Making the best military officers in the world; motivating young people to be better citizens.
The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), as it exists today, began with President Wilson signing the National Defense Act of 1916. Although military training had been taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819, the signing of the National Defense Act brought this training under single, federally-controlled entity: The Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Army ROTC is the largest officer-producing organization with the American military, having commissioned more than half a million second lieutenants since its inception.
The United States Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. Under the provisions of the Act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active duty military personnel as instructors. In 1964, the Vitalization Act opened JROTC up to the other services and replaced most of the active duty instructors with retirees who worked for and were cost shared by the schools.
Title 10 of the U.S. Code declares that "the purpose of Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment."
• History of Army ROTC
The JROTC Program has changed greatly over the years. Once looked upon primarily as a source of enlisted recruits and officer candidates, it became a citizenship program devoted to the moral, physical and educational uplift of American youth. Although the program retained its military structure and the resultant ability to infuse in its student cadets a sense of discipline and order, it shed most of its early military content.
The study of ethics, citizenship, communications, leadership, life skills and other subjects designed to prepare young men and woman to take their place in adult society, evolved as the core of the program. More recently, an improved student centered curriculum focusing on character building and civic responsibility is being presented in every JROTC classroom.
JROTC is a continuing success story. From a modest beginning of 6 units in 1916, JROTC has expanded to 1645 schools today and to every state in the nation and American schools overseas. Cadet enrollment has grown to 281,000 cadets with 4,000 professional instructors in the classrooms. Comprised solely of active duty Army retirees, the JROTC instructors serve as mentors developing the outstanding young citizens of our country.
Most Americans don't know there's an Army Reserve, and even many of those who do couldn't explain the difference between it and the active-duty Army. They're even more confused when it comes to distinguishing between the Army Reserve and the National Guard. So, here's all you really need to know about the Army Reserve: The Pentagon could not be fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without it. As the Army Reserve turns 100 years old April 23, it's worth noting just how much its mission has changed, and what that says about the way the nation is waging war.
The Army Reserve is made up of part-time soldiers, who for generations have undergone a period of full-time basic training, and then spent a weekend each month training and a week or two each year on extended exercises. (The National Guard is also a part-time force, whose members report to the governors of their states, but who can be "federalized" and sent off to war just like reservists).
During its first 80 years, the Army Reserve was deployed six times, a number it has eclipsed in the 20 years since. Nearly half of the Army's supporting units — everything from military police to civil-affairs units — now resides in the Army Reserve. Currently 26,000 of the Army's 190,000 Reservists are on active duty, including 6,600 in Iraq and 5,700 in Afghanistan.
After the Cold War, the Pentagon made dramatic cuts to its available ground forces, slicing the 770,000-strong active-duty Army to a complement of 479,000 on the eve of 9/11 (it's at 524,000 now). Dreams of waging future wars with $350 million F-22 fighters and $2 billion Virginia-class attack subs quickly evaporated as the mud-and-blood campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq showed that the U.S. would need plenty of boots on the ground for years to come. That includes part-time