Naval Academy . . . A Crucible for Warriors
(See J. Fowler, pp. 14-18, October 2007 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander Andrew M. Biehn, U.S. Navy—As a former Naval Academy instructor (Strategy and Tactics Course from 2000-2002) I am heartened to read about Vice Admiral Fowler's efforts to refocus the academy on its core mission of preparing combat leaders for the Fleet and Marine Corps in the areas of competence, character, and compassion. His initial actions to tighten the rules governing midshipmen life are on target, but they are undoubtedly the low hanging fruit in the larger campaign required to ensure the Naval Academy is the premier undergraduate training institution for naval officers. Vice Admiral Fowler correctly points out that "midshipmen leading midshipmen" while valuable, does not provide the full introduction to Fleet leadership that will best prepare future officers. In order to better train Fleet leaders, the Naval Academy needs to conduct some serious soul-searching to determine how it can best prepare midshipmen in terms of competence, which may require significant change to its academic philosophy.