Although graduation and the close of the last academic year is only about a month behind us, it’s already been a very busy summer here at West Point. Our cadets are taking part in various summer training opportunities, both here and at other Army installations nationwide. More than 1,000 yearlings are at Camp Buckner for Cadet Field Training, where they’ll learn how to lead in a tactical environment at the team and squad level. We hosted more than 900 high school seniors for the annual Summer Leader Experience, giving them a taste of cadet life, and this week, 80 boys from schools in the Bronx and Harlem completed the Youth Impact Program, a two-week football camp led by our cadet-athletes that reinforces life and leadership skills, academics and athletics.
This Monday, 1,200 young men and women from the incoming Class of 2019 will report to West Point for Reception Day, to begin their 47-month journey toward becoming a commissioned leader of character. Throughout the next six weeks of Cadet Basic Training (CBT), these new cadets will be challenged, both physically and mentally, as they make the transformation from civilian to Soldier. During CBT, upperclass cadets, tactical officers and NCOs will train, mentor and inspire these new cadets in basic Soldier skills and prepare them for acceptance into the Corps of Cadets, while inspiring them to internalize the ideals of West Point and the Army.
Leader development never stops at West Point. It’s a continual process involving every member of the West Point community.
I recently signed the new West Point Leader Development System (WPLDS) handbook that articulates the leader development outcomes we expect of our graduates. These outcomes - live honorably and build trust; demonstrate intellectual, military, and physical competence; develop, lead, and inspire; think critically and creatively; make sound and timely decisions; communicate and interact effectively; seek balance, be resilient, and demonstrate a strong and winning spirit; and pursue excellence and continue to grow - equip these future leaders of character with the capacity to anticipate and adapt to the challenges of the 21st century.
Additionally, and just as importantly, the new WPLDS handbook articulates the roles everyone has in mentoring and developing our future leaders. Leader development isn’t limited to the classroom or the training field. We all have a role in fostering a positive developmental environment and every interaction with a cadet is an opportunity for leader development, whether you’re a staff or faculty member, a cadet sponsor, coach or volunteer with a cadet club.
So, as we prepare to welcome the Class of 2019 to West Point, I’d like to thank you all for your role in the honored duty of educating, training and inspiring our future leaders, and in making West Point the world’s preeminent leader development institution.
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr.