Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
Program friend S. T. sends this interesting tidbit from The New Yorker:
The City University of New York (my old employer) has two hundred and twenty-eight thousand undergraduates—more than four times as many as the entire Ivy League.
He goes on to note that “Despite the great advances on the Ivy League ROTC front, we cannot ignore the enormous population at places like CUNY that are being entirely ignored by current DOD officer recruiting practices.”
Students at elite schools need increased exposure to the military, especially since many will go on to become our future leaders in government, business, and culture. Returning ROTC to these campuses also carries an important cultural message — that military service is an honorable and worthy calling for all Americans, particularly the most privileged among us.
Yet returning ROTC to these campuses alone is not enough. As I write in today’s New York Post:
The re-embrace of ROTC by elite schools marks the end of a shameful chapter in our nation’s history. But ROTC cadets on these campuses — indeed, across much of the nation — still face serious obstacles to their aspiration to serve their country.
ROTC’s citizen-soldiers have long served as a hedge against a civil-military divide. Today, that mission is more important than ever — yet ROTC is ill-equipped to meet it. Even as we fight the longest war in US history, few Americans have a personal connection to the military, making it less likely they can truly appreciate the sacrifices made by those who serve.