Get rid of West Point? I think not.

A small tempest has been stirred up by Tom Ricks in the Washington Post and on his blog when he wrote about the service academies.  The title of the Post article was “Why We Should Get Rid of West Point,” where he opined regarding the necessity of the service academies.

As my previous blog on West Point Founder’s Day indicates, I’m a grad and I obviously disagree with Tom on this issue.  I think the service academies, for all their faults (and over the years I have articulated many) are value added to the services, particularly West Point and the Army, with which I am familiar.  The great challenge at the service academies is to remember they are not just academic institutions, but rather, they are academic institutions whose purpose is to provide top quality leaders to our military.  Recent reforms at WP indicate to me that the WP leadership understands what the army needs for leaders, and WP is doing just that.

Others have taken on Ricks on the particulars of his arguement so I won’t do that.  I would like to point out, however, that WP is a tier one undergraduate college.  That’s not the Army’s ratings but how both Newsweek (#1 public liberal arts and #5 undergraduate engineering program) and the Forbes magazine (#6 overall) rate it.  It is a great quality education and produces talented individuals.  The difference between WP and other top tier colleges, is that WP’s mission requires its  alumni to use their talent as army officers in  service to the nation and taking care of soldiers.  I think WP, though not a perfect institution, does that well, and the Army, soldiers, and tax payers benefit because of that.

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