This is not a good idea. This is not even very well supported with the examples cited to float the idea. Take care to note there is no evidence to support the opinion, no raw data, no study, just a gut feeling and the anecdotal example of David Petraeus given, which makes no sense considering he is a 1974 West Point graduate.
After covering the U.S. military for nearly two decades, I've concluded that graduates of the service academies don't stand out compared to other officers. Yet producing them is more than twice as expensive as taking in graduates of civilian schools ($300,000 per West Point product vs. $130,000 for ROTC student). On top of the economic advantage, I've been told by some commanders that they prefer officers who come out of ROTC programs, because they tend to be better educated and less cynical about the military.I just don't know what to say. Probably one of the dumbest things I ever read written by Tom Ricks, and certainly the least well researched.
We should also consider closing the services' war colleges, where colonels supposedly learn strategic thinking. These institutions strike me as second-rate. If we want to open the minds of rising officers and prepare them for top command, we should send them to civilian schools where their assumptions will be challenged, and where they will interact with diplomats and executives, not to a service institution where they can reinforce their biases while getting in afternoon golf games. Just ask David Petraeus, a Princeton PhD.
I think Ricks is speaking in ignorance. Based on my research, assumptions are challenged at the Naval Academy, it is after officers get into the service where the culture of conform and copy comes into influence. Maybe he sees something at West Point, but I don't think he ever went to either the Naval Academy or the Naval War College to research this opinion.