The new scheme involves a so-called "twin-track system" in which some officers will have more academically-based competence while others will have a more specialised military competence. Officers pursuing this new, more specialised form of career will provisionally be known as Specialist Officers but the final title and the details of the scheme will only be decided after further work during spring 2008.
The Armed Forces need not only people with academic qualifications but also personnel with vocational training and professional technical skills. This latter category represents a body of competence that can only be achieved through a combination of training and practical experience.
The officer profession, according to current service views, tends to focus too sharply on careers based on promotion and command. A broader and more open view of competence is needed, a view which takes due account of competence based on deeper specialist knowledge and practical experience. By creating the conditions for a different form of career, the way is opened for individuals with ambitions other than three years of academic study to have a rewarding career in the Armed Forces.
A guarantee of quality
The academic nature of officer training is a guarantee of quality. A parallel scheme for the training of specialist officers does not imply that the training is any worse, or of lower quality, but simply that it has a different focus. A career as a specialist officer should be seen as a flexible opportunity that could entail anything from many years of specialist technical training to enrolling and serving, after supplementary training, as a specialist officer on contract.
Capability can change
A specialist officer's ambition, will and capability can naturally change over the years and for this reason it must be possible to read up and take supplementary training to pass a full officers’ examination. The situation may of course be the reverse of this, with an individual already qualified as an officer wishing to change career course towards a job which is more practically oriented.
"This decision is of the utmost importance to the Armed Forces' continuing work of reforming the system of personnel administration", says Johan Fölstad who heads the planning division of the Armed Forces' Personnel Staff.
The Armed Forces' recommendations concerning the final form of the scheme will be presented to the Government during spring 2008.