Making West Point more useful

7 January 2010

Another West Point item, i.e., another part of the largish section of my site on the history of West Point: one more idea for restructuring it, or reforming it, or improving it — How to Make West Point More Useful. The 1894 article suggests a significant increase in the number of cadets, who are, however, to be divided into four groups, following respectively a 4‑, 3‑, 2‑ or 1‑year course, with the longest-trained graduates continuing on to the Regular Army, and those following the shorter courses to act as leaven in the National Guard. The author overlooks the horrific problems this would cause with morale and esprit de corps — look what happened with the World War I classes (Waugh, pp147‑150) — but his ideas have, in the main, been adopted in today’s army: at 4000 strong the Corps produces more graduates than he recommends, OCS provides the second tier of officer training, in just about the same proportion (3/4 of American army officers), and the Guard has been much more tightly integrated into the national army.

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