The Imperial Military Academy is the most prestigious academic institution of Barrayar, established in the Military Educational Complex in the external boroughs of Vorbarr Sultana. Many training centres train Imperial Service officers; the most prestigious is the Imperial Military Academy in Ernykadratograd, just outside Vorbarr Sultana, which qualifies them for command tasks. Its task is to select and train future officers of the Imperial Service through a three year course of study. The Imperial Military Academy also has the privilege of guarding the Imperial War Banner.
The Imperial Academy is singular because the structure of things is that the core teaching is similar. Everyone in Barrayaran military service is expected to be able to handle zero-g, pilot a shuttle with some skill, and manage ground troops should the need arise. At the Academy, Officer Cadets get the basic command and discipline matters out of the way, then apprentice Ensigns to specialists and teach them hands on.
The entrance examinations take a solid week: five days of written and oral exams, and two days of physical tests. Differently to others Service Officer Training Institutes, while the youngest age at which a cadet can enter the Academy is 17, there is technically no upper limit – any man with sufficient ability can be accepted. The Academy's term begins in the fall, and graduation is at midsummer at the Imperial Military Review: the commissioning of the new Ensigns is a touching moment.
In the chain of command, graduates of the Imperial Military Academy are considered higher in seniority compared to professional officers of the same rank who graduate from specialized Military Schools or from Officer Cadet School.
The Academy is among the oldest surviving Imperial institutions, since it was established by Emperor Dorca in 2850: prior to the end of the Time of Isolation, officers were trained on an individual apprenticeship system, often under relative's command; locally and ad lib and still the system lasted until the 2870s.
The Academy is governed by a Commandant, ranking as Lieutenant General, who uses a Command Office led by his deputy, a Major General. Two units, at regimental level, depend on the Commandant: the Academic Regiment and Student Regiment. Traditionally only ground General officers can be Commander and Deputy Commander of the Academy.
Academic Regiment Edit
The Academic Regiment is commanded by a Colonel/Captain (Naval), who is assisted by a Secretariat and four Departments responsible for teaching activities of the institute, each with a Commander/Major as the head of department. These 4 tenured Majors/Commanders comprise the core of the Academic Board. The Academy is also overseen by the Academy Inspectorate, a panel of officers appointed by the Chief of General Staff who inquires into the morale and discipline, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters.
Student Regiment Edit
The Student Regiment, traditionally led by an Infantry Colonel, comprises three Student Battalions, a Training Unit, a Personnel Section, a Training Section and the Commander Office.
The Commander Office and the Personnel Section have to ensure the smooth running of the Regiment; the Training Section frames the Drill Officers, the Training Courses Section organizes various training activities.
The three Student Battalions frame the frequenters of the Academy.
The admission process consists of two parts. Candidates must apply directly to IMA for admission, and they must obtain a nomination. The majority of candidates receive their nomination from a senior officer or even from an High Vor who served in the Service. The nomination process is only partly and applicants do not have to know their patron to be nominated. The nomination process typically consists of writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, and a formal interview.
Admission to the Imperial Military Academy is selective: only 25% of applicants are usually admitted. Candidates must be at minimum age of 17, whereas there is not a maximum age, unmarried, and with no legal obligation to support a child. Strong performance on standardized testing is expected. To be eligible for appointment, candidates must also undergo a Candidate Fitness Assessment and a complete physical exam.
The admission to the Imperial Military Academy requires much points and money or being a Vor. It is common for the Vor cadets being passed by the preparatory schools.
The standard training period is three years. Cadets study a wide variety of subjects, including 5-space mathematics, xenobotany, geology, terrain evaluation, aviation weather, chemical and biological warfare, and a lot more. They also, naturally, get full training in the use of weapons, ground cars and lightflyers, and everything else that the upper ranks think could be useful.
The Academy provides a challenging curriculum for the youth and his training was under the cultural, military and sports, assuming that the more specialistic studies are carried out by the specific branch of service. Training at the Academy lasts three years (an internship year and two academic years), with two breaks, and includes both winter training on the South Continent and orbital training. The courses of study are of different types and duration depending on the speciality. The groups that are trained at Imperial Military Academy are:
- Combatant roles (Ground: Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery and subdivisions; Space: Line, Artillery, Navigation, Helm and subdivisions)
- Speciality of transport and materials
- Speciality of Administration
They all obtain a degree of Bachelor of Strategic Sciences: the support services, such as Engineering, Medical and Legal, are not trained at Imperial Military Academy. The military training courses includes:
- Military ethics
- Art of Command and sense of honour
- Weapons and topography
- Political Science, Management Science
- Astrocartography, Cartography, mechanics, fluid dynamics
In addition to these theoretical activities, Students need on practical military training. These activities are mostly shot with small arms and department, combat training, military orienteering. Each module includes a tutorial and final addition to these activities are also provided for summer camps is particularly challenging and professional as well as tactics week in the snow. All students are qualified by the year completed. The sport includes the practice of numerous sports such as gymnastics, hand-to-hand combat, self defence, swimming, horseback riding and target shooting.
Cadet cruise Edit
The cadet cruise generally lasts three to four months, after which cadets are to take their final exams. It is performed by third-year cadets and it is not uncommon for cadets to be promoted before the end, in which case they are assigned aboard the ship in which they spent their cadet cruise shortly after graduation.
Entrance to the Academy Edit
The entrance to the Academy is the first official ceremony that a first-year cadet faces. Each Cadet at the end of the first year, is facing a new path within the Academy: he has finished his internship and begins the two-year Academy. There is a tradition that is essential to help the Novice Cadet: every Cadet who begins the third year (called the Senior Cadet), takes under its custody a Novice "twin" who has just completed his internship.
The task of each Senior Cadet is not limited to help and be an example to the Novice, but is complicated by the passage of time. The Senior Cadet is a guide and instructor behaviour and academic mores.
First, with an interview, we inform you about the past school, family situation, motivations and difficulties that has its own Cadet Novice, to gain an overview of the situation, after which the Senior Cadet will inform both the performance in studies conducted in the disciplinary , personally checking that it is always in order.
The next task of the Senior Cadet is to be able to give targeted advice that should be used to encourage and improve the performance both from the point of view and from that school sports.
To do all this, the Senior Cadet must always be an example for the Novice twin.
Last Parade Edit
The Last Parade is the traditional final gathering of graduates at the Imperial Military Academy before they are sent on their respective assignments. Traditionally, the Commandant of the Academy would speak to the new Ensigns on this occasion, but there are cases of guest speakers taking over that duty, including high ranking officers or government personalities. Between 2905 and 2915, for example, the speaker was Regent Aral Vorkosigan.