West Point Opens Doors to Afghan Applicants

DefendAmerica News

For the first time, Afghan candidates may have an opportunity to attend West Point this fall.

A total of 146 nations have been invited to select six nominees to apply for admission into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Out of 840 international nominees, only 10 will be chosen, with no more than two selected from any one nation.

My strong suspicion is that, if there’s one even remotely qualified, an Afghan cadet will make the cut.

Afghan soldiers selected to attend West Point will return to Afghanistan upon graduation and serve a 10-year commitment as officers in the Afghan National Army.

“Those who attend West Point and later join the [Afghan National Army] will bring a wealth of educational experience and also a strong foundation of values and principles to their Army,” said Lt. Col. Maureen Cantwell, a 1985 West Point graduate who now serves with the Afghan National Army Plans and Design Team for Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan.

“Their country will also gain legitimacy and credibility as a competitive member of the international community in education and leadership of their new officers,” she said.

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“If Afghanistan is to become a viable, strong and legitimate country that promotes human rights and individual freedoms, the officers who are leaders in the [Afghan National Army] can promote change within the military by valuing, demonstrating and promoting respect, integrity and honor,” Cantwell said. “This would be a strong, positive impact on the [Afghan National Army] as well as the surrounding communities.”

Very interesting, although obviously mainly a PR move given that we’re talking one cadet, tops. One would think this would also signal Afghan officers going to other Professional Military Education courses such as Command and General Staff College and the War Colleges, if they’re not already.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.