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Old Jan 3, 2013, 09:40 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by GermanyChris View Post
When I graduated in '94 the service academies said the top 1% could apply. You needed a letter of recommendation from your senator or congressman, have taken at least one fine art, played one sport, and have held a leadership role in your school. The rest of us needn't apply.
I graduated in '90, was in the top 1% (top 2), played three varsity sports year round for 4 years, played an instrument, and was otherwise one of the top students in my school. I had recommendations from my Senator and a Presidential candidate, as well as a Congressman. I was the #2 guy in my state as far as combined physical testing, and I had better than 20/20 vision and basically perfect health.

Despite all that, I was lucky to be accepted. The competition for those spots was the most intense I have ever faced. In hindsight, I probably should have gone.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:20 AM   #27
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When I graduated in '94 the service academies said the top 1% could apply. You needed a letter of recommendation from your senator or congressman, have taken at least one fine art, played one sport, and have held a leadership role in your school. The rest of us needn't apply.
Applications aside, did anybody read the article? Knowing academy teachers and graduates (who here has that) echo exactly what that teacher says year after year says something. I wish I could have them sign up for Macrumors and set a few here straight. Seeing master's level students take high school Algebra II at the senior naval service academy (Naval Postgraduate School) is a complete slap in the face to all of us here who have suffered through real college math and graduate school math.

OK, to make it hard to get in is one thing, but not allowing that rigor to continue is just wrong. There are some law schools, who I won't mention, who have awful records on the California bar but are very hard to get into (most if not all American law schools are hard if not more than the small amount of students being a cause) and have people who have had good undergraduate GPAs. But what counts is if they can get out, pass the bar, and work as lawyers if that is their goal. At least a school should afford that. Who wants to pay $150K or more for law school and learn little or nothing. This could be said of some expensive medical schools, dental schools, MBA programs, etc. My alma mater, while a great MBA school with results, has a terrible law school. There are a few other country club law schools here, too who are babysitting stations for rich kids/adults who still don't know what they wanted to do when they got their BA or BS, or didn't have the math to make a medical program or top MBA school. My old school loves to pull undergrads who seem to be disproportionately from eastern brahmin schools, come from money, and vote very conservatively and have no qualms about high tuition. Their dismal 60% percent bar passage rate is a travesty though but the country club types who populate that school don't mind since they have daddy's money anyway.

In short, if you are going to cost a lot (either to student or to taxpayer) don't hide behind tough entrance requirements or some sort of "history" of an institution. If you pay a lot, you should get what comparable institutions of similar cost offer the student. There's a reason that so-called well regarded military schools, more senior to some of the academies, didn't get full regional accreditation (including transferable units and civilian recognition like the regulars, ie) Cal, Harvard, SUNY, Ohio State, etc, until Secretary Leon Panetta made it so for those military schools.

I have heard, close your ears, BRAC concepts on shutting down important pillars like Fort Bragg, certain if not all bases in Germany and Japan, Bethesda, and Ft. Ord (oops, did those last two). BRAC which I worked on too is not exactly a happy thing but necessary for the survival of the military. It's better to have one base or installation well funded and ready that for there to be two under-performing, understaffed, and underfunded entities.

Also with similar Operation Transition from the DoD, there once was a great need to slim down a lot of Colonels and not one of them had a bad resume but their decent salary and huge number of them making the officer corps top heavy was not practical for a post-war military. It's going to happen again with thinning out of upper end officer corps and make many wonder why they got rid of such a person with a master's, or two, but kept a large number of E-4s. But that's not how the military runs lest we have 0-6s out their carrying rifles into battle.

Obama will use a lot of his term having to make cuts in our government spending, and DoD will be the one to get slashed the most. Even with half of our military, and fewer ships than we had in 1900 according to Mitt, our military will do fine. It's better to cut schools and hospitals before we start deciding to pull the plug on Bragg, or Germany or Japan. Before it's all done, there will be some major bases closed down as we will hopefully be in no wars and not in the two war front we have seen for a long time.

I am glad Mcrain went to a regular college and then law school because with working his butt off at high school/prep school and getting all that done he would not have been happy with the academy experience mentioned in the article or what the service grads and teachers tell me. If you have the mind and the drive, are 17 or 18 and ready to roll, then hey academies, don't waste their time.

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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:26 AM   #28
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Seeing master's level students take high school Algebra II at the senior naval service academy (Naval Postgraduate School) is a complete slap in the face to all of us here who have suffered through real college math and graduate school math.
You do realize that not every master's level curriculum requires math? What if the student had majored in English, military history, or some other non-engineering/technical related field. The academies offer an entire range of options, some of which don't require the students to take "real college math."
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:45 AM   #29
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You do realize that not every master's level curriculum requires math? What if the student had majored in English, military history, or some other non-engineering/technical related field. The academies offer an entire range of options, some of which don't require the students to take "real college math."
Let's say she wasn't an engineer, which she is and a senior officer now even though it was "software engineering", and took something like national security studies? What other regular school lets a high school level algebra II class count as three units of graduate credit? Remember that 30-36 units is all you need for a master's degree.

I am sure you had to earn your degree at your regular school, am I right?

Her explanation, or one she said people used to shut up college grads like me was, "Do you sit yards away from a North Korean soldier trained to kill you? I think I (we) have earned the right to have that master's degree." That sounds like Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men.

Yes, you have the right to be a hero, and I applaud you, but nobody has the right to a master's degree because you suited up and stared down a North Korean. Those are two different things. Should somebody be given a JD, MD, or MBA because they got wounded twice in Iraq?

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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:50 AM   #30
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You do realize that not every master's level curriculum requires math? What if the student had majored in English, military history, or some other non-engineering/technical related field. The academies offer an entire range of options, some of which don't require the students to take "real college math."
Hell, I have a MS in CompSci and I never took any math above Calc I. You don't need DiffEq to write a compiler, etc.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:54 AM   #31
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Hell, I have a MS in CompSci and I never took any math above Calc I. You don't need DiffEq to write a compiler, etc.
Wow, are we talking high school first semester calculus and you have that techie related master's? Well, you are right in that CS grads, maybe even the advanced degrees, don't need calc. But try telling that to most colleges.

I have seen too many CS grads who can't code themselves out of a box and maybe the schools should drop the math and actually teach a few more classes in the languages they are likely to code in. That being said, most CS grads wash out in the business, at least in San Jose.

Anyway, back to topic but DoD cutting stuff and cuts in general as the president will have to face a republican house three more times this year. If not the service academy or academies, then what bases or installations should we cut in a peacetime military or should be start cutting away at something like social security?

I would lose less sleep if they closed the academies than actually dismantle Fort Bragg and special operations command versus the other way around. While I think cuts need to be made on government spending (and I am a registered democrat), I don't want to pare down military and government like some extremist teapublican. At least traditional republicans see the need for a government and defense though they are being pulled by the extremists. We can't just ban the government, give everybody a six shooter, and call it a day.

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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:22 AM   #32
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The cost quoted is much less than required to train a physician, but arguably soldiers have much more opportunity to cause harm if they make an error (you might want to think of the damage artillery, bombs and missiles can do before you debate this point). Besides, as I understand it, most officers go on to additional training as they progress through their career. I see nothing wrong with giving our military leaders the best training we can, even if it is expensive.

It might be worth considering the main means of reducing the costs of military training: replacing humans with autonomous machines. To my mind that is infinitely more worrisome than the amount of money we spend now on training. Mark my words: we have made a mistake in going down the route of using AI and drones to fight our wars. It devalues the one unrivaled military asset the US and allies have: a highly trained professional military.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:32 AM   #33
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The cost quoted is much less than required to train a physician, but arguably soldiers have much more opportunity to cause harm if they make an error (you might want to think of the damage artillery, bombs and missiles can do before you debate this point). Besides, as I understand it, most officers go on to additional training as they progress through their career. I see nothing wrong with giving our military leaders the best training we can, even if it is expensive.

It might be worth considering the main means of reducing the costs of military training: replacing humans with autonomous machines. To my mind that is infinitely more worrisome than the amount of money we spend now on training. Mark my words: we have made a mistake in going down the route of using AI and drones to fight our wars. It devalues the one unrivaled military asset the US and allies have: a highly trained professional military.
USS Mobile Bay is interesting in that vein and also check this out:

http://smart.asee.org/

Actually, these have probably been put on the table for discussion as either wasteful or immoral. Personally I don't see a Terminator type debacle quite yet as we are centuries away from thinking machines who may lodge a coup on its creators. It does make for fun science fiction though.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:05 PM   #34
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Applications aside, did anybody read the article? Knowing academy teachers and graduates (who here has that) echo exactly what that teacher says year after year says something. I wish I could have them sign up for Macrumors and set a few here straight. Seeing master's level students take high school Algebra II at the senior naval service academy (Naval Postgraduate School) is a complete slap in the face to all of us here who have suffered through real college math and graduate school math.

OK, to make it hard to get in is one thing, but not allowing that rigor to continue is just wrong. There are some law schools, who I won't mention, who have awful records on the California bar but are very hard to get into (most if not all American law schools are hard if not more than the small amount of students being a cause) and have people who have had good undergraduate GPAs. But what counts is if they can get out, pass the bar, and work as lawyers if that is their goal. At least a school should afford that. Who wants to pay $150K or more for law school and learn little or nothing. This could be said of some expensive medical schools, dental schools, MBA programs, etc. My alma mater, while a great MBA school with results, has a terrible law school. There are a few other country club law schools here, too who are babysitting stations for rich kids/adults who still don't know what they wanted to do when they got their BA or BS, or didn't have the math to make a medical program or top MBA school. My old school loves to pull undergrads who seem to be disproportionately from eastern brahmin schools, come from money, and vote very conservatively and have no qualms about high tuition. Their dismal 60% percent bar passage rate is a travesty though but the country club types who populate that school don't mind since they have daddy's money anyway.

In short, if you are going to cost a lot (either to student or to taxpayer) don't hide behind tough entrance requirements or some sort of "history" of an institution. If you pay a lot, you should get what comparable institutions of similar cost offer the student. There's a reason that so-called well regarded military schools, more senior to some of the academies, didn't get full regional accreditation (including transferable units and civilian recognition like the regulars, ie) Cal, Harvard, SUNY, Ohio State, etc, until Secretary Leon Panetta made it so for those military schools.

I have heard, close your ears, BRAC concepts on shutting down important pillars like Fort Bragg, certain if not all bases in Germany and Japan, Bethesda, and Ft. Ord (oops, did those last two). BRAC which I worked on too is not exactly a happy thing but necessary for the survival of the military. It's better to have one base or installation well funded and ready that for there to be two under-performing, understaffed, and underfunded entities.

Also with similar Operation Transition from the DoD, there once was a great need to slim down a lot of Colonels and not one of them had a bad resume but their decent salary and huge number of them making the officer corps top heavy was not practical for a post-war military. It's going to happen again with thinning out of upper end officer corps and make many wonder why they got rid of such a person with a master's, or two, but kept a large number of E-4s. But that's not how the military runs lest we have 0-6s out their carrying rifles into battle.

Obama will use a lot of his term having to make cuts in our government spending, and DoD will be the one to get slashed the most. Even with half of our military, and fewer ships than we had in 1900 according to Mitt, our military will do fine. It's better to cut schools and hospitals before we start deciding to pull the plug on Bragg, or Germany or Japan. Before it's all done, there will be some major bases closed down as we will hopefully be in no wars and not in the two war front we have seen for a long time.

I am glad Mcrain went to a regular college and then law school because with working his butt off at high school/prep school and getting all that done he would not have been happy with the academy experience mentioned in the article or what the service grads and teachers tell me. If you have the mind and the drive, are 17 or 18 and ready to roll, then hey academies, don't waste their time.
I did read the article and I did move a bit off topic for that I apologize. Is the intent of USMA to create scholars or is it to create leaders of men? IMHO the point at USMA is to create leaders of men. The most sought after branches for USMA grads is Infantry. The infantry takes maybe the top 8-10%, that should give an indication of the intent. Thats what I meant when I said the Army is human organization we require fewer scholars and technicians than the other services.

My rater is a retired O6 an ROTC grad and engineer. My senior rater is a retired O-6 and USMA grad, a Logician I don't think of either as "better" or "smarter" than the other. I have a peer that is a USMA grad '00 history former Infantry Captain and is not by any means dim.

In the same vein http://edition.pagesuite-professiona...a-db2745ae54a8

The front page of the Stars and Stripes "Is no-draft military creating a warrior class?"

Maybe that is the problem no new blood?
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:10 PM   #35
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...Personally I don't see a Terminator type debacle quite yet as we are centuries away from thinking machines who may lodge a coup on its creators. It does make for fun science fiction though.
Agreed, but my worry is not so much Terminator but the mitigating the lead we have in the training of our professional military. It takes much less effort to mass produce automated machines than to train people.... In the long run introducing AI into warfare might very well be counted as a spectacular own-goal for the West.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 03:07 PM   #36
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Applications aside, did anybody read the article? Knowing academy teachers and graduates (who here has that) echo exactly what that teacher says year after year says something. I wish I could have them sign up for Macrumors and set a few here straight. Seeing master's level students take high school Algebra II at the senior naval service academy (Naval Postgraduate School) is a complete slap in the face to all of us here who have suffered through real college math and graduate school math.
As was pointed out subsequently, Algebra was not considered important for History majors in the past, although I could make the case for two years of undergrad math being required for USMA grads. AND, History.

One of the things the article discussed was the outdated "in loco parentis" stance of the academies, as well as the outdated (education being much more widely available now) inefficient four undergrad years. It would probably make more sense to make the academies grad schools that require entrants to be at least 21 years old AND have four-year degrees. Making them grad schools would have the additional advantage of getting them out of the football business, which is demonstrably a waste of time and money. The annual Army-Navy football game would have to go, but, it no longer serves the needs of the nation.

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OK, to make it hard to get in is one thing, but not allowing that rigor to continue is just wrong. There are some law schools, who I won't mention, who have awful records on the California bar but are very hard to get into (most if not all American law schools are hard if not more than the small amount of students being a cause) and have people who have had good undergraduate GPAs. But what counts is if they can get out, pass the bar, and work as lawyers if that is their goal. At least a school should afford that. Who wants to pay $150K or more for law school and learn little or nothing.
I don't think this is a good analogy. Some law schools with relatively low 1st-time bar exam pass rates believe that they are training future Federal judges and focus a lot on Federal law including constitutional law and so on, and, their policy is that memorizing for the state bar is the students problem. Other, more affordable law schools focus on passing the bar. I have no problem with either approach as long as the students are clear what they are getting for their time and money.

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I have heard, close your ears, BRAC concepts on shutting down important pillars like Fort Bragg, certain if not all bases in Germany and Japan, Bethesda, and Ft. Ord (oops, did those last two). BRAC which I worked on too is not exactly a happy thing but necessary for the survival of the military. It's better to have one base or installation well funded and ready that for there to be two under-performing, understaffed, and underfunded entities.
I think the Federal government should stop trying to cut everything else to pay for medical care and figure out how to deal with medical care. Every other industrialized country has a national medical care system of some sort that provides at least for the elderly and indigent.

Every budget cut is another short-term perturbation to the economy that we don't need right now. The time for cuts, whether it is BRAC or anything else, is when unemployment is low and inflation is an issue. Cutting the military in the short-term doesn't help the medical care cost issue that is the driving problem in the Federal budget, as well as most state and local budget issues.

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Also with similar Operation Transition from the DoD, there once was a great need to slim down a lot of Colonels and not one of them had a bad resume but their decent salary and huge number of them making the officer corps top heavy was not practical for a post-war military. It's going to happen again with thinning out of upper end officer corps and make many wonder why they got rid of such a person with a master's, or two, but kept a large number of E-4s. But that's not how the military runs lest we have 0-6s out their carrying rifles into battle.
Agreed. But, this should be viewed with a long-term strategy in mind, not as a short-term budget issue. How big should the military be and does it have what it needs to win? Not as an "efficiency" issue. A smaller military with the correct but expensive training required to win, rather than a military that delivers a certain number of soldier-hours at the lowest cost.

We also need to look carefully at why certain bases are where they are and how they work with the local military. Bases in Korea and Japan are there for different reasons, but, the purpose is to reduce the risk of a war that would inevitably involve the U.S. Cutting the bases to save money would be a very bad idea if it increases the likelihood of war.

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Obama will use a lot of his term having to make cuts in our government spending, and DoD will be the one to get slashed the most. Even with half of our military, and fewer ships than we had in 1900 according to Mitt, our military will do fine. It's better to cut schools and hospitals before we start deciding to pull the plug on Bragg, or Germany or Japan. Before it's all done, there will be some major bases closed down as we will hopefully be in no wars and not in the two war front we have seen for a long time.
As long as we are willing to pay taxes, we can afford schools and a right-sized military. It is very clear that we will have to change how health care is delivered, however.

Last edited by jnpy!$4g3cwk; Jan 3, 2013 at 03:49 PM. Reason: change in emphasis
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:55 PM   #37
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We also need to look carefully at why certain bases are where they are and how they work with the local military. Bases in Korea and Japan are there for different reasons, but, the purpose is to reduce the risk of a war that would inevitably involve the U.S. Cutting the bases to save money would be a very bad idea if it increases the likelihood of war.
Every single base and installation will have strong arguments when the axe starts falling. I didn't like that the local major army fort, with the only specific training for fighting in Afghanistan, was closed. However, when it was closed we didn't have a war there so it seemed justified at the time. Hindsight is so 20-20.

I know the cuts are going to be deep and Uncle Sam could use the money elsewhere as there is only so much money. I question the sizable presence we have in the countries of former WWII adversaries and some of that could be cut, not all of course. If what the article from the first post is even remotely true, I think we can do more than well with smart officers from OCS and ROTC. I don't think we will need as many large battle, cold war type of bases and need to hang onto more specialized types like Special Forces at Fort Bragg, and maybe even only some of those. Seal Team Six and the rumored entity of Delta Force who the army still denies are absolute necessities in today's world. Of course, anything military regarding cyber warfare may make sense to keep around. That being said the current administration is going to make some big cuts and something, or parts of something, has to go. We have the top military in the world and after giant cuts, we will still be on top.

Whether one thinks we can use the saved money to improve healthcare or not is a totally different thread. But healthcare and defense are two big federal expenses.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:55 AM   #38
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Having been accepted to USMA and USMMA, I'll just say that the education isn't 'free.' Academies target career oriented cadets who will spend their career leading and training other soldiers. The minimum is eight years (5 active, 3 reserve), but many stay until forced retirement. So yeah, my cost was only $2k but a large chunk of time is owed upon commission.
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