Education, Military


Education, Military, training of the officers and enlisted (or conscripted) personnel of a nation’s military and naval forces. The goal of such training is to equip members of the services with the basic skills and discipline needed for appropriate action under the stress of combat. Qualified personnel may receive more formal education to enable them to advance professionally.


Until the mid-18th century, military training was restricted to drill and acquiring knowledge of weaponry and tactics primarily from practical experience in battle. The technological evolution of warfare, however, led to the establishment of formal military and naval academies specifically for training professional officers. Prussia was a pioneer in this field with the establishment in 1810 of the Kriegsakademie (War Academy) in Berlin. Today, in Germany, the universities of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) are primarily technical and scientific in orientation.

In France, a two-track system evolved. L’École Polytechnique serves as a general technical university for army, naval, and civil service personnel, whereas L’École Spéciale Militaire, founded in 1808 by Napoleon, provides two years of initial military training. Originally located at St Cyr, it is now based at Coëtquidan. Advanced military training is provided by the École Supérieure de Guerre.

In 1947 the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, founded in 1802, was combined with the older Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, founded in 1741, to form the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Until World War II broke out in 1939, British army officers had been trained in artillery, communications, and engineering at Woolwich or received cavalry and infantry training at Sandhurst. Naval cadets are trained at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; air force cadets at the RAF College, Cranwell. The Imperial Defence College serves as the school for senior service personnel. The emphasis on military élitism in the Soviet Union was reflected by the maintenance of 21 strongly research-orientated military academies on a level with civilian universities.

In the United States, the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) programmes in high schools and colleges prepare students for commissions in the Army Reserve. The United States Military Academy is a four-year engineering college whose graduates are commissioned into the Regular Army. Corresponding service institutions are the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, and the US Merchant Marine Academy (see Merchant Marine of the United States).

The US Department of Defense maintains the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., which trains senior officers and selected civilians in theories and procedures relevant to national security.


Current trends in military education reflect rapid changes brought about by technological innovation and are geared to national security requirements. Advanced courses taken at civilian colleges and universities play a major role in supplementing the educational experience of selected personnel (primarily officers). In the United States, integration of women into the service academies was begun in 1976. On fulfilling their mandatory obligations or on retiring from the services, many embark on civilian careers in management or in professions requiring the skills acquired in the services.


List of beautiful militaries: