Editorial: Military academy process is political
Military academy process is political The United States' four military service academies -- the Army, Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine -- are long known for helping create the top military leadership in the world. However, getting a nomination...
Military academy process is political
The United States’ four military service academies - the Army, Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine - are long known for helping create the top military leadership in the world.
However, getting a nomination to one of these service academies by a member of Congress is often more a matter of patronage than abilities. A report in the USA Today Tuesday found that those nominations often go to children of friends, supporters and donors to the lawmaker’s political campaign.
Nominating individuals to a service academy remains a 171-year-old patronage perk of each member of Congress. Each member of Congress and the vice president can nominate up to fi ve members to the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. The Merchant Marine Academy uses a slightly different system.
The reality of these service academy nominations is that there is no standard process on how lawmakers make their nominations. Each of the 435 lawmakers runs their own show.
The USA Today report found the following findings:
The majority of the lawmakers’ nominations list remain secret. Less than half of the lawmakers shared their nomination lists with the newspaper.
There is no universal standard for governing lawmakers’ nominations.
Some of the nominated’ families have contributed more than $171,000 in campaign donations to lawmakers.
The lawmaker nomination system does a poor job of providing for racial diversity. Many minority applicants get in through special admission programs.
With Congress currently so dysfunctional, one wonders why America is still depending upon these lawmakers to be the primary nominators to the nation’s service academies. It is time to make nominations through a uniform process that is not tainted by politics.
To do that, the first step is removing the process as a congressional perk.