Lick, lick, lick, lick
I hear the the self-licking ice cream cones furiously licking themselves.
Whether you or I like it or not we are now entering an era of ever increasing federal government fiscal constraints.
To deal with this Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) and established a goal of cutting at least $2.1 trillion for the next 10 fiscal years. About $450 billion of that is slated to be cut from defense. But Congress did not identify $1.2 trillion dollars of the goal. So the BCA created a “supercommittee” of 12 Members of Congress. If they failed, and they did, then sequestration would force a further $600 billion dollars of defense cuts.
So unless Congress changes course the Pentagon will be scrambling very hard to cut expenditures. Already there are serious discussions of increasing military retiree contributions to Tricare.
And what is driving this money crunch? Exploding Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid outlays.
When choices have to be made, like how many F-35s will be produced versus the size of the officer commission source budget, then the Air Force will demand justification of the Air Force Academy for its allocation of about 75 percent of that budget. You can easily hand out full ROTC scholarships for young people to get a Stanford University engineering or a University of Notre Dame philosophy degree and save bunches of money in place of running an Air Force Academy.
In my opinion, if the Air Force Academy refuses to engage in serious reforms of its honor system, it should no long be providing undergraduate education. Maybe on a much smaller scale it could continue to function as a military training facility.
With respect to what I said about military decorations, you misunderstand me. I agree with you that you can’t justify the Air Force Academy or promote any particular background of airmen, sailors, or soldiers on the basis that that source produced a military hero.
There is no easy way out here. The days of throwing money at the Air Force Academy and pretending that the best is happening without serious accountability are coming to an end.
According to the General Accounting Office, in fiscal year 2010 $1.6 billion was spent on West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy. Combined the enrollment of cadets and midshipmen is about 13,000. Over 50 million people receive Social Security.
Go ahead and wage the political battle of funding the Air Force Academy at the expense of funding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Let's see how far you'll go with that one.
You want to play the game of "here's a heroic graduate, so let's perpetually fund the place without questions." Game on.
Name one USAFA graduate who received the Medal of Honor for combat valor (excepting Lance Sijan for his heroic efforts as a Vietnam War POW). By my count there have been 18 recipients of the Medal of Honor who served in the Air Force. Other than Sijan, not one graduated from USAFA.
Yes, USAFA graduates, Karl Richter and Stephen Ritchie, received the Air Force Cross. But most of the recipients of the second highest military decoration did not graduate from USAFA.
Do you need to be a service academy graduate to be a Navy SEAL? Of course not.
While there have been a few USAFA graduates who committed acts of heroism, far many more very brave airmen have not.
Of you don't need to have an officer's commission or graduate from a service academy to be a military hero. Look at the rolls of recipients of the highest military decorations for evidence of that. Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, was underage when he joined the Army.
The Armed Forces is now in an era of having to make difficult fiscal budget choices. In this period, the Air Force Academy must justify its cost effectiveness as compared to other commissioning sources.
Petersen, playing the game you just lost doesn't help that effort.
Gould’s mouthpiece, The Gazette, said that the Inspector General’s finding of “negligence” by Born and Fullerton of lying about faculty credentials was a “slap on the wrist”. No wonder the cadets’ toleration of honor code violations is “Rocky Mountain high in Colorado”.
The Air Force Academy is a Cold War relic that’s lost its way. Yet in the last decade billions of dollars has been spent on the school. Apparently to no net benefit as compared to sending off cadets to regular and far less costly colleges. Maybe the place should be shut down to cut off the money spigot that supports the welfare queens of the Religious Right.
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