The United States Corps of Cadets and its structure Austrian officer candidates at West Point

Raymond E. Bell Jr.

 

The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, has been host to officer candidates from visiting countries for more than one hundred years. This article, then, describes the United States Military Academy and provides a perspective on some of the aspects of the participation at the Academy by the Austrian exchange officer candidates. Austria is an active participant in United Nations endeavours, and members of its armed forces have served along side of Americans in international undertakings. To give West Point cadets a solid academic grounding leading to positions of responsibility such as those in the international community, the breadth of courses offered at the Military Academy must be impressive. It is in such an educational environment that the international officer candidate can flourish. Austrian officer candidates come to West Point with a thorough grounding in the English language and a fluency which makes it easy for them to actively participate in class discussions and exercises with their American cadet counterparts. Beside an intense intellectual experience the attendance of Austrian officer candidates for a semester’s study at the United States Military Academy can not help but be beneficial to their military service in the world today. A look at how such an officer candidate can take advantage of a semester at West Point is instructive for those in Austria’s armed forces who may, in the future, have the opportunity to serve along side an American counterpart. At the same time the Austrian officer candidate brings a rich cultural background to one of America’s premier educational institutions and enhances future U.S. Army officers’ appreciation for dealing with situations in an international environment. That two of the oldest military education institutions in the world have entered into a viable relationship through the exchange of students can only benefit future cooperation and understanding of armed service members of the two countries.