USMA lengthens service obligation to 6 yrs??

matthew454

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Jan 26, 2018
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I received my appointment to USMA 2024 yesterday. LGT Williams's letter, sent along with the BFE, says "Graduates are obligated to serve on Active duty as Army officers for at least six years after graduation."

Do other people have to same wording on their appointment letter? I have not had news about USMA changing its 5 yr active, 3 yr IRR obligation until reading the LTG's letter. Is this a typo, or has the active duty obligation actually been changed?

I'm still signing up tho even if it's 6 years. I just wanna know what's up. Thanks.

View attachment 4722
My son’s letter says five.
 

jl123

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To unilaterally change the terms at the conclusion of an an agreement, and then bury the change in the middle of an acceptance letter, is ethically questionable.

Part of Honor training includes: If you are uncertain whether an act is honorable, ask yourself if you would feel you were being taken advantage of if you were in the other person's position.

The people who thought it was a good idea to experiment on candidates need a refresher course. It is deceptive and sends the wrong message about how to exercise leadership.
 

parentalunit2

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To unilaterally change the terms at the conclusion of an an agreement, and then bury the change in the middle of an acceptance letter, is ethically questionable.
I totally see what you are saying here, but technically the agreement hasn't even begun yet. Terms for a job offer can change right up until you sign on the dotted line. You just need to know what you are signing to. I view this in the same light. The agreement begins (exists) once a candidate hits Accept.

I don't question what USMA admissions is doing here, I am just fascinated at how they are going about it. I doubt they will lose any candidates over the additional year, so they probably should have just said up front, beginning with Class of 2024 the army is raising the AD commitment to six years. Hopefully they will just make the change known for 2025, if that is their intent. Transparency would be nice, buy hey. Army.
 

Goat 965

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I totally see what you are saying here, but technically the agreement hasn't even begun yet. Terms for a job offer can change right up until you sign on the dotted line. You just need to know what you are signing to. I view this in the same light. The agreement begins (exists) once a candidate hits Accept.

I don't question what USMA admissions is doing here, I am just fascinated at how they are going about it. I doubt they will lose any candidates over the additional year, so they probably should have just said up front, beginning with Class of 2024 the army is raising the AD commitment to six years. Hopefully they will just make the change known for 2025, if that is their intent. Transparency would be nice, buy hey. Army.
Agree. I would not be surprised that if, depending on the percentage of Cadet Candidates who got the 6 yr letter show up on R day and stick, they make it an across the board policy next year. Maybe that's the point of the sampling. I doubt that the kids thought about this when taking the survey, and saying that a 6 year commitment would not affect their decision to apply, and accept, if appointed. They are kids, and probably thinking that saying yes made their app look better?
Either way, my DD is a Yuk, and it sounds like the Sec of the Army could decide that all current Cadets are increased to 6 years. Not much she can do about it, so she would adapt and overcome.
 

eastcoastdad

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Agree job terms can change at any time but you have the option to leave a job at anytime. Very surprised that an institution with such a strong emphasis and history of developing Honor would slip this in for some individuals in the acceptance letter at the last minute. I know most of these kids will still accept because this is a life long dream, they have worked so hard to get through the process, they want to serve etc etc. But that doesn't make it right and whether they realize it or not they are being taken advantage of to some degree.
 

billyb

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I don't think this is an honor issue at all. I am not a fan of it only affecting some people, but it is what it is. The way to stop them from doing it in the future is for everyone that got a 6 year commitment to turn down the appointment. If it's the same acceptance rate as the 5 year, then they have proven their theory and probably everyone will have a 6 year next year. I don't blame them for wanted to extend the AD time. Things change.
 

jl123

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The difference between this and a job offer is that this negotiation is between two unequal parties.

In a job negotiation both the employer and the candidate can change the terms. The candidate can demand an additional $5,000 in salary, moving expenses, etc. during the negotiation. Both the employer and candidate can accept or reject the terms. They are roughly equal parties.

Also, any changes in corporate policy affect a whole class of employees, not just randomly selected ones.
 

kinnem

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The difference between this and a job offer is that this negotiation is between two unequal parties.

In a job negotiation both the employer and the candidate can change the terms. The candidate can demand an additional $5,000 in salary, moving expenses, etc. during the negotiation. Both the employer and candidate can accept or reject the terms. They are roughly equal parties.

Also, any changes in corporate policy affect a whole class of employees, not just randomly selected ones.
Candidates can still refuse the appointment. This isn't between two unequal parties, it's just that one isn't going to negotiate... just like many employers in the real world.
 

parentalunit2

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Agree job terms can change at any time but you have the option to leave a job at anytime.
True that.
Just ask the 40 cyber graduates from Class of 2019 how 'valid' their original 'contract' with the army was! You just have to take whatever they are givin' at any point in time.

Side note: Last night friends of ours, who are not on this board, posted their son's coveted BFE on FB. DH comments back congrats and did he get 5 years or 6 years? They had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. They checked the letter and were a bit flabbergasted to see that he got the six. Again, he had already hit Accept. Though I believe 5 vs. 6 isn't enough to change anyone's mind; it's not like they are doubling it from 5 to 10.
His mother, a USMA grad, was NOT happy though! It is a bait and switch, and I particularly like the term up-thread of 'shady'.
 

txfwindian

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True that.
Just ask the 40 cyber graduates from Class of 2019 how 'valid' their original 'contract' with the army was! You just have to take whatever they are givin' at any point in time.

Side note: Last night friends of ours, who are not on this board, posted their son's coveted BFE on FB. DH comments back congrats and did he get 5 years or 6 years? They had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. They checked the letter and were a bit flabbergasted to see that he got the six. Again, he had already hit Accept. Though I believe 5 vs. 6 isn't enough to change anyone's mind; it's not like they are doubling it from 5 to 10.
His mother, a USMA grad, was NOT happy though! It is a bait and switch, and I particularly like the term up-thread of 'shady'.
were there more cadets asking for cyber than slots?
 

jl123

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were there more cadets asking for cyber than slots?
Yes. 56 cadets had Cyber as #1 choice. 20 more had Cyber as #2 choice. The numbers are more significant given the requirement that only specified majors (or equivalent) are eligible for Cyber.

The initial allocation was 27 slots. Two weeks before Branch Night the allocation was raised to 40. All branches had some change up or down, but Cyber was by far the most significant change.
 

txfwindian

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Yes. 56 cadets had Cyber as #1 choice. 20 more had Cyber as #2 choice. The numbers are more significant given the requirement that only specified majors (or equivalent) are eligible for Cyber.

The initial allocation was 27 slots. Two weeks before Branch Night the allocation was raised to 40. All branches had some change up or down, but Cyber was by far the most significant change.
thanks for the info. What majors were eligible for Cyber? I am assuming computer science, what other maor ( if any)? Were all the slots take even with the extra 1 year ADSO?
 

jl123

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Candidates can still refuse the appointment. This isn't between two unequal parties, it's just that one isn't going to negotiate... just like many employers in the real world.
As an employer I have been on the losing end of decisions in which judges scrutinized the difference in power between employer and employee. In each case they placed significant weight on the responsibility of the party with the greater power to deal fairly with the party of lesser power. Note: California employment law is an uphill battle for employers. ;)

In this case it is not a question of whether it is legal, rather whether it is honorable and done in good faith. For the following reasons I believe it was not honorable and not done in good faith:
  1. It has been common knowledge that the active duty obligation is 5 years
  2. It was never communicated to candidates that they could become part of an experiment that would increase their active duty service obligation
  3. Candidates went through an exhaustive application process and, assuming admissions was dealing in good faith, made decisions that may have limited other opportunities, such as Early Decision at other colleges.
  4. The only notice of their additional obligation was a single character in the middle of an acceptance letter changed from 5 to 6.
  5. Each of those reporting the 6 year obligation were surprised and no one has claimed to have been aware of this program's existence.
Perhaps there was ignorance of how this might be viewed, but it is difficult for me to conclude that there was no intent to deceive - not illegal, but certainly of questionable honor to anyone familiar with West Point's honor code and its consideration of deception.
 

jl123

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thanks for the info. What majors were eligible for Cyber? I am assuming computer science, what other maor ( if any)? Were all the slots take even with the extra 1 year ADSO?
I don't recall all eligible majors, but definitely Computer Science, Math, Electrical Engineering

Yes, all slots incurred 1 year ADSO. Some also chose BRADSO, which could add another 3 years. The value of the experience is well worth the additional year. I would anticipate consideration of an even longer ADSO at some point depending on retention.
 

Casey

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The academy/army is already taking the best years of my life. What's one more year? lol also I heard that aviators have to stay AD for the full 8 years. Can anyone confirm?
This is similar to the discussion earlier about AF pilots serving 10 years from flight school graduation. Army AV just recently extended the flight school ADSO from six to eight years for rotary that doesn't begin until you complete flight school. Its a separate ADSO from your commissioning source but effectively means you'll be on AD for the entire period of your commissioning ADSO. The ADSOs run concurrently (not added to one another).
 

kittkatt

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May 16, 2016
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For me it's that USMA is treating members of the Class of 2024 differently when it comes to ADSOs. And this different treatment doesn't look like it results from any cadet decision/selection (e.g., BRADSO, branching decisions) or, frankly, without the cadets even knowing about it during the application process. Even if USMA can get away with it legally, not sure this is what it means to "lead."
 

MemberLG

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Many valid points, but useless discussion other than some candidates will read their appointment letter again or more carefully. Regardless, how much we pontificate, for this admission cycle those 6 year offers will stand. Who knows what will happen next year. Either you are all in or not. Unfortunately, military service is one way street - they take but might give back (I.e. How are our veterans being treated). I interviewed many kids as a member of nomination panel. I gave some benefit of doubt when I asked what’s your plan if you don’t get accepted by a service academy and the answer was go to a civilian college and become an engineer/doctor/business.
 

Soldiergriz

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I communicated with my FFR, and the people who posted above are right. The academy is doing an experiment to see if candidates will decline their appointments if the duty obligation is increased to 6 years.

The academy has actually sentenced people with this letter to six years, and there appears to be no way to opt out of this experiment.
I'm all in tho Hooah!

I'm still suspicious about how official this is since the method of informing seems quite casual and unsystematic. We will have to wait and see if USMA will commute this to 5 yrs, or if they will follow through even after the class is filled and the experiment
 
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