Why armies should Commission from the ranks more often.
Some fresh-out-of-college kid who partied their way through 4 years should not get to become a Lieutenant in a military that relies on all parts to work together (and properly) in order to fulfill its mission. Enlisted soldiers who show potential should be chosen over these fancy paper holders who have no real value beyond the fact that they graduated from university and can now brag about their achievements however minimal they truly are in reality.
NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers), especially senior NCOs like Staff Sergeants and so forth have to listen to these fresh butter bars (Second Lieutenants; the colour of their collar bars is gold hence the nickname) who may be smart if they listen to their senior NCO who grooms them for leadership, but ultimately they are in charge and get to be the boss from day 1 while the senior NCO who is the backbone of the armed forces has to listen to these brats – does that sound right to you?
Sure it may be a meritocracy in name: go to school and become an Lieutenant. Yet it isn’t a meritocracy when money is involved, it becomes a plutocracy where wealth determines everything (just let me rant here folks; one can argue that it is a meritocracy in that if you are willing to go into debt to earn your degree than your merit shines over your financial situation. I disagree that one has to go into debt to get ahead but everyone is entitled to their opinion – I am entitled to write mine here). Indeed the military would be wise to promote those who show potential to become officers rather than keep this ancient class-based rank structure that has lasted beyond its time.
Back in the day officers came from the nobility; wealth meant that they could go to college and their blood (that was the concept) meant that they were born to lead no matter the opinion of the common man. Today we know that to be a lie, and if we are to live up to modern values than this system of preferential treatment of university graduates over college or trade school grads who show leadership potential (even high school grads who seem fit to lead can be taught how to lead) has to pass into the pages of history. The United Kingdom does not have a requirement for officer candidates to possess a university degree, they just have to pass the selection course and attend the military academies that dot the country.
Commissioning from the ranks also saves money in that a candidate with leadership potential can go through OCS (Officer candidate school) and enter the service without the whole expensive testing that takes place in order to select fresh-off-the-street university kids who might even quit halfway – at least if the NCO quits it is not a total loss.
Ultimately what I am proposing is commission from the ranks more than recruit for officers via direct entry. Yes certain fields like medicine and legal professions need direct entry, but for logistics, combat, and other military-specific tasks promotions from within helps the organization to grow and gives young lads and ladies a chance to become better than their starting point – something many who wish to do so cannot afford to and thus end up stuck in the lower ranks for the entirety of their career. Why limit officer jobs to those who can afford to apply; open it up just like the rest of the government and make it so that people have a chance to truly live and breathe a meritocracy and its values rather than dream of one; dreams usually end when one wakes up.