Then Vs Now

“This commitment to excellence must permeate everything we do. I will not compromise my decision to advocate winning in accordance with our values of duty, honor and country….

I have great concern being called a liar after more than 42 years of honorable service to our Nation and many years serving here at West Point.”

Robert Caslen, USMA ’75, Superintendent of the US Military Academy, in a Supe’s Letter to Graduates, 12 October 2017, responding to the letter that LTC Heffington wrote.

“The University of South Carolina accepted the resignation of Bob Caslen this week after the embattled former leader of the school admitted he plagiarized part of a commencement speech.

The school announced Wednesday that the chairman of its board of trustees had accepted Bob Caslen’s resignation, according to reports. Former President Harris Pastides will serve as interim president of the university while school officials search for a permanent president. 

In a letter this week to students and staff, Caslan said he was “truly sorry” for sharing a quote from Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the successful raid that targeted and killed Osama bin Laden. 

The quote from McRaven comes from his now-famous speech to graduates at the University of Texas in 2014. Caslen acknowledged that he delivered two paragraphs without attribution during the Friday address. “

The Hill, 5/13/21

Plagiarism is an honor violation at USMA. But this is not unexpected from the proponent of the change “from an ‘attritional’ model to a ‘developmental’ model without compromising our standards.”

There has been little visible response or change in the USMA programming or leadership approach since the Spenser Rapone debacle and that exchange in 2017.

Bob Caslen graduated USMA in ’75. Darryl Williams graduated USMA in ’83. They reached General ranks in the early to mid ’00s.

Our early data sets captured the classes of 2000 to 2020. So we can expect the decline in standards that took place over that interval, and which is still presumably in progress given the news we hear from West Point, to bear full fruit in the Army in the next 15-25 years as those classes (especially 2010 onward) make their way into the field grade and general officer ranks.

Long after the people responsible for the problems are gone will the soldiers and nation bear the consequences of their short-sighted, politically motivated changes. The worst part to us is the wasted potential of the Academy. We’ll never know the Army that could have been.

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