Forbes Magazine’s 2010 list of America’s Best Colleges, which assessed 600 undergraduate programs nationwide, ranked the US Air Force Academy at #11 in the nation. Other military academies also fared well in a list that equated the service academies with other highly recognized institutions:
These rankings put service academies in the same tier as Ivy League colleges. The Air Force Academy placed at No. 16 in 2008 and No. 7 in 2009.
For the 2010 rankings, the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., ranked fourth on the list, while the U.S. Naval Academy came in at 29th, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy ranked No. 105, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy earned the No. 165 ranking.
The US Air Force Academy recently reported some of the results from its 2009 climate survey. The survey is similar to those given to other military units in order to assess everything from racial relations to quality of life.
The superintendent, LtGen Mike Gould, is reportedly focused on instilling an atmosphere of respect for human dignity, and he has seen some success:
In many ways, the climate has shifted toward greater respect for all Airmen here regardless of their race, gender, religious beliefs or socioeconomic backgrounds. Read more
Douglas Johnston is president and founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington, D.C. He is also a US Naval Academy graduate who retired as a Captain in the reserves.
Even though he is a Christian, he brings a unique perspective to international relations and religion:
Because Islam literally means, “submission to God,” Johnston once told a hostile group of 57 Taliban commanders, religious figures and tribal leaders, meeting with him in the mountains of Pakistan, “we’re all Muslim.”
Johnston undoubtedly has his critics and supporters. However, he and his organization make one point abundantly clear: religion cannot merely be “dismissed,” as some would have it. Sectarian faith is a central to the lives and cultures of billions around the world. The integration of an understanding of faith with government, military, and public operations will benefit nations’ strategic goals. Conversely, ignoring the instrinsic value and importance of faith will hinder national objectives, whether they be diplomatic, military or even humanitarian.
It should be common knowledge by now that the US military academies routinely rank among the best colleges in the country by a variety of standards. The academies routinely top the Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges, and all the military academies were on it. Of course, having a quality education with zero tuition does much for the value calculation.
The academies also top the 2011 Best Colleges pubished by the Princeton Review (see the 2010 list), which includes relative ranking criteria on a variety of “interesting” subjects. The Air Force Academy again rises to the top on most conservative and most religious students. The other academies were also consistently near the top on conservative, politically active, and “least happy” students, with slight variations. (One unusual hit was at the Merchant Marine Academy, which took low marks on its professors.) Other rankings: Read more
A slew of recent articles were recently published on the entrance of the new military academy classes into their summer training sessions. It was interesting to see a pattern emerge with reference to each of the institutions:
Class of 2014 most diverse in USNA history
This year’s plebe class is the most diverse in Naval Academy history, officials said…
CG Academy: Outreach pays off in diverse class
The Coast Guard Academy’s incoming class of freshmen is one of the most diverse in school history, according to academy officials…
Class of 2014 joins Long Blue Line
The diversity of the incoming [USAFA] class is unprecedented, said…the director of Admissions.
Of course, the military benefits from the integration — not the suppression Read more
Bruce Fleming, a 23-year professor of English at the US Naval Academy, publishes a fairly scathing critique of the military academy construct at the New York Times (oddly timed as the Academies host their graduations this week). He blasts the cost, the apparent lack of unique ability, preferential treatment of football players, the apparent trend of “unofficial affirmative action,” and the “backdoor” for less-qualified students in the preparatory school.
Fleming has long been a commentator on, and largely a critic of, the institution that employs him (and he has received some grief for it). He questioned Read more
President Obama spoke at the US Military Academy commencement at West Point on Saturday. Admiral Mullen will address the US Air Force Academy graduation on Wednesday. The Naval Academy graduation will be addressed by Vice President Biden on Friday.
Obama’s address, which can be viewed at the White House website, contained some interesting quotes. Many focused on his stated “international order” and missed his statements on religion and war: Read more
The Herndon Monument climb, a tradition over which the outgoing superintendent of the US Naval Academy Vice Adm Jeffrey Fowler had already expressed displeasure, was done without the lard and water-spraying of previous years. As a result, the first year midshipmen managed a near-record time of 2 minutes and 5 seconds, as opposed to the more average time of 2 hours or more.
This was not the first time for either the absence of water (banned last year) or a slicked up monument, though it has been decades since the plebes scaled the obelisk without the challenge of lard.
The change was reportedly “to improve the safety of the event.”
The Naval Academy graduation is this Friday.