The Academies’ March Toward Mediocrity

Posted: May 21, 2010 in Naval Academy, Professional Military Education, ROTC, Service Academice, Service Academies, USAFA, West Point

Bruce Fleming’s article in the New York Times will probably be dismissed by most out of hand.

But what if he’s right?  His ideas certainly deserve a vetting, don’t they?

In days gone by, attending the Naval Academy or West Point was a tremendous advantage to the individual, his family, and the nation. America’s military was an ad hoc bunch of citizen-soldiers and it seemed the country would be well served with at least a handful of professionals steeped in the military arts and sciences.  There were others as well, such as the Citadel, VMI, and Norwich.

Today of course, we have a standing military of great significance and our security is enhanced, but not guaranteed by our geography.  Almost everyone goes to college and the pool for officer candidates is both much deeper and much broader.

Is there still a place for the service academies?  Absolutely, provided that they create a cannot-be-duplicated-elsewhere cadet product or cadet experience, or if they fulfill an essential function in a way no other institution can.   However, if they don’t meet these criteria, they have lost their uniqueness and thus their value.

Are there implications for our professional military educations institutions as well?  Oh yeah…

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