COMMUNICATION ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING OFFICER
IN THE CANADIAN FORCES
CAPTAIN ANN KAMEOKA: I am Captain Ann Kameoka from Mississauga, Ontario. I’m a Communication Electronics Engineering Officer currently posted to 3 Wing Bagotville.
In a 3-D battlespace full of weapon systems and data links, reliable communications and secure digital and voice networks can mean the difference between mission success and catastrophic failure.
Communication Electronics Engineering, or CELE Officers, are responsible for providing the communications capabilities required for command and control for all military operations and exercises.
CELE Officers work in a leadership role to enable their highly skilled personnel to get the job done, both here at home and on missions anywhere in the world. They use their knowledge and resources to ensure reliable communications for mission success.
KAMEOKA: CELE Officers are in charge of a team of technicians that have a variety of fields that they’re responsible for, from the airfield systems that help the aircraft land or the computers that everybody uses day-to-day, or secret systems that the pilots use to plan their missions. The technicians are really the ones that get the jobs done, that go do the installations, that troubleshoot, all those kinds of things.
CELE Officers ensure that the right information gets to the right decision-maker at the right time. They work with leading-edge technology to find solutions that support worldwide operations, including satellite and ground-based radio communications, air navigation and radar systems, air defence and air traffic management, secure classified networking and command and control systems, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and how they all integrate and function in a military environment.
There’s always a new challenge for CELE Officers to tackle and there are many different growing areas of specialization, like cyber warfare and space operations.
Regular Force or Reserve, their role is crucial, because nothing happens without communications and connectivity.
KAMEOKA: One of my favourite parts of my trade is the fact that CELE Officers go everywhere. So I’ve had the opportunity to go different places, both in the United States and to other countries like Greenland, as well. It was one of those things where you combine technology, teamwork, all these different things that you would get in different settings, different locations, all those kinds of things that makes it more dynamic than anything that I would find normally in a regular, day-to-day job.
After their initial occupation training is complete, CELE Officers are usually assigned to an operational unit where they take on a leadership role from Day 1.
KAMEOKA: What happened for me is, I found it a lot to take on because all of a sudden, you’re responsible for all these people and all these important systems. And you have never had experience with those kinds of situations before. But as long as you understand that your Warrants and your Sergeants are there for you, your senior NCOs, they can kinda help guide you and mentor you along the way until you get used to your roles and responsibilities.
Typical postings for junior CELE Officers include: troop or flight commander, junior project manager, or life cycle material manager.
As troop or flight commanders, CELE Officers lead teams of up to 30 highly skilled technicians responsible for providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with communications capabilities, maintaining networks, or defending against cyber threats.
As junior project managers, CELE Officers can expect to be involved in advising military leadership on the design and acquisition of the next generation of computer, navigation, radar, and communications systems, shaping the way the Royal Canadian Air Force will fight in the future.
And as life cycle material managers, CELE Officers are charged with the in-service support of critical operational systems, ensuring they are operating at peak efficiency.
KAMEOKA: Some of the aspects I like about military life in general is the fact that I get to travel to all these different locations while working, and I’ve also got the opportunity to develop some of the skills I had before joining, and also discover so many new skills throughout my career and develop those as well. You can see just how much you’ve changed as a person – that transformation of someone so unsure to someone that is able to do things, that has confidence in themselves to take on any task that’s given to them.
COMMUNICATION ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING OFFICER