Debate for the Day

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by USNA69, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Kind of slow here between year groups so I propose a friendly debate.

    Are the present nomination laws which allow each MOC to have five appointees at each academy and then the subsequent national pool, prejudicial for or against candidates from such highly competitive areas such as Northern Virginia or Southern California?

    And why?
     
  2. SubSquid

    SubSquid Member

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    I've been considering this question since coming home from church this morning and had some great but conflicting thoughts. I know USNA69 is throwing out the line for the rest of us to hang ourselves with! Especially the oral exam gotcha "And Why?"

    All political misgivings aside, there are 425 Congresional Representitive districts in the United States. Each of these representatives "serve" approximately the same number of registered voters in each district. Every State has two Senators that don't serve the same number of registered voters: ie, A Senator from Rhode Island has far fewer voters he's responsilbe to "serve" than a Senator from, Northern VA, Southern California, OR NEW JERSEY (you left me out!).

    Since I don't have the actual breakdown of where the 12,000 applicants hail from each year (I'm sure that the question asker does!) I will have to make some basic asumptions for the Naval Academy only:

    1. Seaborne military will attract more applicants from states that border an ocean.
    2. Applicants that are located geographically near an Naval installations will have more contact and information regarding that service's academy.
    3. Applicants geographical location to the Academy.

    Are the current laws "fair" with the selection: Yes. The Naval Academy is the United States Naval Academy. They are charged by Congress to attract Midshipmen from every corner of the country. Does the Academy lose high quality prospects from those high density areas? Probably. Is there a way to correct the preceived inequity? Probably not and still maintain a high confidence of integrety in the process.

    Congress has insured itself a part of the process of selection of future officers by insisting on the nomination proceedure. Is the political injection into the process the best way? Does the CGA do a better job in collecting the best and the brightest? Probably not. They still must pass muster in attracting candidates from all over the nation. I'll bet they turn away large numbers of qualified kids from the New England area.

    Perhaps the 500 Senatorial seats at the Academy should turned over to the Academy for Ad Hoc National Pool appointment. I don't believe they are "representatives" of the people since each Senator has such dramatically different numbers of voters in their states that they "serve". Will the politicians give up this power for the good of the institution? Yea right!

    "It is what it is" I know there are better ways. I also know that it's not gonna change between now and the Appointments for the Class of 2012. You have to embrace the policies that are in place and not blue sky about the way it should be. Maybe some day we can effect change but it won't happen in the next 10 months.

    Go ahead USNA69, haul in the halyard and hang me high!
     
  3. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I am not trying to hang anyone nor am I trying to change the system. Honestly, I have been laid up with a horrible summer cold and am bored to death. I have no idea where this will go. Also, I have no idea the numbers of appointments from each location. The reason for posting is that it seems that over the past year, there have been cries of "no fair" from both the small Western states (where you have immediately grasped their edge with the Senators serving a very small constituant) and the Northern Virginias, DC areas, SoCals, etc. Each thing they are being treated unfairly. And there are some, I am sure, who think the entire process antiquated and feel that the best 1200 should be chosen strictly from whole person points. There also appears to be a contingent who thinks the whole person concept is too broad and simple academics should be the sole determinant.

    If we take the 435 congressional districts, add the 100 Senatorials and multiply the total by the allocated five appointments, subtract the unused appointments, we still have 500 or so each year for which to account. It is where these are coming from that perhaps skews the fairness.
    But, thanks for being the first one to jump in.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2007
  4. SubSquid

    SubSquid Member

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    Sorry to hear about the cold. I've been fighting off one with Zicam for the last three days but I think I'm losing. Have to be out of town for the next six weeks and dread having to do it with a lousy summer cold.

    Fairness is a political concept. What's "fair" to one interest is "unfair "to another group. I gave up trying to be "fair" in my misspent youth and now concentrate on doing what "right".

    I've always held that the Nomination System is a political animal and exists only to puff the chests of our hallowed national leaders. The allotments to House members seems to work since their constituant numbers are approximately equal. Senatorial Nominations are way out of kilter. They are equal only in that each state has two, regardless of population. Again, my two cents is worth less than two cents. It would take an act of the almighty to make any changes to the Nomination System.

    How bad is it? My son completed his MOC paperwork about 10 days ago and included a letter to each Senator and his Representative informing them that he would not be universally available, any day, any time, because he is attending college in central PA and playing for that college's football team every Saturday through mid November. The congressman's staff wrote back that they would make accomodations to ensure that he had the opportunity to meet with the Nomination's team. Both Senatorial staffs wrote back and pretty much told him that's tough. If he couldn't make the interview then he would be removed from consideration. Excuse me? Who works for who again?

    Anyway, great thread. I love to *****!
     
  5. RaptorDad2013

    RaptorDad2013 Member

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    I'll add a few thoughts. It's an interesting topic, and depends on "where you sit" as you all have said. That said, Subsquid's issue of his two senators' action is not directly pertinent, but certainly a great example of why some might say the system "isn't fair" because of their own experience with it. In his example, I'm amazed and can't believe these staffers are acting appropriately -- why? Not sure, but certainly this is something his son should follow-up on -- maybe in person or by phone to a local office where the staff may be more inclined to think "constituent service." I just can't believe that any MOC, if confronted in person with such a story, would respond that "Yep, the staff was right - nothing we can do - too bad for your kid." In short, don't accept their response. (I'd find out who the Senator's chief of staff/AA was, have your son call them directly, and ask if that was really what they meant.)

    Back to the topic itself. I live in a state with two senators and one congressman. My son will have three "chances" at a nomination like everyone else, but better chances (than those in more populated states) with our two senators. But that's just for a nomination. Regardless of that part of the equation, we see multiple appointments for the academies just in our small "city" (100K pop.). In fact, in my sophomore son's high school graduation class (2007) of 37 there were two AFA and one USNA appointments, although to two people. (One turned down her AFA appointment and the other chose Navy, you'll be pleased to hear!) We have three public, two private HS's in town and there was one other AFA appointment and another USNA plus one WP appointment -- ie, three AFA, two USNA, one USMA just in our town. Arguably, there should be 3-each appointments for NA, WP, AF across our whole state, but it's hard to imagine such a concentration in our part of the state.

    So while I'll concede the "better chances" of nomination in states with less population for the nominations of the two senators, does it automatically follow that it equates to better chances of appointment? Seems to me that if the lack of a nomination were so critical, the academies would not be sending out LOA's if there was a real chance it would be reneged on for lack of a nomination.

    USNA69, you and others have stressed to apply for "all the nomination sources for which you are qualified" and have gone on to explain many times the flexibility that gives the academies. I was told that those MOC's who put their nominees into competition actually help ALL the nominees nationwide to rise to the top and that there is lots of mixing and matching that goes on. One person even said (and I've always wondered if it could be correct) that some candidates are appointed from one state using the MOC's nomination of another state, because that MOC put all their nominees "in competition" -- no primary or numbered alternates -- and NONE of them competed successfully on a nation-wide basis.

    Hope your cold is better -- remember, "summer colds" that drag on and on usually are something else!
     
  6. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Actually, actions such as this are not uncommon. They will designate a board, sometimes with as many as six or seven volunteers for the interviews. Ever try to get 6 volunteers together at one time? Now try to do it twice. Actually, it is also a priority check. How important is it? If something else is more important, the candidate may not be serious. It's also their chance to be military for a day and get to give orders.


    Not quite following you. I think what you are saying is that only one of the appointments was filled, that the female did not choose either and one of the appointments went unfilled.

    If you will note in the latest catalog where it depicts geographic distribution, 4 0f the 7 single congressman states do not fill their quotas.


    I think the LOAs are only passed out to the most highly qualified of the highly qualified. If by some unfathomable reason they miss the MOC nomination, then there is the national pool. If that too fails, along with any tricks the CGO's office might have, there are always the 50 appointments assigned to the Supt to use as he sees fit.


    Urban legend. I think back in the '70s it was not uncommon but federal law now requires the candidate to reside in the district of their nominating source. And it is watched closely.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2007
  7. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    A discusssion kick start:

    Would it surprise you that two-thirds of the midshipmen at the Naval Academy who do not receive a traditional MOC appointment come from one of six states; Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Virginia, or Maryland which, in total, represent about one-third of our population?
     
  8. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Not recalling the rest of the nomination sources beyond Pres and VP, could it be that those states have a higher concentration of military families, and thus qualify for alternative sources? :confused:
     
  9. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    For maybe 25% of them max. The remainder are entering under the guidelines of the national pool.

    If you do the math

    [(435 + 100) * 5] + 600 or so presidentials, SecNavs, etc, that still leaves 300-400 per year from the national pool. And actually I suspect that the national pool/Presidential nomination kind of become indistinguishable in the actual selection process. As do the Presidential and the MOCs somewhat.
     
  10. RaptorDad2013

    RaptorDad2013 Member

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    Just to explain, and sorry for being unclear... In our high school's graduating class, one person received two appointments (AFA and USNA) and took one - USNA. A second person received one appointment -- AFA -- and turned it down.

    As for the commonality of MOC's using a volunteer board on only one particular day, my point was that the "how" of the selection was neither mandated by "the system" nor the same across all the MOC's. I thought your main question was about the fairness of the "system" and mainly about the populated states and not-as-populated states, so was trying to speak to that small slice of the larger "process" (and you may be using "system" to include that whole process). If by the "system" you include all the variables of the nomination selection process among 535 MOC's then it would seem "fairness" will only come with a mandated competitive system. But that still doesn't deal with the fact that 100 of those MOC's have constituencies ranging from less than a million to tens of millions. That was also why I mentioned the question of whether the "fairness" of the nomination system was directly proportional to the appointments given.

    I will acknowledge ahead of time that maybe I'm misunderstanding the whole issue in the discussion! Gotta go...
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Wow. Seriously? I would say then it is probably a good thing we have a system in place that ensures that each state has an opportunity to be represented by population via Congressional districts.
    Iowan's have as much right to have their kids attend a Federal academy as Floridians.
    No doubt there is a lot of competition for kids from Va and Md - probably that is more of a function of the Naval presence and proximity to USNA.

    Statistically, you have a better chance of receiving a nomination if you are from a small state with one Congressional district - you have 3 chances per district. Here in PA for example, we have 19 districts. Getting a Senatorial interview can be a challenge. But that may not be totally "unfair" - small states appear to be under-represented.

    There does seem to be some sense out there that Congressional Nominations are politically motivated. I never felt that with my daughter - our MOC had a committee that consisted of several panels that interviewed candidates - it all was very professionally done.

    "Fairness" is in the eye of the beholder anyway. If you get a nomination - the process is fair - if you get beat out then it is easy to think that it isn't fair.
     
  12. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    This is what caused me to post the initial question. I agree with you totally. And after digging through the somewhat speculative data (is that an oxymoron) that I have produced, I don't think it is happening.

    We have the small Western states where a Naval career is not prominent and thusly have trouble filling all the available MOC slots with 3Qed candidates who want a military career. There is nothing we can do about this.

    Next we have the middle states where the MOC nominations pretty much fill all their appointments. Are there more 3Qed that apply and get turned down? Absolutely.

    Then we have the top few states from which the majority of the national pool appointments are made. Statewide, 2/3 of the appointments from 1/3 the population. Maryland has over 500% increase in appointments above the MOC quotas. Virginia, nearly 400%. To stop here would not be too bad but let’s continue. Is this higher acceptance rate spread evenly across these states? Absolutely not. They come from a few population centers within each of these few states which, my guessing, involves less than half the states population. So 1/6 of the states’ population is providing 2/3 of the at-large appointments. Therefore, these population centers have, overall, an average representation 400% greater than the overalll population at large. Fair. Hardly, I think?

    What is common with these population centers. High standard of living. High taxes. Good schools. Does a candidate who has had the good fortune to be born to parents able to afford this environment deserve a better chance at serving his country simply because he has been able to compete at a level well above his rural counterpart. Is he more intelligent? Does he have more common sense? Will he be a better officer?

    I don’t think so. Traditionally, the academies have had the highest number of first generation college graduates of all the top tier colleges and universities. This is going away. Do we really want privileged young officers leading our enlisted? Can they continue to relate? I am wondering.

    Are you sure? (19 + 2) * 5 = 105. There are 229 midshipmen currently from PA. Those extra 124 (118%) increase the odds somewhat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  13. RaptorDad2013

    RaptorDad2013 Member

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    While I agree with the first part of the sentence ("...not prominent...") do we really have trouble, first, filling ALL available MOC slots for USNA? How do we know that?

    And second, there is an implication, intended or not, that those MOC slots that are filled from less-populated (as opposed to "small" since it is population at the heart of this issue) Western states are less than qualified than candidates from other states -- I'm not sure you intend that, but if you do, it would be interesting to see a source for that data as well.

    If these two observations are "conventional wisdom" I suspect it is apocryphal, as is the following: from the two or three years my son has been preparing he (and I) have watched closely all those who have received appointments locally -- and they all appear to be similarly qualified as those who post on this site or the CC site and self-report their GPA's, test scores, class rank, sports/EC's and so on.

    I think there are a lot of variables to all this, nearness to a naval installation being only one. While in my state we have no naval bases we also have no army posts. Certainly, nearness to the academy is another. From what I've read/heard, there are a proportionally larger number of candidates for West Point from New York and the toughest place to get an AFA appointment is Colorado's Front Range -- where the majority of Coloradans reside.

    It would really be interesting to hear from a BGO from out here!
     
  14. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    If one goes to the geographic distribution of midshipmen from the current online catalog and compare the onboard totals with the MOC authorized (total MOCs x 5), they will find that there are fifteen states which have not met their MOC quota. A few of these are probably dropouts but also a few of those there are from other than MOC sources, so it would be a valid assumption that the 72 that these 15 states are short their collective quotas, are probably, give or take a few, approximately what the MOC shortfall is.

    Since the MOCs are unable to meet their quotas, and knowing the MOC selection process, I think it would be a valid observation that in many cases in these smaller/lesspopulated/Western states, any candidate found minimally 3Qed would receive an appointment.

    Without knowing the grading system itself, I think it would be foolhardy, as repeated posts on this forum have stated, to guage oneself against the competiition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  15. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    This is true - I am talking MOC nomination not appointment. If you are from a state with ONE congressional district you are competing against everyone in your congressional district for a spot on the Rep and 2 senator's slates. If each MOC has one opening - there are 3 slates available in the congrssional district and 30 kids can get nominations. In my congressional district there will be one slate of 10 kids and maybe one other kid will get a senatorial nomination.


    RaptorDad -
    There are some congressional districts that have trouble filling their slate of 10 nominees. If a MOC only has 10 applicants they may all get nominations - BUT they all may not be academically qualified. You might only have a couple at the top who are qualified and if they drop out medically or choose another academy/school or whatever they you might have no one for a particular year.
    Mirror that against a congressional district in Northern Va - there are many more than 10 nomination applicants who are super qualified, and many can't get a nomination. The schools there are so good - everyone has high SAT's and many AP/college courses.


    The candidates as a whole may be less than qualified - but everyone who receives an appointment is qualified. Period. Are some appointee's "more qualified" than others? Perhaps. Some candidates get in having had Calculus in high school (or Calc II) and others only have had pre-calc since that is all their school offered.
     
  16. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Let's not get the cart before the horse. Each candidate will go before the board and be found scholastically qualified or not. Those minimally scholastically qualified who are also found medically and physcially are considered Triple Qualified (3Qed). The MOC may either select his own primary nominee or allow the Academy to do the choosing. Bottom line, so long as there is one of the ten on the list who is minimally 3Qed, that MOC will fill the quota. If none are 3Qed, the quota will go unfilled. Right now at USNA there is somewhere in the vicinity of 72 unfilled quotas, probably a few more.
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    :bang:
    Bottom line - if the MOC uses the competitive method - submits a slate of 10 and ONE is 3 q'd then that candidate gets the appointment. If that candidate then decided to go elsewhere or washes out medically or whatever - that spot can go unfilled. No brainer.
    If he submits a slate of 10 and they are all highly qualified they you have a sprint to the finish.
    No doubt the second slate as a whole is more qualified than the first slate.

    You absolutely have to be qualified to receive an appointment - if you are from an underrepresented state (low population) it can be easier to get to the top of your MOC's slate and receive your MOC's appointment - if you are highly qualified. This is because there is less competition. This is not the same thing as saying that candidates from Western states are less qualified.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  18. RaptorDad2013

    RaptorDad2013 Member

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    Well, I still think we're mixing some apples and oranges here -- but let me try it this way, using the USNA catalog data.

    Alaska (3 MOCs) has 21 mids; Montana (3 MOCs) has 16; Wyoming (3 MOCs) has 12. Each should have 15

    USNA69 has stated earlier that other appointments can make a difference, which could explain why Alaska and Montana have over 15 mids (all their 3 MOCs are supposed to have at one time). Wyoming could have had several drop out of basic, or 4th class year, or even at the commitment time between 2nd and 3rd class.

    I'm still at a loss to figure out how any of that has to do with an assumption that somehow one of those MOC's slates of nominations somehow came up short on the qualification end and thus, they missed out.

    The MOC staffers at our Academy Day say when they are "under" their five, they get an extra appointment the next year.

    So, I'm still not getting the "if-then" statement that, in the example above, somehow Wyoming doesn't have enough "qualified" applicants to fill Wyoming's quota.
     
  19. xchefmike

    xchefmike Member

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    What about athletes?

    Where does the coaches fall in. If Coach Johnson offers John Doe a scholarship. (see gomids.com) where does that come from? National pool, MOC, Supes etc... This area is the least talked about and most inaccurate rumors I have heard. And if each coach has X amount of scholarships (assume john doe is 3Q) how is that distributed? X for Swimming, 2x for Lax 15x for football. I would like that answered. It seems you can find out everything else but those numbers officially on the USNA site, but this info is guarded like TOP SECRET-EYES ONLY :lock: info. :confused:
     
  20. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Federal law is specific. First the MOCs and other nominating sources and then the national pool. The national pool, upwards of 400 appointees each year, is based solely on whole person points. The supt also has 50 nominations to use totally as he sees fit.

    This is the mostl closely guarded secret ever in the history of USNA admissions. I had a son who was a recruited athlete. I have two company classmates who were successive directors of admissions who, over way way too many beers, have told me all the secrets of the admissions dept. Except one. Remembering that they must be 3Qed. every effort will be made to get athletes in under the normal selection process. Remembering that the admissions board can adjust whole person points up and down, how many points is a blue chip athlete worth whose coach is there presenting him to the board.I think the Supt's 50 is the backup plan. Purely speculating. I do know that you would be shocked how small the number of athletes are who don't make it in under the normal process.

    My biggest warning is that if a candidate is competitive, his file should remain in the normal admissions pile. Should it be in the coaches pile and that coach subsequently decide that he does not want him, based purely on athletics, his file may be overlooked.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007

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