Phi Beta Cons

That Other Department

SecDef Gates recently talked about the military and academia:

The final topic I want to discuss briefly is a related one: the state of relations between the Department of Defense and academia. While there is a very strong relationship built upon past and present research – especially in the hard sciences – I worry that in the public sphere there is often the view that we are at loggerheads.

His remarks are best described as “diplomatic” — i.e., he doesn’t give hippie professors what they truly deserve, which is a good tongue-lashing. He does make several sensible proposals, including this call for colleges and universities to promote ROTC and military recruiters:

The small number of universities that do not permit ROTC programs tend to be higher-profile, and thus receive a disproportionate amount of attention whenever the issue of the military on campus comes up. We must move past whatever antagonism to ROTC still exists and demonstrate respect at the highest levels for those who choose to serve – whether that is by attending ROTC commissioning ceremonies, actively promoting the military as a career option, or giving full support to military recruiters on campus regardless of whether that access is tied to federal funding.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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