Isolation a challenge for Log Officer during RIMPAC


By Captain Dawn O’Connor, Public Affairs Officer, RIMPAC Combined Information Bureau Production Officer

Captain Matthew Hou, a Logistics Officer from Vancouver, British Columbia, was responsible for leading and coordinating logistics support to hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members throughout the six weeks of the world’s largest maritime exercise.

At the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2018, bringing together more than 25 000 military members from 25 nations, Capt Hou focused on emerging issues and on-site planning that ensured the replenishment of essential supplies.

Capt Hou found prompt assistance while working in Hawaii. “The hospitality here in Hawaii has been a great experience. People who live here are familiar with the logistical differences that are characteristic of island living. Working with the Americans on issues, but also other nations represented in RIMPAC has been a great experience and has helped expand my expertise.”

Having spent 12 years in the military, Capt Hou has experienced the challenges of working in different geographical locations, including the Arctic. During Exercise ARCTIC RAM, he worked for three months supporting Canadian sovereignty operations. Like RIMPAC 2018, ARCTIC RAM was an opportunity to test both the capabilities of the equipment and the functional support of the logistics team.

“The North is almost its own environment entirely,” explained Capt Hou. He found that same sense of isolation working in Hawaii. “You don’t realize it until you are here in Hawaii, that [there is a] feeling that you’re isolated, that you’re separated from the mainland.”

Capt Hou attended the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and is currently working at the supply chain headquarters in Ottawa. “When I was a high school student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in Vancouver, I remember when an RMC Officer Cadet was talking about the college experience at RMC. That was the hook for me to apply.”

Capt Hou quotes Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. It reminds you that it’s important to go for those challenges, to go for those stretch goals.” He feels each new opportunity helps him forge new skills and competencies while increasing his effectiveness as a leader.

Working on reducing complexity and increasing the speed of support is the component of Capt Hou’s work that motivates him in his new position with Director General Materiel Systems and Supply Chain (DGMSSC.) “We are updating the roles and responsibilities for key logistics positions across Canada to make sure our supply policies are more reflective of base realities. We’re working to synchronize the software we use – transaction codes, access rights, user delight – to get supplies to soldiers more quickly. We’re making sure we have the right responsibilities, rights, and access to empower logisticians across the supply chain.”