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Romania

Officer Education

In 1989 officers in the armed forces received higher than average salaries and extensive benefits such as priority housing. They had relatively high social standing and prestige. Officers still enjoyed fewer perquisites and privileges than their counterparts in the other Warsaw Pact countries, however. Yet the officer's profession remained a path of upward mobility, especially for young men from remote judete and agricultural communities.

In 1989 there were several ways of earning a commission in the armed forces. Romania had a number of military secondary schools for officer training in cities and larger towns. After passing a competitive admission examination, cadets could enter a military secondary school at the start of their ninth year of formal education or after completing their terms of service as conscripts. Military secondary schools offered a three- or four-year curriculum of mathematics, physics, chemistry, applied science and engineering, geography, foreign languages, physical conditioning, and sports. Many, like the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Naval Secondary School or the Nicolae Balcescu Military Officers College, were named for heroic military leaders from Romanian history. Military secondary schools began accepting women for training as communications, chemical defense, transportation, air defense, quartermaster corps, medical, and topographic officers in 1973.

In 1989 approximately 70 percent of the second lieutenants on active duty had received commissions by graduating from military secondary schools. While on active duty, approximately 50 percent of all officers continued their professional training by developing a military specialty in resident or correspondence courses at schools for armor in Pitesti, infantry in Bacau, artillery in Ploiesti, missiles in Brasov, military engineering in Lugoj in Timis, judet, and communications in Bucharest. The other 30 percent of officers on active duty received commissions after completing university-level courses of study at more elite institutions.

The General Military Academy and the Military Technical Academy, both located in Bucharest, were the most prestigious military educational establishments. An army general, usually senior in rank and experience to the minister of national defense, headed the General Military Academy. The four-year courses of study at the military academies, concentrating on general military science, military engineering, or party work and organization, led to a university degree as well as a commission as a junior officer. Also located in Bucharest, the Aurel Vlaicu Military Academy for Aviation Officers, named for the founder of Romania's prewar aircraft industry, and the military faculty of the University of Bucharest also produced commissioned graduates.

As captains, navy lieutenants, and majors, promising officers applied to attend two- to five-year advanced command and staff courses at the General Military Academy. Until the early 1960s, mid-career officers were assigned to elite Soviet military academies for higher professional education similar to that provided in war colleges in the United States and other Western countries. Graduation from either the Soviet General Staff Academy or Frunze Military Academy was almost a prerequisite for advancement to general officer rank and a requirement to become minister of national defense in the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries. When Romania began to follow a course of greater independence within the Warsaw Pact, however, it stopped sending its officers to the Soviet Union for training. This reduced the chance that Romanian officers would develop a loyalty toward their Soviet counterparts stronger than that to Ceausescu, the PCR, and the Romanian government. It also largely eliminated opportunities for the Soviet Union to recruit spies from among the Romanian officer corps. At a more practical level, the military had to train its own officers to fight according to a military doctrine and strategy different from that of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

Data as of July 1989


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