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Quoting the language of the subcommittee, which gave special attention to the question of discipline, we will say that the board “has full faith and confidence in Superintendent Mills, and desires to express its most cordial appreciation of the resolute, upright, and successful efforts he has made to stamp out of existence a body of practices inconsonant with modern ideas and with the character of soldier and gentleman."
I invite especial attention also to the following recommendation of the board:
There was not a day, however, that the board did not realize that it would be the part of wisdom and good business sense to place the Military Academy, with all its natural advantages and physical imperfections, in the hands of an architect of recognized ability, with instructions to work out a plan that would correct all the discomforts and disadvantages now so painfully evident, and provide accommodation and equipment, not only to meet the enlarged demands of the institution at the present time, but calculated to answer for many years in the future. It has been nearly one hundred years since West Point was founded, and from the birth of the institution nearly all the improvements have been on the patchwork plan. There is but one building constructed by the Government at the post that is in harmony with this day and generation. All the others are old, uncomfortable, and entirely inadequate to meet present conditions. Few of them are equipped with any of the conveniences now to be found in the average public-school building in the country districts of many of the States. It can be truthfully said that there is a pressing necessity for a complete tearing down and a new building up. The policy pursued in this regard at Annapolis should be speedily adopted at West Point.
and to the statement of facts and arguments by which that declaration of the board is enforced; and to the recommendation of the board that provision should be made for a skilled librarian, to increase the usefulness of the extensive and valuable collection of works on military science and history for the Academy and for the entire profession.
The act of March 2, 1901, making appropriations for the support of the Military Academy, amended section 1319 of the Revised Statutes to read as follows:
Appointees shall be examined under regulations to be framed by the Secretary of War before they shall be admitted to the Academy, and shall be required to be well versed in such subjects as he may from time to time prescribe.
Under this authority action has been taken, with the concurrence of the academic board, to make the entrance examinations conform to the courses of study ordinarily covered in the high schools and academies of the country by boys of the average age of appointees to the Military Academy, and thus to substitute a natural examination upon the subjects the boys have been studying instead of a
highly artificial examination upon the elementary subjects which they had long left behind them in their school work. I do not doubt that the change will prove to be more fair to the boys, and a better test of intelligence, and will make it possible to improve the course at the Academy, and tend to do away with the pernicious system of attending special schools or employing special coaches to prepare for the examination. Arrangements have also been made to conduct the entrance examinations at a considerable number of places distributed throughout the country and convenient of access to the candidates and to accept certificates of proficiency from high schools and colleges in lieu of examination. The change in the requirements for examination will make it possible to devote more time during the course to the study of modern languages, and will open the door to other changes in the curriculum in the line of modern educational progress.
GENERAL MILITARY EDUCATION. Existing conditions make this subject one of primary importance at the present time. The imperative demand for the service of all our officers since the spring of 1898 has caused a practical cessation of all systematic education of commissioned officers for nearly four years. In the meantime, the ordinary additions to the number of second lieutenants have been, roughly speaking, about one-third from West Point and about two-thirds from the ranks and civil life. In the reorganization of the enlarged Army about 1,000 new officers have been added from the volunteer force, so that more than one-third of all the officers of the Army have been without any opportunity whatever for systematic study of the science of war. On the other hand, the rapid advance of military science; changes of tactics required by the changes in weapons; our own experience in the difficulty of working out problems of transportation, supply, and hygiene; the wide range of responsibilities which we have seen devolving upon officers charged with the civil government of occupied territory; the delicate relations which constantly arise between military and civil authority; the manifest necessity that the soldier, above all others, should be familiar with the history and imbued with the spirit of our institutions--all indicate the great importance of thorough and broad education for military officers.
It is a common observation, and a true one, that practical qualities in a soldier are more important than a knowledge of theory. But this
truth has often been made the excuse for indolence and indifference, which, except in rare and gifted individuals, destroys practical efficiency. It is also true that, other things being equal, the officer who keeps his mind alert by intellectual exercise, and who systematically studies the reasons of action and the materials and conditions and difficulties with which he may have to deal, will be the stronger practical man and the better soldier.
I can not speak too highly of the work done in our service schools for a number of years before the war with Spain. It was intelligent, devoted, and effective, and produced a high standard of individual excellence, which has been demonstrated by many officers in the active service of the past four years. There was, however, no general system of education. The number of officers who could avail themselves of the very limited accommodations afforded was comparatively small. The great body of officers were confined to the advantages offered by the post schools called "lyceums," which were, in general, unsatisfactory and futile. There was no effective method by which the individual excellence demonstrated could be effectively recognized, or the results attained be utilized.
After careful consideration and study of the subject a general scheme of instruction has been matured and embodied in an order, a copy of which is annexed hereto, marked “Appendix A,” and the general provisions of which are as follows:
INSTRUCTION OF OFFICERS.
With a view to maintaining the high standard of instruction and general training of the officers of the Army, and for the establishment of a coherent plan by which the work may be made progressive, the Secretary of War directs that the following general scheme be announced for the information and guidance of all concerned:
THE SYSTEM OF INSTRUCTION. There shall be, besides the Military Academy at West Point, the following schools for the instruction of officers in the Army:
1. At each military post an officers' school for elementary instruction in theory and practice. 2. Special service schools: (a) The Artillery School at Fort Monroe, Va. (6) The Engineer School of Application, Washington Barracks, D. C. (c) The School of Submarine Defense, Fort Totten, N. Y.
(d) The School of Application for Cavalry and Field Artillery, at Fort Riley, Kans.
(e) The Army Medical School, Washington, D. C.
3. A General Service and Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kans.
4. A War College, for the most advanced instruction, at Washington Barracks, D. C.
The War College shall be under the immediate direction of a board of five officers detailed from the Army at large and the following ex officio members: The Chief of Engineers, the Chief of Artillery, the Superintendent of the Military Academy, the commanding officer of the General Service and Staff College.
The War College Board shall exercise general supervision and inspection of all the different schools above enumerated, and shall be charged with the duty of maintaining through them a complete system of military education, in which each separate school shall perform its proper part. Such officers as shall be requisite to assist the board in performing its duties will be detailed from time to time for that purpose. It should be kept constantly in mind that the object and ultimate aim of all this preparatory work is to train officers to command men in war. Theory must not, therefore, be allowed to displace practical application.
The officers' schools at military posts and the General Service and Staff College will be open for instruction to officers of the National Guard of the several States, to former officers of Volunteers, and to graduates of military schools and colleges which have had officers of the Army as instructors.
The special-service schools will be open to officers of the National Guard and former officers of Volunteers who shall furnish evidence to the War Department of such preliminary education as to enable them to benefit by the courses of instruction.
The college staff at the General Service and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, will make report to the Secretary of War of qualifications of officers of the National Guard, ex-volunteers, and graduates of military schools and colleges, who shall have attended the college or shall apply for examination, and shall further certify whether or not they are qualified for service as officers of volunteers, specifying character of the service, whether line or staff, for which they are specially qualified.
A special register of the names of persons so reported as qualified will be kept in the War Department.
A register shall also be kept in the War Department in which shall be entered the names of officers of the Regular Army below the grade of colonel, as follows:
First. Officers who have heretofore exhibited superior capacity, application, and devotion to duty, the names to be selected by a board of officers convened for that purpose.
Second. Officers who shall be reported as doing especially meritorious work in the above-mentioned schools, other than the officers' schools at posts.
Third. Officers who at any time specially distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service.
It will be the aim of the Department to make this register the basis of selection for details as staff officers, military attachés, and for special service requiring a high degree of professional capacity.
This order, if loyally and persistently followed, will result in the building up of what is practically a university system of military education. The principal advantages which it is designed to secure are:
(1) The bringing of all the different branches of military education into one system under direct supervision and inspection by a body of officers whose special business it will be to make every part of the system effective.
(2) The establishment of definite required courses of instruction in the officers' schools, which will be the foundation of the whole system, in the place of the very loosely regulated lyceums, which in most cases were not schools at all.
(3) The establishment of the general service and staff college, upon the foundation of the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, so that every officer who displays superior qualities in the lower schools may be instructed there in every branch of military service.
(4) The completion of the series of instruction by the War College, which will ultimately be in effect a post-graduate course for the study of the greater problems of military science and national defense.
(5) The establishment of a record in the War Department, on which shall appear the names of officers who have exhibited special capacity, in order that they may be known by the Commander in Chief, and by the country whenever special service is required, and so that, although under the law meritorious service can not be rewarded by increase of rank or pay below the grade of general, it may receive the reward of recognition and honor and opportunity, to which it is entitled. This record will be made by a board of officers instructed and bound to select the names of those who are worthy, without reference to any consideration but their military records.
(6) The throwing open of the schools to the officers of the National Guard, of the former volunteers, and the graduates of military colleges and schools for instruction by and with the officers of the Regular Army.
The courses, both of the officers' schools at the posts and the general service and staff college, will be arranged so that the young men wishing to fit themselves for volunteer commissions may spend their vacations in military study. It is particularly desirable that a large number of young men should be made competent to perform the duties of volunteer officers in the staff and supply department Without such a class at the outbreak of a war, with a large volunte