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civil-military divide

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:

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The return of ROTC to New York City

This fall, Army ROTC officially began classes at the City College of New York, ending a 41-year absence. The program will serve as headquarters for a new partnership between the Army and the City University of New York, intended to make ROTC more accessible to New York City students. It also marks a broader move by the military to reengage with areas currently underserved by recruiting policy and to realign the ROTC footprint so that it produces an officer corps more representative of American society.

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Rethinking Civil-Military Relations

As our military engagements abroad wind down, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey suggests that the postwar era will fundamentally change the dynamic between the all-volunteer military force and civilians. Dempsey’s recent op-ed, “Time to rethink civil-military relations” argues that this is a critical time to redefine the relationship between civilians and the military.

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Solving the Veterans Disability Backlog

There are more than 850,000 veterans waiting for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process their disability claims. With the average wait time at 330 days, and some veterans waiting well over a year for service according to USA Today, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have introduced legislation to reduce the backlog.

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US Military Still Most Respected Institution

Despite years of contentious engagements abroad, the US military is far and away the most trusted US institution, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Sitting among a list of ten US institutions, including the federal government, large corporations, and the IRS, 67% of those polled answered that they had “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence in the military.

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The Real Gap in Civil-Military Relations

Our AEI colleague Tom Donnelly has a terrific post at the Weekly Standard about the civil-military gap. Reacting to a recent quote from Tom Brokaw which laments the gap and casts Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as “victims,” Donnelly notes that “if there is a ‘gap’ in American civil-military relations, it is not because so few serve, it is because so few care to understand our military on its own terms.”

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Harvard’s ROTC Commissions New Ivy League Officers

In a jam-packed auditorium featuring generals and proud alumni, Harvard College hosted its third ROTC commissioning ceremony following recognition of the program in March 2011. Harvard University President Drew Faust, herself a veteran’s daughter, described Harvard’s ROTC program as a step toward bridging the civilian-military divide.

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ROTC to Return to City College of New York

After a four decade hiatus, City College of New York is set to reopen its doors to Army ROTC this week. While City College once had a thriving ROTC program, during the Vietnam War anti-military sentiment reached a fever pitch on campus.

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Running a mile in their shoes

In an effort to better understand the skills that student-veterans bring with them to college, a group of New Jersey educators attended a week-long Marine Corps Educators Boot Camp at Paris Island, South Carolina. Many of the participants of the program were high school guidance counselors, principals, and history teachers who took part in order to learn more about what some of their students may be doing following graduation; other participants were administrators at community colleges who wanted to find out more about education in the military and how the skills that veterans have learned there can translate into college credit and help them find work in the civilian workforce.

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Translating military skills for civilian employers

At the New York Times “At War” blog, James Dao takes a look at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring Our Heroes” effort to help military veterans find jobs in the civilian world.  As Dao recounts, Kevin Schmiegel, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, organized a team last year to create a “Personal Branding Resume Engine,” a website that helps veterans translate their military experience into jobs that civilian employers can understand. Unveiled this week at a job fair at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, the resume engine was developed with the help from Fortune 500 human resources managers.

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Bridging the Gap

A new film about America’s civil-military divide is in the final stages of production, and it’s worth checking out. “Bridging the Gap” explores the disconnect that members of the public and members of the military feel with each other. As the film makers note, “It’s not that Americans don’t like the military – they love it! They just don’t have a clue who’s in it, what one does, what it costs them, or costs those that joint it. Military service has become something other people do.”

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Education center at Vietnam Wall to honor recent veterans

Writing for the Courier-Journal, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Guinta, the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, worries that even with the public outpouring of support for service members, the care packages sent, and the warm homecomings offered, “today’s military members serve a nation more disconnected from its armed forces that at any time in our country’s history.”

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Number of veterans in Congress continues to decline

Last week, Susan Davis at USA Today reported on the decreasing number of military veterans serving in the Congress, noting that “when the next session convenes in January, the two chambers will have the fewest number of veterans serving since World War II.”

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Defending ROTC at Columbia

As the Washington Post reported this week, the number of college students across the country participating in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps has increased by 50 percent since the 2005–06 school year, with 36,474 students enrolled in the program this past school year. Indeed, during the 2011–12 school year, “the Army commissioned 5,880 officers and reservists, surpassing its goal of 5,350. That number is expected to increase in coming years as large incoming classes mature.”

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Keep staring…

We have been keeping tabs on the return of ROTC to many Ivy League campuses this fall. Today, we bring you a recent column in the Yale Daily News written by Sam Cohen, a sophomore participating in the Navy ROTC program at the university, in which he reminds us of the benefits of having ROTC on campus, even for those who don’t directly participate in the program.

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What the troops leave unsaid: a growing civil-military divide

Over at the “At War” blog of The New York Times, Jonathan Raab, a sergeant in the New York National Guard currently serving in Kuwait, reminds us of the hardships many veterans face when they return home from war–and the responsibility we have to engage them in thoughtful conversation about their concerns.

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The few, the proud, the infantilized

Writing at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bruce Fleming, a professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy and the author of Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide, argues that the American service academies are in desperate need of reform–and that they could take some cues from the ROTC programs on other college campuses.

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Where’s ROTC at Columbia?

Last year, when elite universities began announcing their intentions to bring back ROTC, Jonathan E. Hillman and I cautioned that if Ivy League ROTC was to succeed, it would require a real commitment from both the schools and the military.

Some progress has been made. Yale has welcomed Air Force and Navy units back to campus while Harvard is hosting its first military-science class since the Vietnam era. Even Brown University, the lone holdout, isbeginning to thaw. But at Columbia University, where the new Naval ROTC unit is located an hour away from campus, the program is suffering from “half-hearted implementation,” according to Columbia ROTC cadet, Ryan Cho.

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Brown University students call for ROTC

As we noted last week, Brown University, which is currently the only Ivy League institution that has yet to allow ROTC to return to its campus, is attempting to provide support to students who have served or are interested in serving in the military–without actually welcoming the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program to campus. Writing in response to the campus administration’s position, the editorial board at The Brown Daily Herald has called for a reinstatement of the ROTC program on campus.

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ROTC returns to the Ivies

Jonathan E. Hillman, with whom the Program’s Cheryl Miller wrote about ROTC and the Ivy League in December, writes this week in the Wall Street Journal about his experience attending the first ROTC class at Harvard this fall.

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