Under Scrutiny: U.S. Military-Service Academies – Do the Academies Deserve to Continue? – $400,000 Per Graduate – What Are the Alternatives?

Source: THE CHRONICLE

October 8, 2012

The Few, the Proud, the Infantilized 

By Bruce Fleming

Pat Kinsella for The Chronicle Review 

The U.S. military-service academies—at West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), Colorado Springs (Air Force), and New London (Coast Guard)—are at the center of several debates, both military and civilian. The military is downsizing, and the federal budget is under scrutiny: Do the academies deserve to continue?

They’re educational institutions, but do they actually educate, and furthermore, do they produce “leaders” as they claim to? And are they worth the $400,000 or so per graduate (depending on the academy) they cost taxpayers?

After all, we already have a federal program that produces officers—an average of twice as many as those who go to the academies (three times for the Army)—at a quarter of the cost. That program is ROTC, the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which has expanded considerably since World War II, when the academies produced the lion’s share of officers.

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