By Brandon OConnorJuly 17, 2019
WEST POINT, N.Y.-- The U.S. Military Academy hosted six members of the House of Representatives for a tour July 7-9 to talk about the future needs of the academy as it works to develop future leaders for the Army.
The congressional representatives were invited by Rep. Steve Womack, the chair of the Board of Visitors, to tour West Point's training facilities and learn more about how the academy is working to prepare Soldiers to lead in future combat.
"I think the least we should be able to do is ensure that the training environment they have and the resources they have with which to train our future Army leaders, young men and women from our own respective districts, are the very best we can provide," Womack said. "I think just one quick glance around Camp Buckner, it doesn't take you very long to figure out we can do better than this."
During their visit, the delegates had the chance to tour the training areas at Camp Buckner, Camp Natural Bridge and the West Point ranges and learned more about how the facilities are used throughout Cadet Basic Training and Cadet Field Training.
Members of the West Point leadership team also briefed the delegates on the current state of the facilities and the plan that has been put in place to modernize training as the Army prepares to face a near-peer adversary by 2035.
"Developing leaders for the future force requires a modernization effort that is holistic and encompasses all aspects of the academy's leader development mission: military, academic, physical, and character development alike," Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent, U. S. Military Academy, said. "Today was about showing members of Congress that we have a plan for the future."
Womack said he invited congressional members whose jobs it is to appropriate funds to see the academy firsthand, some for the first time, so they could gain a better understanding of where the money is going, and the continuing need the academy has for funding.
"You can only do more with less for so long, and when I'm sitting getting a briefing, and I see the roof leaking on the table over there, I'm going back and telling the administrators and other appropriators about that," Rep. John Rutherford said. "These are the best and brightest kids we've got. We're asking them to get into that breach between us and our near adversaries.
"We've got to give them the best training and the best facilities," Rutherford added.
During the visit, the representatives met with cadets from their states and districts to hear firsthand about how West Point develops leaders of characters throughout their 47-month experience and also the challenges they face while training at facilities built in the 1940s.
"I think the biggest thing is that we are able to accomplish our mission right now," Class of 2020 Cadet Daine Van de Wall said. "But, with more resources we could definitely improve our ranges as well as our quality of life here. We're an institution that prides itself on excellence."