent programs at the Branch, including the Distress fund which allows Branch leadership to allocate funds to members who need it based upon an email request from your CO. For those that feel that they can afford it, I am requesting you to consider contributing to your Branch fund so we continue to support our membership and heritage. For serving regular members there is the payroll deduction (P070) solution where donation comes off your pay without even noticing it and for the price of a Starbucks coffee or two ($10/month) you will help keep our history, heritage and museum alive. Optionally, everyone (Regular Force, Reserve Force, veterans and friends) may make their donation (monthly by credit card, or one time only) at The Military Communications and Electronics Museum Foundation (canadahelps.org). If you would like to have more information, please feel free to contact – [email protected].

There are other methods of contributing directly to mark special occasions, or adopting exhibits that are suitable for individuals or groups and you can get more information at the Museum by filling out the form here: Contact the Branch Museum.

Thank you, and I hope to hear from you in the coming months. The C&E week calendar will soon be published, Branch Newsletter #2 is looking for great articles to inform our community.

Again, don’t forget to follow our website CMCEN and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Discord.

Thank you,

We thank you for your attention,

Lieutenant-Colonel Steeve Lavoie,

Branch Advisor

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