Very Interesting Debate Topic

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Full Metal Bulldog, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Many posters on SAF, be it current AD, retired, parents, or prospective applicants, have very starkly contrasted views on the debate over whether an ROTC or SA graduate should simply fulfill their service obligation and leave the service ("5 and dive"), from an ethical standpoint. Some believe the service obligation should be lengthened in order to weed out the faint of heart or those that may not be 100% dedicated to the military when applying. Well, here's an idea on the same tangent as that which I thought would be interesting for discussion: When a candidate recieves an appointment to an academy, before they attend, they must complete 3 or so years of enlisted service before their 4 years at the academy. Logistic or constitutional issues aside, does this seem like a good idea for making sure that the only ones admitted to an academy are in it for the "Long Haul"? In my mind, it will do an excellent job of weeding out non-hackers and would also expose the candidates to many aspects of AD leadership at both the officer and NCO levels, aside from being a gut-check. What are yalls thoughts?
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Horrible idea. Wouldn't want to belittle the enlisted ranks with a "if our kids can't hack it, they're like you" or a "we're going to send this short timers into the enlisted for, spend money to teach them a specialty just to pluck them up and send them on."


    The enlisted force needs their senior members too.

    No. Bad idea.
     
  3. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Very true, again, not trying to create animosity but just putting forth a probably half-thought out idea from the mind of an 18 year old trying to get his foot in the door.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That system would drastically alter the type of candidate who'd seek an appointment.
     
  5. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I don't browse into the other Academy forums often, but I know it really hasn't been mentioned too much in the USNA one....so is this really an issue in the other forums or among alumni? I know the debate exists, but the impression I get is a majority are absolutely fine with a minimum of five years.


    Agree with LITS...additionally, where does the military really benefit? Great cadets/MIDN do 3 years beforehand and learn tools-of-the-trade, except when they are required to step up into the leadership position, the obligation is still 5 years...so they still could "5 and dive." Though you say put aside logistics....if we talk costs....that is 3000 more bodies per SA and there are many second/third order issues that would arise (orders costs, berthing, etc)...then suppose time served at the SA doesn't count for retirement (as currently is), even after the 5 year obligation -- that is now 8 years of service. Many officers might feel as if they are about half-way and might stay on for 20, which drives personnel costs up.

    From both a "good idea" and cost perspective, I think the current model works best.
     
  6. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Bad idea.

    There has to be another round of evaluations (concerning the candidate's 3 year enlisted tour) so the number of candidates would have to be substantially greater to account for those who don't pass or change their minds. Now what if one year many more than expected don't go that route? How do you keep the class size where you want it? You can't just say sorry you didn't get in - they've signed contracts; the program would fall apart the very next year.

    Also, while training of officers is the primary goal, academics is a high secondary one. How would these sailors do after swabbing the deck for 3 years?
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's an interesting concept, I just think a bad one. That's nothing on you though. I think the 4 years of not-so-fun school accomplishes the same amount without burdening a service with 50% of its officer corps being qualified for O-1E pay right out the door (which aint cheap!)
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm also not sure what the ethical standpoint is. That may be because I'm a 5 and Diver myself. I did the 5 years of service that I was required. I hadn't always planned on "5 and dive" but that's what eventually happened.

    I have seen the debates regarding "career military" and if institutionalizing individuals hurts the ingenuity of the services. I haven't heard anyone accused of being unethical for fulfilling their obligations. I do remember this concept being touched on in Office Space, with regards to flare though...
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Hate answer a question with a question, but what makes you think that 3 years of active duty prior to SA will make someone hang around for the long hual? Instead of "five and dive," it becomes "three + five and dive."

    I had intention to stay for a "long haul," but my wife and my child changed my mind.

    I had some classmates that talked about and acted like they will "five and fly" staying in the Army.
     
  10. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    LITS, before I say anything that might be taken the wrong way, I personally do not have a problem with "5 and diving". However, it is a very common topic for debate, and has happened on the forums. Usually it starts off with someone being all grumpy about not getting into an SA, and saying something like "well I would've stayed in until I made General!!!! But they instead appointed someone who will likley cheat the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. out of the cost of the academy education by only doing 5 years!!!!". The ensuing argument will basically entail those that support his view, and those that support the standpoint of the government: 5 years is enough time to pay us back, we helped you, you helped us. This debate has occured before on the forums. Its very interesting the point about institutionalism however, it seems very interesting and definitley valid in some cases. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Scoutpilot has touched on this before.
     
  11. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    MemberLG, when I thought of the idea, I was thinking about all of the stories of induviduals who've dropped out of a service academy or didn't even bother to apply because they felt after only a relativley limited exposure that the military is "not for them". I was thinking that AD time before attending the academy would help address that issue. It is not a fully fleshed out idea of course, just a possible solution to either A. Be a gut-check for those who really want the academy, or B. For those who aren't sure, helping them come to a decision faster. Maybe make the AD time only 1 or 2 years, or maybe make it so there's a no-questions-asked cancellation of one's contract if they decide its not for them, and now they have some AD time to put on their resume for civilian work or college. Just another one of my dimly lit light bulbs that appear on top of my head oh-so-often.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Interesting debate. Bad idea.:smile:

    First, Congress decides how long the military commitment should be for SA grads. In the "old days," it was 4 years AD. Now, it's 5 for most, but longer for some (e.g., pilots). Congress could, at any time, decide to increase the commitment if it thinks 5 yrs is not sufficient based on the cost of the education.

    Second, the services actually need people to attrite. The military is a "move up or move out" system and, if everyone tried to stay until retirement, there would be a much higher number of non-promotes. So, better those who want to leave do so and those who stay want to be there.

    Third, there is a world of difference b/t what officers do and what enlisted personnel do. I'm not sure that spending time as an enlisted would be of much benefit in trying to decide whether one wanted to be an officer.

    Fourth, as someone above stated, the decision whether to stay in or get out is an intensely personal one. Many people when entering or even graduating from a SA plan on making it a career, only to find out that family or other issues make that proposal seem much less desirable. Conversely, some of those who spend their time at SAs bragging how they were going to be a "five and dive" end up making it a career.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  13. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    So true...... problem is..what 17 or 18 year old doesn't change their priorities, likes and even ambitions within 5 years?.. The years right after HS are when you change the most in life it seems. You can't really know what you've gotten yourself into with the military until you are into it first hand. Hubby was going to be a lifer.. 4 years and a baby later..OUT he wanted.. and the buddy he enlisted with that got the bonus check when he signed up, he was just looking for a way to pay for college and he just retired. Either mind set is perfectly acceptable IMO.
    Going to college right out of HS is so much more easier than waiting a year..much less 4.. OMG..can you imagine the remedial classes enlisting first would entail.. If you didnt use Calc for 4 years then suddenly you are in Engineering classes.. I see a BIG problem with retention of what you learned in AP anything 4 years ago. Not to mention the girl saying my finace will be done with school when he is 28..then he can support our family..until then? I dont see too many takers for that plan.. and I would think they had issues.
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    A solution is needed if there is a problem. Do you think there is a problem with SA not getting "right" types of applicants?

    West Point has been accepting 1300 +/- and graduating 1000 +/-. So, we could argue that losing 300 +/- is a waste of money, so we need to graduate 1300 +/-. I would argue that the cost is minimum, relative to the overall cost. West Point has a higher fixed costs than variable costs. Full time support staff is won't change too much regardless of the incoming class size. The variable cost is the cadet pay, plus some additional as most of stuff cadets pay from their pay.

    If the retention rate is higher, West Point would have to accept less candidates and will quickly reach point of diminishing return as whatever screening method West Point implements, they will have to adjust accordingly.
     
  15. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    I didn't say that those were actual problems USMA is facing, but those are problems an SA could face at some point in time, and that the idea in question could be a solution, albeit judging from the responses I'm getting, not a very good one.
     
  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The selection process for SAs are not perfect. But sometimes, perfection is not possible. So considering the end products produced by West Point since 1802, I think West Point doing pretty good.

    Another topic of the debate is the purpose of West Point - when I was a cadet it was something along the line of " leader of character " and now it evolved into "commissioned leader of character." My personal opinion is that if we just need to produce 2LTs, don't really need West Point and ROTC. However, if we want institutions that produces leaders for the country, both civilian and government, yes on West Point and ROTC.
     

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