Army Moving ROTC Programs To Emphasize Colleges In The South

The Army is reorganizing its Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs to emphasize units at colleges and universities located in southern and southwestern U.S., Army Times reported Tuesday.

By 2030, Army Cadet Command plans to set up at least 13 ROTC units in Texas, Florida and California, where enrollment in institutions of higher education is statistically on the rise, Army Times reported, citing Cadet Command officials. It will also reduce, but not fully eliminate, 18 programs at colleges in the Northeast and Midwest that have struggled to meet their commissioning requirements over the past decade.

The initiative, dubbed “ROTC Reset,” will “keep pace with long-term trends in higher education and shifting college age populations and demographics,” spokesperson Maj. Dan Lessard told Army Times.

ROTC programs bring in more than 50% of the Army’s new officer corps each year, according to the Army’s 2021 historical summary, the latest available.

The states receiving new ROTC programs are among the top suppliers of enlisted recruits, according to a 2018 study from the Pentagon-funded Institute for Defense Analyses.

The planned restructuring will provide more than 200,000 undergraduate students — primarily in Los Angeles, central California, San Diego, Dallas-Fort Worth, and the greater Miami region — with access to ROTC programs, the planning documents project, according to Army Times.

Eighteen existing units will be downgraded to “extension units” that will be allowed to keep their identity, on-campus classes and resources, but they will not longer be standalone programs, according to planning documents viewed by Army Times.

Programs receiving cuts “have not met” their officer commissioning quotas “for the majority, if not all, of the last 10 years,” a Cadet Command planning official told the outlet under condition of anonymity to discuss the upcoming changes. Those programs are primarily located at schools in the Midwest and Northeast, where four-year college enrollment rates are declining, the official added.

“No Senior ROTC program will close, and no Senior ROTC cadet will be required to transfer to a new school,” Lessard told Army Times.

Cadet Command appeared to carve out exceptions to the geographic refocus with plans to establish ROTC units at two schools given Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) status — Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware. The schools have a growing student population, and establishing the ROTC programs will help build an officer corps with racial diversity measures approximating those of the enlisted force, the planning official said, according to Army Times.

As part of broader reforms to the Army’s recruiting process, unveiled in the fall and aimed at digging the service out of its worst-ever recruiting crisis, Cadet Command now reports to U.S. Army Recruiting Command. The Army also hopes to target prospective recruits with some college education to fill the enlisted ranks.

Army Cadet Command did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


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