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ICYMI: Transforming Army ROTC with Gen. Jack Keane and Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith

Today, the US Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) has more than 30,000 cadets enrolled nationwide and some 275 universities hosting full ROTC programs. And with the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, ROTC has been welcomed back on campuses where it once had vibrant programs.

However, as Major General Jefforey A. Smith noted upon taking up his command, the ROTC “program that we have in place today is exactly the same program that I went through between 1980 and 1983 at Ohio State University.” And changing demographics will require the Army to better maximize its limited resources to effectively train cadets and to produce an officer corps that reflects America’s geographic and social diversity.

To discuss how best to move Army ROTC into the future, Major General Smith sat down for a conversation with General Jack Keane, an ROTC graduate and former Army vice chief of staff.

Watch the full video after the jump:


NEW Policy Brief: Architects and Citizenship

In the latest addition to “The Professions and Civic Culture” series, Williams College professor of art history Michael J. Lewis discusses the idea of “architectural citizenship” and the role architects play in American civic life. According to Lewis, the making of any building is a social act that stakes a claim on finite resources of land and space and that can enhance the value of the buildings around it or diminish it. Only the most solitary and remote building is without implications for society.


Seven Score and Ten Years Ago

In the Weekly Standard, Program director Gary Schmitt writes on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address:

November 19 marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—rightly judged to be the greatest speech in America’s history. And while there have been innumerable books and articles written about the content, language, and rhetorical sophistication of Lincoln’s remarks, far less has been written about why he chose the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, some four and a half months after the battle itself, to deliver the speech he did.

Lincoln had been invited by the organizing committee for the battlefield’s consecration to give, as “Chief Executive of the nation,” “a few appropriate remarks.” But these were to follow the main attraction of the day, a speech by famed orator Edward Everett, former president of Harvard, senator, and governor of Massachusetts. With Everett expected to speak to the assembled crowd for two hours at least, Lincoln could well have chosen to follow Everett with just a few perfunctory lines, assuming what really mattered to the organizers was the president’s attendance, not what he might have to say.

But Lincoln chose a different path. Why?

Read the whole thing to find out.


New CIRCLE Report on Youth Political and Civic Engagement

Yesterday, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) presented a new report on educating America’s youth for civic and political participation at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The report, “All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement”, written by the Commission on Youth Voting and Civic Knowledge, a multidisciplinary group of scholars convened by CIRCLE. The purpose of this report is to inform Americans about deficiencies in youth civic knowledge and engagement.


The Shrinking Role of Social Studies in Classrooms

Social studies, long considered a “core subject” in American classrooms, has been cut back in recent decades. Jen Kalaidis, writing in The Atlantic, traces the reduction in social studies classroom time to the No Child Left Behind Act, and argues that a greater emphasis is essential.


Civic Engagement through Education

Standing in front of a packed audience at the University of Montana School of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor spoke about her continued mission to improve civic education. O’Connor argued that civic education is crucial to sustaining America’s democratic institutions, according to Kaci Felstet of the Montana Kaimin.


Maintaining the Republic through Civic Learning

On Tuesday, the nation marked the 226th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, writing in the Sacramento Bee, argues that in order to preserve our democracy, education needs to focus on civic learning. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin famously remarked […]


The Effect of Education’s Decline on Civic Culture

In the Wall Street Journal, CUNY professor Jonathan Jacobs argues that American education does not adequately prepare students for responsible civic life, raising questions for the future of American democracy.


Slavery and the Constitution: An immoral compromise?

On Tuesday evening, AEI’s Program on American Citizenship hosted the second annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture. Michael Zuckert of the University of Notre Dame spoke on the topic of slavery at the constitutional convention.



Tonight, we celebrate the second annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture, which was established by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship to honor Walter’s scholarship on the Constitution and America’s founding principles.


Awarding the Medal of Honor to Iraq War Servicemembers

The President of the United States has awarded 3,471 Medals of Honor since the award’s inception in 1861, recognizing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines for risking their life above the call of duty. James Roberts, writing in the Wall Street Journal, laments the fact that not a single living service member has received the Medal of Honor from service in the Iraq War, and provides a remarkable example of valor deserving of recognition.


Americans Express Record-Low Confidence in Government

Amidst a still-recovering economy and concerns over a possible confrontation with Syria, a new poll by Gallup suggests that Americans have a record low level of confidence in the government. Released on Friday, the survey shows that less than half the public has even a fair amount of confidence in the government’s ability to handle domestic or international matters.


Civic Leaders Speak Out on the Need for Civic Education

With Constitution Day fast approaching, several civic leaders have taken the opportunity to critically analyze the state of American civic education and stress the need for reform. William H. Sieben, president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice and creator of iCivics, both argue that improved civic education is critical to the future of our nation.


The Story Behind the First Public Memorial at Ground Zero

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Americans expressed their grief and condolences in many ways. For four New York architects, the best way to honor the fallen Americans was to create the first public memorial at Ground Zero, writes Elizabeth Greenspan in The Atlantic.


Toqueville’s “Most Powerful Barrier”: Lawyers in Civic Society

In the latest addition to “The Professions and Civic Culture” series, Weekly Standard contributor and Washington, DC lawyer Adam J. White discusses the evolution of American lawyers. His essay, “Tocqueville’s ‘Most Powerful Barrier’: Lawyers in Civic Society,” argues that profound changes in the legal profession have undermined lawyers’ role as a natural brake against the “revolutionary spirit and unreflective passions of democracy” that Alexis de Tocqueville admired in 19th century American lawyers.


Honoring our Veterans through “Taps”

The iconic military hymn “Taps” has been a hallmark of American military funerals since 1891. Tom Day, founder of the organization Bugles Across America, strives to ensure that that tradition, and the veterans who died in America’s service, are not forgotten. In a new article in the Weekly Standard, the great Matt Labash describes Day’s lifelong commitment to honoring veterans.


The Dwindling Rate of Veterans in Congress

As lawmakers debate military intervention in Syria, it’s important to consider their professional background. Drew DeSilver of the Pew Research Center compiled the rates of veterans in Congress over the years, and the results may surprise you.


Bruce Cole to Join Eisenhower Memorial Panel

Former chairman of the National Council of the Humanities and adviser to the National Civic Art Society Bruce Cole has been named to the Eisenhower Memorial panel, AP News reports. Cole has been an outspoken critic of Frank Gehry’s “metal tapestry” design, and will join a panel of 10 other commissioners to oversee the project’s development.


The Rise of Single-Parent Households in America

Since 1960, single parents have more than tripled as a share of American households. In an article for The Atlantic, AEI’s Aparna Mathur and her coauthors Hao Fu and Peter Hansen note that single-parent households face significantly lower incomes, higher rates of health problems, and poorer educational outcomes.


The Effect of Declining Home Ownerhship on Neighborhoods

The share of households that own their own home has plummeted during the recession. Shaila Dewan, writing for the New York Times, describes the consequences of the increase in rental properties, including less social stability and lower voter turnout.