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Small Wars Journal
Imagine receiving a free undergraduate education at one of the best colleges in the United States. The military academies provide this. Any economist, however, will tell you that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The American tax payer foots the bill for all those who are admitted to attend one of the military’s academies. In exchange, these citizens will commission as officers and serve an obligation of five years on active duty. The most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a section directing the Secretary of Defense to assess if this five-year service obligation should be extended. Congress is now questioning if the increase in the cost of educating and training should equate to an increase in time served for graduates. In short, is the nation getting “an adequate return on investment for a service academy graduate?”
Fust, George, "Current Military Academy Service Obligation: Good for Civil-Military Relations" (2019). West Point Research Papers. 215.
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