Why Pentagon is Failing to Keep its best and brighest

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by MemberLG, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

    Jan 4, 2011
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    Another piece "against" the Army by Thomas Kane in a Foreign Policy article


    On a side note, I believe one of the study mentioned showed that overall retention rate for senior officers (MAJ and up) were higher for West Point vs othe sources of commission. So this begs the question as to how do we evulate the effectiveness of West Point as a as source of commission?
  2. bruno

    bruno 5-Year Member Retired Staff Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    I didn't read the Atlantic/ Foreign Policy article that Kane has written, but I have the original study (link below). To begin with- the study does not say that they started at a 90% retention rate and have now declined . What it shows is that the studied group (YG 1996) were at 90% at the 4.9 year mark and dropped to the 70% range at 5 years- at which all sources are about equal. From there- USMA and 4 Yr ROTC scholarship winners drop precipitously to slightly above 40% respectively at the 7year point. (see page 41 -43 of the study.)

    Is it a crisis? I don't know. It's an interesting study that raises some interesting points. Frankly I think that the Army has done a miserable job of managing its personnel for the last 70 years so I seriously doubt things will change much. Is USMA really more effective than given credit because of the relatively high % of above center of mass OERs in field grade officers? - Interesting and debatable point of view I think. How do you quantify that value and determine what is "cost effective"?

    I think that whatever value it (and the other Service Academies) have, the burgeoning cost per graduate is going to seriously put their value in question regardless of the % graduates make up of the senior officer ranks. It's one of the reasons why I find the "big check " practice not only silly, but seriously counter to the best interests of USMA, because bluntly- from the perspective of a tax payer - if a 4 year full ride to MIT costs $225k - then for anyone to trumpet that a full ride to USMA is $400k is to spit in the eye of every Tea Party taxpayer who already thinks that the Government spends too much on everything. (Yes- I know that the method of calculation of the "scholarship value" at a SA is fuzzy and not exact and includes lots of things that aren't comparable to a scholarship- except that by doing this you make them comparable in the public eye. If you want to advertise those numbers then you will get hit with them at the worst possible moment!) Those schools have a lot of fixed overhead- so declining class sizes are going to actually increase the cost per grad, which then increases the pressure even higher to"demonstrate" the effectiveness of the program- Anyone dealing with aircraft procurement knows this cycle. So it seems to me that from a self preservation aspect alone if no other reason, this is an issue that the Army needs to be looking at in detail just as the study has done, and treating it as a crisis.

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013

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