Best Taxpayer Value
Perhaps it can't be "taught." But individual capacity for leading can surely can be stimulated, developed, encouraged, and enhanced. Total immersion in the culture of the service academies produces men and women willing to put mission above self, country before comfort. Countless West Pointers believed the Academy prepared them for future responsibilities. Lee, Grant, Eisenhower, Bradley, even MacArthur, gave credit to West Point. As do Generals Petraeus and Odierno among others today.
Good leaders come from many sources. But West Point is the only institution of higher education devoted exclusively to creating leaders of character for our Army and the nation. Its graduates still lead from the front and are paying a high price in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tom Ricks continues to do good work. But his gears seem to be meshed regarding the academies. As an academic institution, West Point has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any university except Harvard, Yale, and Princeton; more Hertz Fellowships ("for rare young scientists and engineers,") than any but MIT, Stanford, and Princeton; and even gained a high spot in the 2009 US News & World Report ratings of liberal arts colleges. Opportunities for leader development abound at West Point: a unique leadership laboratory and reservoir of standards for military professionalism. A true national treasure, given the price of things these days it may be the best return on the money that taxpayers can get!
Posted by: simonh68 | April 29, 2009 10:14 AM
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