An academic view of USMA

One more addition to the largish section of my site on the history of West Point: a 1937 paper, titled Military Education in the United States: A proposal to Differentiate Training into Pre-Military and Military. It’s a critique of West Point by an educator, a professed admirer of the Academy, who doesn’t let that blind him to what he views at its flaws from an academic standpoint: (1) the non-military education suffers because the instructor and professorial staff is grossly unqualified; (2) this non-military education (calculus and French and so on) could be dispatched in a civilian college, bumping up USMA to a school teaching exclusively military subjects: a proposal rather like pre-med before med school; (3) the professorial staff is inbred, by and large themselves products of the Academy, and thus less likely to be aware of the need for change.

The well-intentioned suggestion is one of a family of such proposals over the years in favor of turning West Point into a technical school. As far as I can tell, the teaching staff is now much more academically qualified, but some of the author’s other points still seem to be valid, in particular the inbreeding, which has been looked at much more recently by other outsiders with the same general assessment. I can’t say much for his solution though; turning West Point into a technical school, no matter how high-quality, misses the boat somehow, and even graduating cadets as first lieutenants as he proposes: this guy’s approach would give us a sort of a cross between USMAPS and the War College; no go.

The homepage of my American history site (24 books, 11,000 pages of print, 600 images in 700+ webpages) is here.

One Response to An academic view of USMA

  1. David R. Graham says:


    Roger, concur! Thanks, always beneficial to have in view the full range of opinion and insight in re our beloved Academy. That is what Grads must face every day, so best to start them dealing with it from R-Day and before.


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