Best commisioning program?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by navyorairforce19, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. navyorairforce19

    navyorairforce19 Prospective Cadet/Mdshpmn

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    In your opinion, which commisioning program is best for the Navy/Marine Corps and why. I'm pretty much between Rotc and Usna. ROTC because of the college perspective along with training and more academic freedom, and Usna because of the prestige of it, great organization, the summer opportunities and just the fact that it is a military-like environment.
     
  2. MorganC

    MorganC Prospective

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    1
    It sounds like you would be a great fit for an SMC. You get the military environment and great training, but you also have some of the normal college experience.
     
  3. navyorairforce19

    navyorairforce19 Prospective Cadet/Mdshpmn

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    More info please, I do not even know what SMC is.:redface:
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,511
    Likes Received:
    461
    There isn't a better or worse commissioning source. However, one is probably better for you.

    USNA is a full-time military environment. ROTC is mostly college with some military. AOCS/OCS is all college and then a 12-16 week (I forget how many weeks), crash course.

    USNA grads typically have a "head start" in that they are more comfortable with the military routine (i.e., filling out leave chits and the like). However, some grads experience burn-out after four years of USNA.

    All three options produce excellent officers including many of flag rank. Inform yourself about the different options and figure out which one is best for you.
     
  5. dawiggy7

    dawiggy7 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    SMC stands for Senior Military College. There are 6 senior military colleges- Texas A&M, VMI, Virginia Tech, Norwich, The Citadel, and North Georgia. They all have a Corp of Cadets and ROTC programs, although (and correct me if I'm wrong) ROTC is not required. Basically it's a mix of the military style of the academy with the freedoms of going to normal college classes and having more academic freedom.
     
  6. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    And SMCs are a hybrid of ROTC and SAs. One is a full-time cadet in what most would see as a civilian institution. As 85 noted, most ROTC programs, even the most highly regarded offer a very minimal exposure to and "of" miltary service. EX: Most have a few weekend obligations, lots of social interaction among ROTC Mids and Cadets, and a day/week in uniform w/ ROTC classes. The "whitman sampler" of military prep. SMC corp members are ... essentially full-time members of their corps.

    IF "best" is evaluated/determined/defined by the most who achieve the highest, it's a no-brainer. EX: Virtually all 4 stars are SA grads. Not literally. There are a number of reasons posited for this ... preparation, motivation (chicken vs. egg, i.e. those most determined and serious to reach this status, attend SAs, and those pushed/pulled by being immersed among those determined to do the same ...these can and are powerful influencers.), politics (most already in the treehouse are SA alums so guess who they tend to know and support?), numbers (there are simply more, many more career officers who've come from SAs, thus it's somewhat like determining likelihood by doing a "word" analysis). None of this is to suggest SA candidated are superior admiral candidates than ROTC and/or OCS grads. It simply says ... most of the top dogs came from SAs. I've never seen a statistical distribution, and this is purely speculative based upon some of the issues identified, but I'd bet my house that there are also more per capita coming from SAs. Remember the reality ... there is a reason, perhaps several or many, that they are known as "ring-knockers." Conclusion: If you want to become an admiral or general, one way is monumentally more advantageous than all others. Service Academy.

    If one is not there yet and there is a RIF, will it matter? I'm not sure I've a theory on that, but I'll venture to say for the very same reasons that ring-knockers will have a higher rate of survival than non-Academy grads.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  7. MorganC

    MorganC Prospective

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    1
    Texas A&M University's Corps of Cadets has produced over 250 flag officers :thumb:
     
  8. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    121
    I think the flags-only-come-from-SAs thing is changing and that's going to be much less of an issue down the pike.

    ROTC and OCS used to be (this is from talking with older officers, other peoples' opinions might be different and backed up with actual experience) much less prestigious and more for guys who wanted to five-and-dive, with the assumption being that going to USNA or another SA meant that you intended to go career.
    Now, going to a SA without intending a career is much more common (I think I know more people who want to five and dive than who want to go career) and so I think it's balancing out.

    Also, USNA (for example) provides a huge number of brand new ensigns and second lieutenants every year, so by shear probability a higher number of academy people than ROTC/OCS will stay in and get stars. It's not that they're "better," there's just more of us. Even if Academy guys had the same (or lower) rate for staying past initial commitment, the numbers would mean that there would probably be more than OCS or ROTC.

    Conclusion: It's pretty much a non-issue. That's also thinking 25-30 years in the future.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    It depends on the SMC. For example VMI is 100% military, 24/7 with no civilian students on post, and ROTC is required for every Cadet (Though commissioning is not. This year about 60%of the graduating class took a commission in one of the 5 services.) As far as more academic freedom- not much more from what I know. That would be a benefit more associated with a standard ROTC program I would say.
    The best commissioning program rather depends on what you are looking for.

    But from the standpoint of being a career military officer, other than the USMC (in which being a USNA graduate is frankly not that big if any of an advantage) , the Service Academies are I would say the best place to be from. The professional preparation and training received at an SA is pretty important in your first few years of service. That advantage will disappear after a couple of years though. The second advantage is sheer numbers. Just by the sheer volume of classmates, you will have a pretty valuable professional association throughout your career. (Having that network won't save you if you are a knucklehead for sure, but if you are a an ambitious and competent officer- it absolutely doesn't hurt you when you are going in front of command and promotion boards or when the Admiral is looking for an aide who he can feel comfortable with). So if you are absolutely certain that you want to be a professional officer- and you can get an appointment, then you are foolish not to go to the SA. Can you be a a highly successful professional officer and graduate from an ROTC program ? For sure- for example: VMI has produced multiple Commandant's of the USMC, Chiefs of Staff of the Army and USAF and numerous 3 and 4 star Army AF and Marine Flag officers. So have other ROTC programs and for that matter so has OCS. But far higher numbers come from the Service Academies. It's just a personal opinion and you can disagree if you choose, but having spent a career in the Army (and not a USMA alumnus), I personally would strongly suggest that you have USNA as your first choice if you want to be a career Navy officer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  10. dawiggy7

    dawiggy7 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was trying to say you don't have to necessarily serve for the 3 or 4 years that normal ROTC requires. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well, of course this discussion is a matter of collective opinions, nothing more, nothing less. Some of the problems are defining "best" (does it mean career, attaining certain level or certain assignmentS(s), does it mean flag, does it mean going beyond 5 and dive, etc. ... what is "best"?) and knowing about statistical bases for discussion especially mode, median, mean and correlation coefficients of SAs; most, much, none of which is readily available.

    So, in looking @ but one simple litmus? Look at the top USNA dogs in the last Proceedings. Not literally, but virtually all from USNA. Again, that may not define "best" beyond the simplest, even simplistic evidence that simply shows ... IF that's what one aspires to? Then the "best" becomes totally obvious.

    And even that might be debatable if one could look at the probability factors.

    All this said, my opinion, nothing more nor less, is that the anecdotal evidence, with all due respect to the many outstanding folks who come from ROTC and OCS runways, for both chicken and egg contentions, SAs are generally superior nurseries for superior numbers of superior officers. And it only makes sense, if you think about it.
     
  12. Craig

    Craig Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    95
    They're all good. I like how a LT recently advised my daughter on a visit to a NROTC unit. The LT was a USNA graduate. She told her "The end goal is earning the commission. You have to choose the path best for you to get there. Each has it advantages and disadvantage. Research and educate yourself on those differences so you can make an informed decision." The LT did feel the USNA grads had a slight adantage starting off (as mentioned in previous replies) and I would tend to agree (and I was not USNA) but after that individual perfomance and drive mattered most. All my non-USNA friends that stayed in for 20+ have made O6. They are now at a point where making FLAG is a posibility. Some are in jobs that put them in a good position, others are not.
    Just to confuse you with some STATS, I believe out of the last 6 Commandants of the MC, 3 were USNA and 3 were not. I think 2 of the 5 current JCS are not SA's.
     
  13. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, 20% of all new 2Lts are Academy grads and by the time they make senior officer, it is up to 50%? Sounds about right. For each subsequent rank in both the Marines and the Navy an increasing percentage will be Academy grads.

    Since this is a USNA thread, we can discount AF and Army but a non-Academy CNO is a rarity.
     
  14. jumprope_11

    jumprope_11 USNA 2015

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't forget that the mission of the academy is to "...graduate leaders who are dedicated to a CAREER of naval service...". Granted every comissioning track wants the officers they are molding to be committed enough to stay in but USNA has a bit of an advantage in instilling this in the midshipmen based on the way the program is based. Like it was previously said, this doesn't mean there aren't going to be those who choose to five and dive. But that is what USNA grads are being trained for.
     
  15. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    Another somewhat compelling anecdote pointing the way ... check out all the 4 star admirals in USN. As noted, ALL the earlier 4 stars were Academy grads. Now it's only about 75% (of the most recent 40 or so). And only a couple OCS throughout history.

    Again, does this mean it CANNOT or HAS NOT been "done", i.e. ROTC guys or even OCS commissioned officers making it to the top? Or that they are somehow less capable (note: I did NOT say "less qualified" ...that could be debated forever, too). Of course not. All is says is that we can anecdotally ID those who have ... BUT ... the evidence strongly suggests, at least on this measure, that for whatever reasons, most top officers are Academy grads. Period. If such is the definition of "best" ... the answer is clear. Crystal! :eek:

    Can you handle the truth???:thumb::wink: :cool:
     

Share This Page