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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:

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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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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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ROTC’s First Year at Columbia

It’s been a year since Columbia University re-established an on-campus Naval ROTC program. In the latest edition of Columbia’s The Blue and White, student Naomi Sharp gives a progress report. Thus far, she notes, the program has flown under the radar, attracting little attention, positive or negative, but “a quiet beginning to the program has its benefits.”

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Can ROTC Solve Its Minority Problem?

In the Atlantic, Colin Daileda writes about the challenges the military faces in accessing minority officers—and how the return of big city ROTC can help. Daileda follows the progress of new ROTC units at schools affiliated with the City University of New York (CUNY) and notes how their success could lead to a more diverse officer corps.

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ROTC debate continues at Brown University

At Brown University, the only remaining Ivy League institution that has yet to welcome ROTC back to its campus, students are taking to the campus newspaper to discuss the prospect of ROTC at Brown. As we noted in October, the editorial board of the student paper, the Brown Daily Herald, has for the past two years issued statements calling for the reinstatement of the program on campus, only to be met by opposition from the campus administration. In a recent back-and-forth, two more students weigh in—one arguing for the program’s return, and the other arguing against it.

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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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ROTC Returns to CUNY

As we noted in December, ROTC is making a comeback at the City University of New York (CUNY) school system. York College is the first of the system’s colleges to welcome ROTC back after its 40-year hiatus, but programs are currently planned for other CUNY campuses at Medgar Evers College, the City College of New York, and the College of Staten Island.

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CUNY’s ROTC reveille

The New York Post reports that the City University of New York (CUNY) is beginning to allow ROTC programs back on its campuses. York College in Queens, part of the CUNY system, offered a first-year military science course this fall, which 18 students enrolled in.

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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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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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More on ROTC and the Ivies

Continuing our recent coverage of ROTC’s return to the Ivies, here are two more articles that discuss the trend.

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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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Bridging the civil-military divide on campus

Writing yesterday for the New York Times “At War” blog, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a retired Marine and current student at Georgetown University, describes the challenges that many veterans face when leaving war for college, and encouraged them to “bridge the gap” with the other students they meet on campus.

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ROTC returns to Harvard

On Monday, ROTC at Harvard University resumed its exercises on the Ivy’s campus–for the first time in 41 years. The Wall Street Journal reports: After decades of chilly relations between the elite school and the military, dating back to the Vietnam War and persisting because of past military policies on gay soldiers, Harvard has welcomed back […]

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Navy ROTC returns to Yale

At Yale University, this fall semester marks the first time in 40 years that Navy and Air Force ROTC students will once again take up training on the school’s campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ROTC program is scheduled for September 21.

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