After extensive consultation with Member States, the Sectoral Qualifications framework for the profession of Military Officer (SQF-MILOF) working group (WG), with direct support from the EU Military Staff, completed the SQF-MILOF Package at the end of 2020. Subsequently, the SQF-MILOF Package underwent rigorous evaluation and validation processes, including revealing the final product to several stakeholders.
What is the SQF-MILOF? The SQF-MILOF PackageSQF-MILOF relates to lifelong learning for a particular sector: military officers. It is fully in line with the European Qualification Framework that is applicable in the general education system throughout the EU and partner countries in the Bologna process. The SQF-MILOF serves as an interface or ‘translation tool’ between the education and training opportunities offered in different countries, which makes it possible to compare different programmes. This makes it easier to recognise equivalent training done in another country, which in turn facilitates professional education and training exchanges between the MS and thus enhances the creation of a common security and defence culture. The core business of the SQF-MILOF package is to frame professional learning for military officers into four levels of complexity (SQF-MILOF proper) and focus its scope on four levels of operations or military organisational architecture (MILOF-CORE). In practical terms, the four levels of complexity of learning range from basic (level 1) to the most advanced knowledge and professional skills (Level 4), whereas the four levels of professional military focus define relevant learning from the individual and low tactical level (Single Arm/Branch) up to the strategic level (Political Civil-Military).
SQF-MILOF External EvaluationAn external evaluation team carried out an assessment of the processes undertaken for the development of the SQF-MILOF, with particular emphasis on the structure of the SQF-MILOF and the definition of learning outcomes for each level. The focus was on determining to what extent the development of the SQF-MILOF has taken into consideration the European good practice in qualifications frameworks development, the European quality assurance principles and harmonisation of the learning outcomes of military officers studying at all levels. Through the final evaluation report, the external evaluators appreciated that the work completed by the working group had resulted in a final product of quality, relevance and immediate value to the sector. They emphasised that the high-level approach in the SQF-MILOF package addresses specific European military concerns and objectives in order to promote interoperability and cooperation.
SQF-MILOF National Formal ValidationThe main users of the SQF-MILOF package are the MS, through their competent authorities and institutions; hence the decision to involve MS at the right level and invite them to validate the SQF-MILOF package in a formal manner. In this regard, the ESDC administered a questionnaire aimed at consulting national competent authorities with regard to the utility and completeness of the SQF-MILOF and their intention to further consider its implementation at national level. All respondents found the SQF-MILOF very useful and appreciated it as a good opportunity to contribute to the transparency of qualifications and help improve the interoperability of military officers across the European Union’ armed forces.
SQF-MILOF Informal ValidationsThe SQF-MILOF WG went even further that formal validation and reached out to the end users of the SQF-MILOF package, this time in an informal manner. The first validation was conducted with seven volunteer training and education providers from six MS, in principle to test the five-step process (roadmap) for levelling military qualifications to SQF-MILOF and defining the military focus against the MILOF-CORE. The second validation was conducted with 36 volunteer officers from 26 MS serving with the EU Military Staff to verify to what extent the learning outcomes described by the SQF-MILOF and MILOF-CORE cover the actual knowledge, skills, responsibility and autonomy acquired by individual officers in the MS during their careers. This informal validations confirmed that the SQF-MILOF and MILOF-CORE are functional and useful tools that can be used for multiple purposes. First, national training providers can use these tools to develop new curricula or refine/improve existing ones by using MILOF-CORE learning outcomes. Second, the package can satisfy the requirement to assign a SQF-MILOF level and a MILOF-CORE focus to the national military qualifications, thus facilitating the comparison among different similar qualifications granted by different MS.
We would like to take this opportunity and thank those who helped with the validation process.
- National authorities from the EU Member States that answered the formal validation questionnaire and sent us crucial feedback on the product;
- National education and training providers that informally validated the process of levelling national military qualifications to SQF-MILOF and defining the military focus against MILOF-CORE: Bulgaria, Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy; Hungary, Ludovika – University of Public Service, Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training; Italy, Centre for Defence Higher Studies, Joint Services Staff College; Lithuania, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy; Romania, National Defence University, Crisis Management and Multinational Operations Department and Austria, National Defence Academy and Theresan Military Academy, Institute for Basic Officer Education.
- Thirty-six EUMS volunteer officers who anonymously informally validated the levelling individual learning to SQF-MILOF and MILOF-CORE.
- External evaluators: Prof Bairbre REDMOND, Dr Julie Therese NORRIS and Dr Allan Thomas DAVIDSON for helping us moving in the right direction and sharing their impressive experiences and expertise.