"The department of Military Science has a dual responsibility to fulfill," declared Lieutenant Colonel Browning, U. S. Army, in charge of the reserve officers training corps at Harvard, when asked to explain the relation between the Military Science department and the other departments of the University. "We have duties to discharge both to the War Department and to Harvard University."
Colonel Browning went on to show that the aim of the War Department was to have as many men as possible take the Military Science program of four years, and graduate at the end with commissions in the reserve force. On the other hand, the purpose of Harvard University would be best served by allowing men to take only those courses in the department of Military Science which best fit in with other academic work.
Many Want Only Advanced Courses
"Only this morning," said Colonel Browning, "a student in the Engineering School came in and wanted to take Military Science 2, because it gave him a study of gas engines which he felt he could get in no other course. Men from the Law School are frequently asking to be enrolled in course 4 on military law and history. To admit such men to advanced Military Science courses would be in keeping with the general aim of the University, but it would not fulfill the purpose of the War Department, which established and maintains a Field Artillery unit at Harvard for the primary purpose of preparing men to become officers in the reserve corps of the army.
"And so we have finally adopted a half way course: we do not compel a man to take all the courses offered by the department of Military Science; but if he wishes to take any of them, he must, in justice to the government, begin with the first fundamental courses and then work up to whatever course he desires."
Courses Must Be Taken in Order
Even without completing the entire course, Colonel Browning said, a man could obtain valuable preparation for military service, but he maintained that whatever courses were taken must be followed in their logical sequence.
"If we ever have another fracas such as the last," he said, "and I am not one of those who believe that there won't be another war, the man who has taken even as elementary course like Military Science I will be of more service to his country than the man who has not. It is often said, and it may be true, that preparedness is unnecessary because in case of war 1,000,000 men would spring to arms. But it seems to me that they will be of little use if they do not know what to do with the arms after they have sprung to them."