Korean Army academy, West Point to exchange professors
Army academies of Korea and the U.S. will begin exchanging professors for the first time starting later this year, officials said Tuesday.
According to Korean officials, the Korea Military Academy (KMA) and the U.S. Military Academy, also known as West Point, reached a partnership agreement on Jan. 16, when the U.S. Army LTG. David H. Huntoon, the superintendent at West Point, visited the KMA for the first time. He and Korean Army LTG. Park Jong-sun, the head of the KMA, also agreed to pursue the professor exchange program, officials added.
Park and Huntoon will sign a preliminary agreement on the program after the U.S. defense department approves the plan by around March or April, according to officials.
One Army official here said if the preliminary pact is signed in the first half of this year, then the institutes could begin exchanging professors starting in the latter half.
The two countries first discussed professor exchanges in 1999 but talks were put on hold following the start of the war in Iraq, among other pressing security issues.
They went back to the table in November last year at a working-level meeting and leaders of the institutes found common ground two months later, officials said.
"We should be able to apply to our cadet training some educational philosophy and techniques built over two centuries at West Point," the Army official said. "With comparative research on training methods, our educational environment should improve."
The official also noted that the exchange will also help broaden horizons for individual professors and ultimately improve competitiveness of the faculty as a whole.
"In terms of enhancing cooperation between the armies and strengthening the alliance between our two countries, this is a great move," the official said.
Professors will teach at each other's institutes for one year and housing will be provided, officials said.
The KMA was founded in 1946 as a defense academy and reopened as a four-year undergraduate institution in 1951. The U.S. academy was established in 1802.
Navy and air force academies of the two countries have been running professor exchange programs since 1993 and 1997, respectively. (Yonhap)