Great critique on the service academies

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Chockstock, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    http://chronicle.com/article/The-Few-the-Proud-the/134830/

    These are only the first several paragraphs. Read on for some brilliant writing and awesome points made by Prof Fleming that resonate highly with me, even though I do not attend USNA. One of the best articles I have read in a while. I agree with nearly everything he says and he has made one of the most professionally written rants that I have ever read.

    -CS
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  2. R.Martin95

    R.Martin95 Member

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    I appreciate the author's intention to fix the academies, and his dedication to this effort as well. He made very excellent points, and while I dislike the notion of changing what I believe to be the heart and soul of the service academies, he's probably right. He certainly has a lot of experience with and understanding of Annapolis.
     
  3. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Huh.....

    Very interesting. I never really thought of it the way Mr Fleming has presented. Maybe our best and brightest would be better off in an environment of competition. This would forge our best leaders.

    I understand the spirit of competition in sports going against other service academies. However; if I were a gifted talented athlete, why would I ever attend an academy and have my chances of competing professionally dashed. It is difficult to attract these athletes when other educational institutes can provide so much more.

    The one common thread, is those who want to attend a service academy also have the value of service and sacrifice.
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    While I respect Dr. Flemming's opinion and agree with some, I don't agree with his conclusions.

    Dr. Flemming's opinoin reminds about a story of bunch of Economic PhDs and College professors creating a mutal fund based on all their expert knowledge/scientific models. The mutual fund evenutally failed.
     
  5. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    There is no Coast Guard ROTC.

    USCGA produces well over 50% of the active duty USCG officers, not 20%.
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    He was talking about the military academies, not the federal boat schools... :thumb:
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm just happy when an Army officer can spell a big word like "federal". See now, I guess West Point is doing some good! :thumb:
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Unless things have changed since my day, this statement is patently untrue. The year of prep school does count because it is considered a year of enlistment. In fact, I believe it actually counts toward your 20 years for that very reason (i.e., a NAPSter can retire 19 yrs after graduation and get credit for 20 years served). But the other four years . . . they are merely four years of your life and are not added to your service credit upon retirement.

    Fleming (who is well known to USNA types) likes to stir the pot under the proetction of tenure. Somewhere in the midst of his rant are some valid points. In particular, there is a bit of treating mids -- especially the more senior classes -- like children.

    OTOH, I think MOST grads look back on their USNA experience in a positive light and MOST would not have traded the experience for ROTC or OCS, no matter how great those programs may be. I would be one of those.:thumb:
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I greatly challenge his assertion that there is no difference between ROTC and SA products. They produce very similar field grade officers. They do not produce equal company grade officers.
     
  10. df123

    df123 Member

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    There are some good ideas in the article, but if all of them were implemented, wouldn't the SA's just be like every other university in the nation? Reading his bio, it's clear the guy is brilliant but noticably, I don't see any military service or practical leadership experience in his background - not sure if that's relevant or not for a guy who's telling one of the world's premier leadership institutions how to teach leadership, but just sayin ...

    As an aside, I got a kick out of one of his students' review of him as a professor:

    "Pompus windbag! Mocks the military while acting as if he knows everything about us. Disrespectfully wore uniform, belittles you w/o hesitation, grades ridiculously, btw, he won't tell you what your EXTREMELY VAGUE paper topic is until the Friday before, then tells you how terrible your writing is."

    In fairness, a lot of his students really love him.
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Had a year of ROTC before going to West Point. Although I liked my year at the ROTC a lot better than my Plebe year, my plebe experience made me a better person/officer.
     
  12. df123

    df123 Member

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    Came across a very good rebuttal to some of Prof Flemings points:

    Here's an excerpt - URL is http://rajivsrinivasan.wordpress.co...tive-point-average-rebuttal-to-bruce-fleming/

    "It seems Mr. Fleming’s criteria for mediocrity rests heavily on academic metrics. But I assure my audience that there is very little that is academic about combat leadership. It is about heart. It is about fortitude, honor, and courage. Now, you may call a West Point or Naval Academy graduate mediocre…but try visiting any other college in America and collecting a thousand 23 year old kids ready to lead just as many lives into hostile fire. I doubt you’ll be successful. To produce a thousand officers with the grit and spirit of warriors and the intellectual curiosity of scholars, we need a venue of tremendous investment and concentration: this is why you need the service academies.

    I wonder if Mr. Fleming would have been ready for such a calling at age 23. Even if not, I surely wouldn’t have the arrogance to call him mediocre."

    Good stuff!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  13. PBA

    PBA Member

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    It would be interesting to see the stats on USMA, USNA, USAFA grads and how many stay longer than their required service term. Anyone have a link to this data?
     
  14. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    To the original Poster: you may want to look into Flemming's history before reading too much into the latest article.

    Like most activists in other areas, some of his observations have kernels of truth in them. It's the giant leaps he makes with them that are the issue.

    My view is that he clearly has an axe to grind, and slamming the service academies is his way to stay in the spotlight.

    It does not mean that occasionally he's not spot on, but you really can't count on his work to be objective.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  15. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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  16. sciswim

    sciswim Member

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    Also, I believe Dr. Fleming was misguided in his thought that ROTC students do not receive military pay. I was interested in ROTC, and my recruiter specifically told me that I would receive some sort of pay monthly. Maybe I'm incorrect, but I don't think it's that significant of a difference between their pay and an academy's. In fact, I think the monthly amount was more, because the academy deducts some of the pay for other things such as books, right?
     
  17. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Hawk is accusing the professor of pleghming all over the academies to stay in the spotlight. Is that a tale of the pot and the kettle? As an ROTC cadet parent I'm going to step carefully around this debate.
     
  18. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Towards a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy for Success: Retaining Talent

    http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/download.cfm?q=965

    Some interesting findings based on research, not individual observation like Dr. Flemming (again I respect his opinions, but he relies too much on his personal experience/observation)

    If we follow Dr. Flemming's logic, we should also get rid of 4 year ROTC scholarships.

    This begs the question of what's the purpose of West Point/ROTC/OCS is, just to produce 2LTs or to produce officers that will become future leaders of the Army. It is what is, as of 10+ Army 4 stars, West Point has more than its share if we go by number of officers commissioned.
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Pay

    Sciswim. You need to be careful with words like "Pay". It is, in fact, a term of art. Pay, as received by cadets, is taxable. The "stipend" that ROTC students receive is not taxable. As a legal term of art Dr. Fleming is correct and I'm sure that's how he intended to use the term.
     
  20. usaffanatic

    usaffanatic Member

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    He is also wrong about the DUI's. A DUI is a one way ticket out of both ROTC and the SA's. Also they both have the same alcohol policy. Its 2 strikes and your out. Also it makes sense that SA cadets get paid a lot more because they are always training and doing things whereas ROTC has their class period, their one uniform day, and their summer training once out of four years. He makes some good points especially about the Prep school but he does make a bunch of unfounded statements.
     

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