Shortage of Army Officers

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Just_A_Mom, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    From USNA69 "...I don't know their motives...."

    Finally, something we can all agree upon.
     
  2. Soylent

    Soylent 5-Year Member

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    I would definitely have to agree with this. I think the academies in general pay more attention to the bull**** on a high school resume than desire to serve. I think I remember on another forum about a kid who received a LOA only after he got a varsity letter. Does that **** really matter in the long run?

    My apologies for the use of expletives, but it amazes me that admissions can think that a couple years running track really makes a difference.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2007
  3. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Sorry, you won't get any sympathy from me here.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=1501


    The academies have established admissions policies long ago and fine tuned them ever since. Historical data shows that high school athletes, especially those in team sports, do better at the academy and graduate at higher rates than those who did not play team sports.

    With that said, there are a few each year who have other attributes which are strong enough to forego sports. Also, some are forced by economic restraints to have a job and have no time for athletics. If you fall into this category, I would recommend aceing the CFA.

    Why do you think Naval Academy football player graduates have noticeable higher fitness report grades, better promotion statistics, and a greater chance of remaining in the service past their obligated period?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  4. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    In order to get a jump start on admissions and to capture some of the highly qualifed, USMA has already commenced sending out LOAs, LOAs to candidates who have not even started the official application process. These offers, on most part, are based solely on the preliminary application. How many, I don’t have a clue. By reading Academy literature and interpolating posts from these forums, I would guess around 200 annually.

    I am presently sitting here looking at the list of USNA Admissions Dept. objectives. There are only a half dozen or so. Therefore, the following statements cover about half of them:
    -Show high interest in serving their country in the Naval service.
    -Of excellent moral character.
    -Likely to remain in the service beyond obligation.
    -Likely to complete a 4 year course of study.
    -Likely to choose a field of study that reflects the needs of the Navy.

    These are the reasons that the board is still meeting in March and April, agonizing over to whom appointments will be offered. These are the focus of BGO interviews. It is with these objectives in mind that records are scrutinized, essays are picked apart, and teacher recommendations are read carefully. I daresay that WP doesn't have a clue as to any of the above requirements of those offered LOAs commensurate with partial application data.

    The Naval Academy has the highest graduation rate of the academies. For the Class of 2007, it was 85%. West Point has the lowest graduation rate which is usually around 75%. Is WP more physically demanding? Are the academics more rigorous? I don’t think so. I think it is the overall qualifications of the entering classes. Early LOAs based on incomplete application requirements is depredating the quality of WP classes. It isn’t fair to the candidates who have worked so diligently to gain admission and are attending for all the correct reasons. The Admissions Department usually precedes any congratulatory remarks to BGOs by stating the graduation rate as proof that we are doing our jobs.

    I ask you, how can West Point make a legitimate evaluation of a candidate based only on a preliminary application?

    My theory is that candidates are entering the Academy, particularly those very early LOAAs may have any number of reasons for accepting an appointment, and some of them are not conducive to the mission of the Admissions Department. Also, one bad apple who is always whining and moaning about the physical and military training can spoil the whole basket. I guess an analogy would be RitcheyRich's or whatever his moniker of the day happens to be when he wants to make anonymous posts) opinion of what I am doing on this forum.

    Why do I care? First off, I see it as a waste of taxpayer money. Secondly, and more important, I see it as degrading the candidate pool for a great institution.

    Why am I bringing it up here? So that each of us can be aware of the situation, and both in person and online, educate these few potential bad apples as to why they are at a service academy, and that is to be a career military officer.

    I was hoping to get a couple more days of lively discussion out of this before I spilled my beans, but smiley and the commish called my hand.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  5. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    How can you predict the graduation rate of a class that just started plebe year 1 month ago? :confused:
     
  6. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Oops, 2007. However, 2011 did lose only around 25 or so, I think, over the summer.
     
  7. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    "The Naval Academy has the highest graduation rate of the academies. For the Class of 2007, it was 85%."

    Let's see.....17/20....=.....0.85. Hmmm; that's the same graduation rate as my wife's kindergarten class.
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    Looks like there will be 3 less applicants to West Point :) hehe, sorry, couldn't resist. :biggrin:
     
  9. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    "Looks like there will be 3 less applicants to West Point :) hehe, sorry, couldn't resist."

    Hmmm; is it wise to mock a "Super Moderator".....hmmmmmm?

    Fighting it off.....fighting......FIGHTING!!!...........uh oh.......wavering......wavering........caaaaannnn't reeeeesssssiiiiiissssssttttttt.....

    ahhh, what the hell......

    Hey, but let's look at it from the bright side; there will be three more applicants for the Merchant Marine Academy!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  10. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    Haha, not bad, not bad at all.
     
  11. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    I thought you'd enjoy that Doc, but you know you left me an opening I could sail a Liberty ship through.
     
  12. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Smiley, I basically quoted an article from the WP archives which stated that senior military officers and past graduates were not happy with the retention of present graduates. The article, not me, implies that the goals of some may have been simply an Ivy-League type education. By simply stating the findings in the article, you first tried to divert the discussion by attacking everything about me.

    By attempting to keep the discussion on track, I presented a possible reason. Instead of a logical discussion, you have now hijacked the thread to talk about your wife’s kindergarten class.

    Let me try to help you stay on focus.a little here. I assume your son completed the entire application, working diligently to complete every requirement in the most complete and correct manner possible. He did what was expected. The steps to a appointment, from the preliminary application to a plethora of interviews, and even the long pregnant wait, are meant to be difficult. Edwin Markham, an obscure poet, but a great source of inspirational quotes, says the following in one of his poems:

    I believe that the completion of a SA application not only requires perseverance, but also brings out the optimism, enthusiasm, pragmatism, activism, and industrialism in the candidate. All are attributes of a good officer and leader. An optimistic point of view allows the candidate to approach the goal positively, searching for the best solutions to each hurdle. Enthusiasm keeps him going when times get rough.. Being realistic and pragmatic allows him to disregard the hyperbole and concentrate on the real, always keeping one foot on the ground. An outstanding candidate is an activist. He does what has to be done. And when he does it, he is an industrialist, he rolls up his sleeves and works hard.

    Bottom line: He has both earned his appointment and improved himself immensely in his journey to gain an appointment. Smiley, tell me what the “free ride” has earned and learned.

    Tomorrow, perhaps we can further cement my argument by discussing the “free ride” versus the earned appointment, once they reach the Academy.

    An maybe later on, horror of horrors, even discuss that the well prepared applicant who is focused, at the academy for a specific reason, and graduates to a career that he desires, who will work harder preparing himself for combat, will enter combat totally prepared for every situation , have a higher probability of successfully completing his mission, and bringing both himself and his troops home safe and sound. Smiley, perhaps you can give us the mindset of someone in the same arena who is simply paying back a free education. But not to get too far ahead, let's now just stick with the application process.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2007
  13. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    A glutton for punishment, are ye?

    You know, I'm reminded of a joke that goes something like this:

    There was a hunter who told his buddies that come hunting season he was going to bag himself a bear. So hunting season comes around and off he goes into the woods. He spies a really big bear peacefully picking berries, aims his rifle at him, pulls the trigger, and misses. The bear, understandably annoyed that some jerk would shoot at him, grabs the hunter, performs unmentionable acts on him not appropriate for discussion in polite society and punishable by law in many states, warns the hunter never to return, and releases the unfortunate fellow to crawl home in shame.

    After several weeks of recovery in the local hospital, the hunter, again while drinking with his buddies, tells them he's going to get that dang bear and make him pay for his outrages.

    So the next hunting season rolls around, the hunter finds that same bear picking berries, aims his rifle at him, pulls the trigger, and misses again. The bear, now really pissed off, grabs the hunter, again performs unmentionable acts on him not appropriate for discussion in polite society or in front of hamsters and punishable by law in many states, warns the hunter never ever to return, and releases the unfortunate fellow a second time.

    Again, and after several weeks recovery in the hospital, the hunter swears a solemn oath to his drinking buddies that he’s going to get that @#$%ing bear if it's the last thing he does.

    So the third season rolls around, and the hunter again finds that same bear picking berries, but this time he’s got the drop on the big brute and has him right in his sights at point blank range. The bear knows he’s a goner, and that his berry eating days are over. The hunter aims his rifle, pulls the trigger, and for the third time misses again. The stunned bear, after recovering from his surprise, grabs the hunter by the collar, looks him in the eye, and says, “You’re not here for the hunting, are you?”

    But I digress….

    In answer to you,

    “Smiley, I basically quoted an article from the WP archives which stated that senior military officers and past graduates were not happy with the retention of present graduates.”

    The article states, “.... in the view of many senior officers and West Point alumni, owe the nation and the Army a debt of loyalty beyond the initial five years of active duty.”

    How many are “many”? Are we talking two, ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand? How “many” senior officers and West Point alumni believe those who leave have satisfied their debt to the Army and are free to contribute to the nation in the way they now see fit? You really have no idea whatsoever, do you? But more importantly, and central to this discussion, is that you cannot deduct what either group thinks about what motivated those leaving the army to join in the first place because the article doesn't elaborate on that point, now does it.

    “The article, not me, implies that the goals of some may have been simply an Ivy-League type education”

    USNA69, you are completely wrong again. The article never made that implication; it’s completely a figment and construction of your own imagination. You’ve simply made the incredible leap from, “.... in the view of many senior officers and West Point alumni, owe the nation and the Army a debt of loyalty beyond the initial five years of active duty.” and “who receive an Ivy League-quality education at taxpayer expense” to your inexplicable and callous statement that, “many, if not most, high cost WP grads are just looking for a free Ivy-League-quality education.” We’ll examine that illogical leap a bit more, shortly.

    “Instead of a logical discussion, you have now hijacked the thread to talk about your wife’s kindergarten class.”

    Actually, USNA69, there was a method to my madness, but I see that subtlety has alluded you. What everyone else has grasped is that while the percentage of students graduating from the USNA and my wife’s kindergarten class may be essentially identical, it would be in error in logic to attribute that coincidence to there being equally qualified students at both institutions, or that the two programs were equally rigorous. Similarly, noting that West Point graduates get an Ivy League education, and that “many” are displeased some of those same graduates leave after their obligation has been fulfilled, and from that deducing that such an education must be the only reason (“just looking” in your terms) for signing up, simply doesn’t follow. But of course Mom’s already pointed that out and I wouldn’t have though you’d need to have it explained again so soon.

    One last thought before I leave you. You recently wrote, “I think I can put up such a smoke screen that you will back down.” Don’t make the error of thinking that because someone fails to respond to something you’ve written that you’ve successfully laid down a smoke screen and that they have backed down. The reality is more likely that the lack of response is simply the result of apathy resulting from boredom with what has become a disappointingly poorly considered, repetitive, and pointless discussion.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me; winters coming.
     
  14. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    The question remains; why are WP grads bailing out of an Army careeer seven times the rate of ROTC grads. I have simply presented what is, to me, a logical scenario. I have begged for others. Between bears and kindergarten classes, I take it you don't have a response. Have a good winter.
     
  15. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    "I have begged ...."

    #$& @#$# it, I can't stand it when a grown man begs....

    The answer you seek, USNA69, is partially contained within this portion of the article:

    "Across the entire Army this spring, 3,420 newly commissioned junior officers are expected to enter active duty, according to the Army’s personnel office. Of those, 1,124 — about one-third — have agreed to serve an extra three years in uniform under the new program.

    According to Army statistics, 718 signed up to choose their career track, 289 contracted for the graduate school opportunity — 257 of them from West Point — and 117 wanted to pick the location where they, and their families, would be based."

    It appears that one of the primary differences is that given the choice between career track, graduate school, or location, West Point graduates put a significantly higher value on graduate education than their piers from other commission sources, with almost 90 percent of those choosing this option coming from West Point. As for the why, here's my completely unsupported and unsubstantiated, but yet curiously brilliant, speculation:

    When the average new cadet enters West Point he or she has just come from a high school where for the past four years his or her peers have been raving about how much fun they are going to have when they blow their little town and head off to college. They're going to do what the heck they want, when the heck they want to do it, and nobody’s going to stop them. There won't be any parents breathing down their necks and telling them what to do or not do, where to do it or not do it, and when to stop or not stop doing it. Ahhh, but the entering West Point cadet does not pass Go, and does not collect $200. Well, yeah, actually they do collect $200, but that's a different matter entirely.

    Now the ROTC students and the OCS candidates have just finished four or five years of this grand and almost never ending party before they enter the Army. They've experienced the parties, the booze, the debauchery, the absolute freedom, until they've puked; both literally and figuratively. So when they enter the service they're starting right out of civilian life; the service is a change; a unique and challenging experience and environment.

    Contrast that to the USMA or other service academy experience. It's nothing but military 24/7/365. Freedom; it's a concept they defend rather than experience. Parties; only if you don't mind the odds. Debauchery; well sure, if you're at Annapolis.

    So when their service obligation is up, perhaps that same West Point graduate that entered the Army as a 18 year old, and nine years later is now a 27 year old and knocking on the door of old age (from their perspective), is curious as to whether there really is something to all of the excitement about civilian colleges. Perhaps those junior officers just want to experience something they've been thinking about for the last ten or fifteen years. Certainly, they've experienced something completely different in their own nine year stint in the Army.

    But the Army knows this, or something like it, and offers West Point graduates the opportunity to further educate themselves, and to experience something that just about every other college student in America, for better or worse, already has. That the cadets "responded at levels even higher than anticipated by senior officers at the military academy" is not at all a surprise from where I sit. That the offer seems weak in comparison to the obligation incurred, and that yet over 40 percent of the West Point class chooses to accept the offer before they've even graduated, only verifies that continued education, perhaps a reconnection - if even only for a short time - with their civilian peers at a fun and stimulating non-military environment, and continued service to the nation within the Army, are what the West Point cadets really want.
     
  16. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    And your response has certainly taught me the hazards of begging. I have learned my lesson.

    I have an idea that both the ROTC students whom you have totally trashed and maybe even their parents will argue with you here. Curious, definitely, but brilliant, no.

    You're joking

    Yeah, you're joking

    No, you can't be. The whole basis of your argument is contingent upon this being true.


    A few observations:

    So we are spending taxpayer dollars to give our West Point grads a two year tour of Disneyworld.

    If this were true, all the other services would be having the same retention problems with their graduates as the Army is having with WP grads.

    Perhaps my depiction of the "free ride" appointments is more true than I thought if WP grads are still wondering, 9 years later, if they made the correct choice. I can in no way, shape, or form see this as a positive portrayal of the dedication and maturity of a WP grad.

    The article mentions Stephen Kuo, Class of 2000, who is in the private sector and also recruiting his fellow WP grads. Since he is the sole quote in the article prior to the new retention incentives, grad school was neither his incentive nor that of his recruits. Am I making a wild assumption to assume that the writer of the article is implying that the lure of private sector careers is an issue in this retention problem? As an aside, I have a special distaste for grads who openly recruit from active duty personnel.

    Nope, smiley, I don't think your response was brilliant but, even though you totally and unsubstantially trashed the entire Army officer corps, it did show some "thinking" and was a vast improvement over most of your diatribes, of which one has to ignore the majority of the comments and then be critiqued for not grasping the subtlies of a freight train.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2007
  17. ChipAyten

    ChipAyten 10-Year Member

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    *gasps*

    Im sure all the ROTC Cadets/Midshipman at
    The Citadel
    Norwich
    Texas A&M
    VMI
    North Georgia
    Virginia Tech
    All the state Maritime Academies

    will take offense to that.

    By the time they commission the only personal difference between a federal service academy and ROTC officer is their high school records 4 to 8 years in the past. Which is especially true in SMC officers. Getting a hundred more points on the SAT's has little bearing on their potential as an officer when they get their butter bars.

    Considering college is essentially high school with a dorm room you have to give kudos to those who choose to become an officer by virtue on their intent to serve. Maybe I am a little less cynical than most people but I doubt that a high school students primary motivation for attending west point is the free ride. Especially when their chances of an appointment are generally not great
     
  18. Zaphod

    Zaphod 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Agree.

    Agree.

    Agree.

    Disagree, simply because the statement is too broad. The previous ones dealt with averages, while this one is absolute.

    Someone doing ROTC and taking a double-engineering major at MIT will most likely have a harder time than a guy doing history at USxA.
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Yes, especially after all of "the parties, the booze, the debauchery, the absolute freedom, and the puking". :rolleyes:
     
  20. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme 10-Year Member

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    Chip, I agree with you about The Citadel, Norwich, Texas A&M, VMI, North Georgia, Virginia Tech, and the state Maritime Academies, because they're not the same as a civilian college.....unless I'm wrong and they are as some of the responders seem to imply.

    Let me make sure I'm clear on this. Are you all saying that there aren't parties, there's no booze, and debaucheries been outlawed at colleges these days? Well then, what the hell's the point of going there?

    And are you all saying the ROTC students have to follow the same SOP as the service academy cadets and mids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I've always had a great deal of respect for those dedicated young men and women, and now I'm even more impressed. But those of my son's friends who have taken the ROTC option because they wanted a more traditional college experience before entering the service are in for a very rude surprise.

    USNA69; thank you so much for your responses. I am truely honored. Also, I see you're still hunting.