Naval Academy plan would increase size of student body by 400

March 20, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Naval Academy Superintendent John R. Ryan has proposed increasing the size of the military college's student body by 10 percent, to 4,400 midshipmen.

Ryan told the academy's oversight panel Monday that an increase of 400 midshipmen would help offset what he said were fleetwide shortages of Navy and Marine officers. Though the academy may have to expand the faculty and buy new equipment, Ryan said that would be less expensive than producing new officers through college ROTC programs or the Naval Officer Candidate School.

Ryan first floated the idea two months ago in a quarterly report to staff and faculty. It would require the approval of the Department of the Navy, the Pentagon and Congress, none of which has endorsed the proposal to date.

Ryan's proposal would return the brigade to its historical size of 4,400. In 1995, a post-Cold War budget capped the student body at U.S. military academies at 4,000 students.

Neither the U.S. Military Academy at West Point nor the Air Force Academy in Colorado has similar expansion plans, their spokesmen said yesterday.

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