Joseph Scott '00Senior Air & Missile Defense Operations Officer, U.S. Army Fort Bragg, NC
I plan and coordinate air and missile defense operations for the US Army's XVIII Airborne Corps, a rapid-deployment unit. My last job was teaching military history at the US Military Academy at West Point.
What is most satisfying about your current work?
The most satisfying aspect of my current job is the important role I play in serving my nation and supporting the young men and women who fight our nation's wars. The most satisfying aspect of my job at West Point was the opportunity to mix thrilling, rewarding academic exploits with service to my nation.
What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?
In my opinion, the best way to enter my field is through ROTC, which allows you to mix challenging Army training with the "normal" Dartmouth experience. (Plus, a government-funded graduate degree, which most officers selected to teach at West Point receive, is also a plus.) If students missed out on the chance to do ROTC, they can still enter the Army through a traditional enlistment or through Officer Candidate School. The most important elements of preparation are to develop the self-discipline to balance the wonderful academic, social, and cultural experiences of College with the physical and mental requirements of military service.
What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?
Don't be afraid of the military's reputation as an anti-intellectual wasteland. The current operational and strategic environment requires the intelligent, well-rounded individuals, and the Army knows this. That's one of the reasons they rotate officers in and out of teaching positions at West Point; they want graduate-educated thinkers in the operational force.
How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?
The ROTC program had to be largely self-reliant during my time at the College, and that shaped me as a student and as an officer.