What the Service Academies Need

America’s military academies, including the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the U. S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado are tuition-free colleges that exist specifically for the undergraduate education and training of officers for the United States armed forces.

Apparently they have some room for improvement. According to a brief piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The United States’… military academies… offer a basically sound education to current and future members of the armed forces, but there are areas needing improvement, according to a report issued today by the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. The report [was] described by the panel as the “first comprehensive Congressional review” of the nation’s professional military-education system in 21 years.

Of course all schools have room for improvement. One specific point in the report was that the military academies were not so effective (“the subcommittee found mixed results”) at cultivating of military strategists. In addition, the report indicated that, while the academies were very good at responding to changing geopolitical and strategic concerns, these changes were mostly reactive. The services academies did not appear to anticipate changes and build curricula based on that.

As a way to build those necessary military strategists, the report recommended “sponsoring additional junior officers for civilian masters’ and doctoral degrees in strategy-related disciplines (e.g., history, political science, economics, international relations) at top-tier civilian universities.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer