Letters to the Editor

Naval War College partnership raises questions

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To the editor:

Imagine that. Though Brown trustees, administrators and faculty members rejected reestablishment of Navy ROTC on campus because they felt our military services discriminate against transgender individuals, our elite leaders are now excited by a partnership with the Naval War College (“U. plans partnership with Naval War College,” Sept. 17).

Of course, ROTC merely trains young men and women for commissions as line officers who do such ordinary things as fly planes, operate war ships and fire guns to serve our nation. The Naval War College partnership will focus on intellectual matters such as cybersecurity, nonproliferation, environmental change, foreign policy and politics.

The esoteric nature of those subjects has apparently overcome the concern of Brown’s leadership about prejudice against transgender individuals.

And the faculty’s objection to Navy officers in an ROTC program interloping in their domain must have abated if staff members of the Naval War College are to be welcomed in Brown’s classrooms. Perhaps the Navy officers will just be invited guests.

The proximity of the Navy establishment in Newport and the Naval War College to Brown was offered as an incentive for reestablishing Navy ROTC at the University during the Ruth Simmons administration, but it was not considered important.

Though Brown was willing to accept about $2,000,000 annually from the Department of Defense for research, the University did not want to see uniforms of the military services associated with that discriminating agency walking around campus. If a military presence was deemed appropriate for occasions such as Memorial Day, a unit was imported. Have things changed?

David Curry ’51

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