The Corner

Military and Affirmative Action

Thanks for all the e-mails. Here is a good one. Does this sound right to people?

E-mail: “The reason affirmative action works for the services is we are the only employer who has the time, energy, and resources to provide the extra oomph to get the poorly prepared person to parity with their peers, officer or enlisted. Officer candidates accepted to the academies don’t miss class – they walk ‘tours’ and suffer other unpleasant consequences if they do. They have mandatory study hours – and people check to ensure they are studying. Their peers are organized and motivated to help them if they need it (key cultural component of military morale).

If they are doing poorly, they are in remedial classes almost immediately. There are people from upperclassmen, tac officers, and faculty whose job it is to spend the extra time with these people to get them past their deficiencies and up to the minimum standard and beyond. The same is also true of soldiers in general – at least in basic training. Once you get into actual deployable units the support is somewhat less, and more variable based on leadership and other constraints – but in our initial entry processes (OTHER than the ROTC) the support structure is immense. If you aren’t properly prepared, but are willing to put in the time, we’ll get you through.

But, as I said, no one else can afford that. And if you are an ROTC cadet – that kind of support isn’t really there, either. Why? Because you are where, a major university, like, oh, say, Michigan? While the ROTC cadre will do what they can, there are only 3-8 of them or so, and may not have the academic background or experience to help, and don’t have resources to procure that help if it is available – and unlike academy cadets, who are subject military discipline, ROTC cadets are not, except in a limited fashion after they sign the contract.”

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