About the Policy Officer Recruitment Programme

Additional Information

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Defence Policy Officers help inform government decison-making by providing sound advice, recommendations and analysis.

What is a Defence Policy Officer?


Defence policy officers help inform government decision-making by providing sound advice, recommendations and analysis. For example, they:

  • Provide advice to the Minister of National Defence and defence and military senior officials on key defence issues;
  • Maintain bilateral relationships with international Allies and partners;
  • Analyse and make recommendations on courses of action;
  • Provide support and guidance to the Minister and senior officials on Parliamentary, Cabinet and Committee processes and issues;
  • Provide policy support to military operations and exercises; and
  • Brief the Minister of National Defence and senior officials on a variety of emerging and current issues related to Defence.

Defence Policy Officers are typically based at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. There may also be opportunities to travel both domestically and internationally as part of regular or special working assignments.


Essential Qualifications


  • Graduation with a Master’s degree in history, political science, international affairs, public administration, law, sociology, economics or other security and defence related disciplines from a recognized university*;
  • Have a specialization (university-level course) in sociology, statistics or economics**;
  • Proficiency in English or French;
  • Knowledge of current Canadian defence policy, as well as current domestic and international security and defence issues.
  • Have experience researching, analyzing, and writing on subjects related to international affairs, defence and/or security or public policy
  • Have Canadian citizenship.

* Candidates currently completing a Master's degree will be considered. They must demonstrate they are able to complete all the requirements of their current studies program to obtain their Master's degree by 30 June 2018.

**Candidates must demonstrate their specialization in economics, sociology or statistics by indicating in their application that they have taken at least one university-level course or describing a combination of education, training and/or experience in one of these subject areas.

Candidates must have the ability to:

  •          Communicate effectively orally
  •          Communicate effectively in writing
  •          Conduct research, analysis and synthesize information
  •          Work under pressure with tight deadlines
  •          Form a professional network
  •          Work in teams

Candidates Must Demonstrate:

  • Commitment to excellence
  • Values and Ethics
  • Judgment
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative

How Do I Apply?

Applications are accepted during an advertised process, typically on an annual basis for a one-two week period.



What we Offer

The PORP is a three-year programme designed to recruit, develop, and train policy officers.

Training is done through a combination of classroom and on-line courses, in-house learning opportunities, mentoring, and special projects or assignments as appropriate. We also challenge our participants with demanding and unique 12-month working assignments.

All participants of the Programme are sent on a Canadian Forces Base Tour during their first year, to familiarize themselves with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This also allows them to learn more about operational issues, equipment, and life in various military units – outside of Ottawa.

Members of the PORP are hired at the EC-02 level (Economics and Social Science Services Group) and remain at that level for their first year in the programme.  Provided they meet the requirements to occupy a more senior position, PORP members are promoted to the EC-04 level in their second year.

Information on the Annual Rates of Pay of the subsequent levels of classification can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website.

PORP members moving to Ottawa are also eligible, under certain circumstances, for a relocation allowance, to a maximum of $5,000.  For more details about the Government of Canada’s relocation policy, please visit the website of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

How the PORP Works

Upon entry into the programme, policy officers are placed into a number of different assignments throughout the Policy Group.

In previous years, policy officers’ assignments have included, amongst others:

  • Writing speeches for the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Deputy Minister and other senior defence officials;
  • Preparing the Minister for Question Period;
  • Preparing government and departmental representatives for Parliamentary committee appearances;
  • Providing policy advice on equipment purchases for the Canadian Armed Forces;
  • Managing DND's bilateral and multilateral defence and international security relations;
  • Evaluating strategic developments;
  • Helping to develop and articulate major proposals on defence policy.

There may also be opportunities to travel both domestically and internationally as part of regular or special working assignments.

Graduation from the PORP

After three years in the PORP, participants will be assessed for graduation by a Program Assessment Review Board.  Candidates will be assessed against an EC-05 Statement of Merit Criteria.

All PORP members successful in the graduation process will be offered a position within the Policy Group at the Department of National Defence at the EC-05 level.

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