Why college?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Eagle 1, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Eagle 1

    Eagle 1 Member

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    I had a friend ask me recently why officers are required to have college degrees, and it hit me that I didn't really know why. I always knew that in order to be an officer I have to go to college, but the thought never donned on me as to why.

    Sure, advanced education is the most obvious answer, but what's to say that a college educated officer will do a better job than a high school educated enlistee?

    Fields in science and technology I understand the education requirements, but lets take being a pilot for a moment. Now, I'm not going to say that flying a Cessna and flying an F-16 are the same, but you only have to be 16 to get a pilot's license. With the training that the military gives all of it's pilots, whose to say the college education is what qualifies them to do that job?

    The only reason I can think of is because of ROTC and the service academies. The training that one must go through to be an officer occurs while they are taking college courses, so that makes sense - but what about OCS/OTS? If you're going from enlisted to officer, what makes having college down so crucial to gaining a gold bar?
     
  2. rotcdonde

    rotcdonde Member

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    i have actually also wondered about this--even experienced nco's with 20 year careers can't be officers unless they go to college. it seems a little strange.

    some theories--of course, they may not be right, but just what i've thought of

    it may have something to do with that people who go to college and get a degree are generally smarter, and have proven through getting the degree that they are more dedicated to their work than those who dont.
    age could also be a factor--any college graduate is going to be at least 21, as opposed to 18 year old high school grads. i guess they could just set an age limit, but i dont know.
     
  3. Eagle 1

    Eagle 1 Member

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    The second one maybe, but then go back to the career NCO.

    As for the first, that entered my mind for a split second as a possible answer to my friend, but I quickly dismissed it and wanted to take a nearby chair it hit myself over the head for it, because I hate the idea of saying one part of the military is just smarter than another.

    Another friend I have happens to be going into the Marines as an enlisted member after high school, and he's a hell of a lot more dedicated than most college students today. Granted ROTC and academy cadets are for the most part a step above most other college students since they're so focused on what they want to do in life, I still don't like the idea of saying officers are smarter than enlisted members.

    Edit: By the way, I'm not criticizing you. The possible reasons you stated I've also thought about, but they just don't really make sense to me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  4. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    It's called the "gentle man" officer system. We inherited it from the British. The "Aspirant" system is used by the German and Israeli militaries. troops are selected to be officers and given higher levels of responsibility until they top out. These officer aspirants are given scholary and technical skills as well.
     
  5. rotcdonde

    rotcdonde Member

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    I guess I said "smarter" because officers generally make more important decisions that affect a lot more people, so they need to have a decent education and experience level to reference when they are making decisions. I guess "smarter" is not really what i meant. More educated, for sure.

    And yeah, the reasons i said don't 100% make sense to me either, they were just the first things i thought of. you have a point, though. :thumb:
     
  6. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    haha but everyone knows that it's the NCO's who run the show...for instance, only a very stupid butter bar would try to tell a chief master sergeant what to do
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You should understand that flying any military airframe is going to take a lot of math and science to be successful at it. It is not like a Cessna, get in...take off...fly...land. Your missions will require mathematical skills. Navigation will be precise down to the second. You will spend a yr training for the wings, and a large majority of the time is not in the plane, but at the books. That is just for the wings, you will repeat this again at RTU/FTU. You will than repeat this again at your 1st base to become operational. All in all it is close to 3 yrs of studying before you are operational.

    Now, why officers need college degrees, why do managers at Macy's need college degrees? Why does the CIA require it? It is a filter system or criteria that they have deemed the most important when hiring. Why do you need PME or Masters to get promoted to O-5? BECAUSE they can't promote or hire everyone. They need to sort out in an equitable way. College degree is a fact...yes or no, there is no shading or manipulating based on emotion or personality.

    Did you also think that maybe the military believes 18 yo are not mature enough to be in charge of people yet? They barely have their license and have yet to drink legally, our society still sees them as children, not adults. They have a lot more growing left to do, and it is hard to take a boss seriously when they are talking about how they are going to wait in line at midnight to get the new Halo for themselves! People get you doing it for your kid, but not yourself. It is hard to take a boss seriously when only a few months earlier while you were being shot at in Iraq, their biggest problem was they got a zit for prom.

    If you remove the mandatory college degree to become an officer, you would also lose many qualified applicants for the SA and ROTC. The majority of them attend the SA to become an officer. Where's the motivation if they can jump right in without ever going to college? Wouldn't you take the shorter route of no college over 4 yrs at an SA or college if both give you butter bars?

    If you go on base and get you Masters through the military you would be shocked to see that many of the students are enlisted. For whatever reason the majority has no desired to become an officer. Many have their undergrad withing the 1st 10 yrs of AD, and get their Masters by 15 yrs. They could have tried for OTS. Yet, they didn't.

    Not everyone wants to be an Officer. They want Officer pay, but not necessarily the position.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  8. BR2011

    BR2011 USAFA Cadet

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    I think that its because getting a degree proves that you have the ability to learn high level material, not necessarily that you know information on specific topics.

    This applies to the real world as well. For example, someone who graduates with an engineering degree doesnt have the ability to go out and build something right away, but they have proven that they have the ability to learn additional project specific material to eventually do so.
     
  9. Eagle 1

    Eagle 1 Member

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    And that's why I love this forum. Full, in depth answers.

    Thanks Pima :thumb:
     
  10. Emsa

    Emsa Member

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    You don't need a college degree to be an officer in the British military...


    I think its about something beyond the specific pieces of information you learn during your time at college, its about the development you go through during the process of college, the ways of learning, the ways of analysing knowledge, the ways in which you are encouraged to think that are very different to those you use at school. Also the maturity, Pima is right that 18 is very young not only to carry the responsibility of being an officer but also to know for sure that you want to carry it and college gives the space to work all that stuff out.
     
  11. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    School makes you think and challenge yourself. This I believe is a benefit of requiring additional schooling for higher ranks. But Pima is right, I believe, in her opinion that it is mostly a qualification standard.
     
  12. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    I concur.
     

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