"Nicolae Balcescu" Land Forces Academy History

Prince Gheorghe Bibescu's Order no. 36 of the 13th of June 1847 that enacted the establishment of the first Officer School, represents the milestone in the history of the "Nicolae Balcescu" Land Forces Academy, the successor of 160 years of institutionalized educational and military traditions on the path of the evolution of the Romanian Military under the various social and historic circumstances.

In the long run, the military institution played an important part in the struggle to defend the Romanian Provinces, therefore there was great concern for the training of the forces and of the population.

The understanding of the vital importance of the command staff quality generated constant concern for its training. The formation process bears, unavoidably, the hallmark of the social, military and historical characteristics of the different periods of the Romanian people's troubled existence. The continuity of the educational process integrates an entire range of specific proceedings, varying from simple experience transfers between generations, to the modern methodical approach of the continuous formation of officers.

Once national Romanian unity was achieved in December of 1918, process that resulted in the enlargement of national territory from 137.903 sq. km. to 294.967 sq. km and an increase in population from 7.234.919 to 18.057.074 inhabitants, a series of new issues arose in terms of defending territorial integrity and national sovereignty. Amongst these was the increase in the number of units and providing them with officers. Since the Officer School in Bucharest could not comply with these demands, a second similar institution was established in Sibiu, with Decree no. 5376/1920 that stated: „A second Infantry School is to be established in Sibiu, on the 1st of July 1920" with the purpose "of training the soul and character of future infantry officers, of indurating their physical abilities and of teaching them all the elements necessary for successfully fulfilling their duties as trainers and troop educators“.

The newly-founded institution was provided by its commandants and superiors with a valuable faculty, consisting of experienced teachers and officers. Some of them were graduates of higher education national and international institutions, such as: col Cristea Vasilescu, col Nicolae Macici, maj Stefan Bardan, maj Octav Vorobchievici, cpt Mircea Bratanescu and many others.

The curriculum has been constantly improved and enriched, as war techniques evolved. Besides general military training and specialized disciplines, some others were introduced: Romanian History, foreign languages, Economic Geography and Politics, Pedagogy, Psychology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanics, Applied Sciences, Artistic Education, a.s.o. Part of the time betaken to a discipline was used to acquire theoretical knowledge, and the other to acquire skills by means of command and unit practice.

In order to further motivate students, the Military Ministry decided that, beginning with 1928, the first two students in each class, upon graduation, be sent to study for two years at Saint-Cyr Military School in France.

„Nicolae Balcescu“ Land Forces Academy is the successor of these rich traditions and trains the biggest part of the Romanian Military's officers.

Ever since its establishment until present day, the Officer School has undergone a lot of transformations generated by the evolution of the Romanian society, European doctrinaire changes or international relations shifts. For instance, during WW2, the duration of studies shifted from 3 to 2 years; on the 13th of December 1952 the school was awarded the patronymic name of „Nicolae Balcescu“; between 1962 and 1968, education lasted for 4 years; in 1968, the duration of studies was reduced to 3 years and the school became "Nicolae Balcescu" Military School for Active Officers ; between 1983 and 1990 the institution started training female officers in the branches of Infantry, Chemistry, Logistics and Finance.

After December 1989, under the circustances of a complex reform initiated at the entire Romanian society level, process that included the reform of the military as avant-garde component, military education was connected to the specific modern military coordinates. Thus, after a research period a new, radically changed military education system was chosen, and within this system training levels were defined, as well as the missions and objectives of the structures meant to train, specialize and improve military personnel.

This was the framework for significant progress. On the 22nd of March 1991, Government Order no. 190/1991 stated the transformation of the Officer School into a military higher education institute under the name of the "Nicolae Balcescu" Infantry, Frontier Guards and Chemistry Military Institute. This was the beginning of a new era, though a transitory one, in the organization, planning and managing of the educational process.

In 1992, because of the transition of the Frontier Guards branch into the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, this section of the institute was moved to Iasi garrison. Therefore, the frontier guards phrase was removed from the institute's denomination and became "Nicolae Balcescu" Infantry and Chemistry Military Institute.

These were the coordinates that generated the possibility to shift to university education, a decisive moment in the process of providing a new socio-professional status for the Romanian command officer. Thus, beginning with the 15th of July 1995, "Nicolae Balcescu" Land Troops Academy was established in Sibiu. This institution integrated all students from: „Nicolae Balcescu“ Infantry and Chemistry Military Institute, „Ioan Voda“ Artillery and Geodesy Military Institute, „Decebal“ Signals Military Institute, „Gheorghe Lazar“ Logistics and Finance Military Institute, „Mihai Viteazul“ Armored Military Institute, „Basarab I“ Auto Military Institute and „Alexandru Donici“ Engineering, Constructions and Railways Military Institute. As the General Staff changed the name of the Land Troops component into Land Forces, as of August 2000, the institution's name is „Nicolae Balcescu“ Land Forces Academy.

Establishing this new higher education institution in Sibiu was part of the military education reform, process that was mandatory considering the evolution of the Romanian society. Integrated into the national university long-term education system, the institution was meant to ensure fundamental scientific training, whereas studies would continue in branch schools where cadets would be trained for their first positions as officers of the Land Forces.

As a matter of course, the higher education military system has undergone structural and functional adjustments concordant with all the changes occurred at national and European education systems level. The present-day legislative framework, materialized in the 288 Law on University Education and the Conception on Romanian Officers' Formation, Professional Development and Employment, brought about the redesigning of the formation process consistent with the exactingnesses promoted by European states by means of the Bologna Agreement. Drafting the educational curriculum on university specialties, i.e. "Military Science and Information" and "Administrative Studies", and differentiating standards on training levels (graduate and post-graduate studies), represented new challenges and opportunities for "Nicolae Balcescu" Land Forces Academy's turning into a centre of excellence in the field of education and scientific research.

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