Former SECNAV and AF historian want to replace ROTC

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by nick4060, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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  2. uniform 419

    uniform 419 GMU CDT

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    Yeah, terrible idea. I think the article's authors missed the fact that the reason that OCS grads have the same retention rates as ROTC grads is becuase of the fact that OCS has so few of the applicants get in, due to the limited number of slots, that their obviously getting the prime cut in regards to intelligence and other positive traits, which significanty skews the figures. If the authors wanted to get rid of the real money sink then they should be writing on abolishing the service academies, not ROTC.
     
  3. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Very poorly thought out.
    18 month deployment in Afghanistan as a private in the middle of a college career... That is a bad joke.
    "As reservists during college, they would be obligated to deploy only once, which would not unduly delay their education or commissioned service."

    Major Contradiction---how is serving in the National Guard/AR, traveling back and forth to weekend drill be better for the cadet than drilling on campus?
    Now "Weekly drills and other activities dilute the focus on academic education."
    Their Plan "Youths would gain their military training and education by serving in the reserve or National Guard during college (thus fulfilling their reserve obligation)."

    And all this is primary because Ivy League faculties may not like ROTC?
    "And while some college leaders may want ROTC back, faculties are likely to be unenthusiastic."
    Secondary reason is to save money (That will be spent putting all these kids through unnecessary Basic and AIT training)

    I'm not saying ROTC could not be improved, but this is just a Headline grab
    IMHO - no real thinking went into this proposal. I am sure the AR/NG would love to deal with thousands of college students that are on a separate deployment schedule...

    A "Ivy League Faculty Re-education Plan" :hammer:
    on the benefits of a robust national defense would be far more economical :guns4: :worship::worship::worship:


    :eek::yikes::eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  4. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    The major point that upsets me is how they claim that "the best and the brightest" are turned off from ROTC due to the time commitments - and thus would be more willing to join through a PLC-like program.

    Well if these students aren't serious enough about the military to endure 4-5 hours/week of ROTC commitments, then why should the system be tailored to their convenience? I know Id rather serve with someone who's not "the best and brightest" if they are actually serious about their jobs.
     
  5. Christopher Tilque

    Christopher Tilque armybrat1

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    ROTC graduate

    This is a dumb and baseless idea. As an ROTC graduate that served in the National Guard as an SMP during my college years I have some experience in the proposed idea. And I just retired after a 28.5 year of service both active and Reserve. As a cadet I received valuable leadership training and an undergraduate education. And to be honest as a cadet drilling in a unit during college I basically was a secretary or I made a lot of coffee.

    My husband and I are both ROTC graduates and served long careers. We have both taught in a ROTC program and we can validate that the cadets in our program learned what they needed to ensure they would be prepared for whatever their career threw at them. We encouraged our son to apply for ROTC because we strongly believe in the program.

    Three weeks after graduating my officer courses I was sent to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield/Storm. I was very prepared for what I had to do because of my ROTC training. ROTC also teaches important life skills that helps the students deal with different stressors in their lives that could affect their ability to be an effective leader.

    All programs produce leaders but not all programs produce effective leaders all the time. Sorry for the long post but I strongly believe that by taking away this choice the Military would loose the potential to gain future effective leadership. The kids are the future of the Military, not me.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This is WAPO, and they are probably the closest thing to left leaning after the NYT. Not a shocker to me that they would print this article.

    What bothered me the most:
    They obviously don't understand that these instructors don't teach Econ to the traditional student. They only teach to ROTC cadet. Obviously they are the most prepared to discuss military lessons from experience. Additionally many of them have their Masters and attended military PME which would = graduate school for the military.

    Weekly drills and other activities dilute the focus on academic education. Cut me a break. Would they say that colleges should stop recruiting athletes? Surely their weekly practices and games dilute their focus on academic education. I mean seriously why does Yale have a football team at all, it is not a recruitment tool for the college. What college kid goes to HYPSM to play ball, but they still have a ball team.

    Should colleges get rid of frats/sororities and pledging? They too divert time away from academics. How about intramural sports? Or student council? The list can go on and on.

    Here's the difference between them and ROTC, ROTC brings money into the school and don't cost a dime to them. The frats,intramural sports and student council don't bring a penny. Colleges are like any other business...bottom line financials play into the equation. It is the ROTC students that clean up the football fields after home games...cheap labor.

    ROTC compared to OCS also is laughable. To say that a 3 month course is equivalent to a 4 yr course is inane. Additionally, heck while they think OCS turns out just as qualified ROTC cadets (and they do), why didn't they say get rid of the SA's too?

    The reason the retention rate is just as high, is they forgot to inform the public, many OCS members come in from the enlisted side. So now let's say they have 6 -7 yrs in, get OCS and than go off to training, well now they have 7-8 yrs and must stay to the 11-12 yr marker. Why on earth with only 8 yrs left would they leave before collecting 50% retirement pay for as long as they live? That's just 2 more tours.

    Now if you take that approach, the military actually gets less out of them from a leadership POV than the ROTC cadet, since the ROTC cadet would have served all 20 yrs as an officer.

    Also BTW, the cost of paying an enlisted member 6 yrs AD pay and bennies is much more expensive than any ROTC scholarship, including Type 1 to Duke.

    Don't read into this that I am slamming enlisted, I am not, they are the backbone of every branch. Just pointing out the flaws in the article.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    This isn't a left wing or right wing kind of a thing. John Lehmann was a SecNav under Reagan and a former A-6 NFO- hardly a closet member of Code Pink. It's a serious proposal that ought to be discussed seriously even if you don't reach the same conclusions. IMHO there is a lot to be said for the PLC model of the Marine Corps and frankly the ROTC model has some real drawbacks in my opinion- Frankly most ROTC graduates have very little exposure and very little hands on training with the nuts and bolts of the Army during their time in College. LDAC is not very demanding and so it's not until Lieutenants get to their basic course that the Army gets a real chance at them. PLC on the other is really concentrated hands on training and assessment time.
    So what are the drawbacks? Size would be one with the Army. Commissioning 2500-3000 Lieutenants annually would require a heck of a lot of training support and infrastructure. The idea of serving with a reserve unit is another: That is a lot more time consuming than the minimal time requirement that ROTC places on the average college student. The NG/USAR units these days aren't parking lots for easy to earn pension checks-and haven't been for a long time- they are deployable units and they take a lot of time and effort. They would be badly served as nursery schools for Cadets- it wouldn't benefit them or the Cadets. Plus- I don't think you are going to lure a bunch of kids from MIT or Harvard by telling them that they have to spend a weekend in Alston or Worcester every month with their Guard unit.


    Nothing is set in concrete and this is a reasonable attempt at sparking a discussion. Last week's (Jan24) Army Times print edition had a disturbing statistic. The most recent survey showed that USMA grads are leaving the service at an alarmingly high as soon as their obligated service commitment is up- at a 65% rate; 55% for ROTC graduates and 35% for OCS graduates. That should certainly at least spark some conversations about how the Army is finding it's Junior Officers. This may not be the answer, but it's an intelligent conversation to raise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    For clarification, when I stated left leaning I was discussing how this media source tilts.

    I don't know the stats for Army regarding OCS and % that are enlisted compared to college grads, but let's say 60% are enlisted who have served 6+ yrs.

    Wouldn't it be responsible to instead of looking at the dive rate, but look at the time they have served already regarding the %? An enlisted member may have 10 + yrs in, thus they stay because they are half way there for retirement, whereas the USMA has 4 in and retirement at 42 when you are 26 is too far off.

    Additionally, life gets in the way. An enlisted member at 32 when they can dive probably has a family, and mtg pmts. The 26 yo is less likely to have a spouse or a mtg pmt.

    Stats and Numbers can be played to fit the scenario.

    ERAU states that they give out the 2nd most amount of UPT slots after the AFA. However, when you dig into it further, you will find out % wise due to the size they give out less UPT slots than the avg.

    Just asking, is that retention rate based purely on wanting to serve or personal ulterior motives...i.e. retirement, family, age, TA, etc.
     
  9. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    bruno, my concern is that Secretary Lehman is essentially suggesting that the Officer Corps in the United States should be selected from the upper fringes of society. That's the practical result of concentrating ROTC at the ivy league schools (on a systemic level). In contrast to the "Nobility" Officer Corps in Britain, I think one of the reasons our military works so well is that our officers come from middle America and thus are in a better position to lead our troops. On average, our officers have higher "street smarts" than some of the folks you find at the elite schools. Learning about the properties of carbon nanotubes requires a different skill-set than learning about to select a final protective line.

    Under this system, it seems to me that the "less qualified" officer candidates would eventually migrate over to the SAs and SMCs. The "best and brightest," in contrast, would be encouraged (perhaps inadvertently) to matriculate at the ivy league schools. Over time, this will be a problem.

    Our current system (a blend of officers coming from SAs, SMCs, Ivys, state universities, and small private schools) appears to strike the "right" balance and provides a better Officer Corps, IMHO.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Patent you'd be surprised at how many of our cadets at our SA's also got BFE from HYSPM. Any SA academically is on par with any and all Ivy's. The reason many opt to go to Elite schools over an SA usually comes down to personal reasons, and those reasons are usually tied to the thought "I still want to be a college kid", that includes not walking the pavement or majoring in a liberal arts field, such as international relations. Elite colleges are not going to require those majors to take 4 yrs of advanced math or science to get their degree. All AFA candidates regardless of major will have yrs of math and science, not just a semester or two.

    Also, if you look at Rhode's Scholars, yr after yr the SA's have recipients of this prestigious program. They not only have this, but fellowships at MIT, Harvard, Rand, etc.

    I think this idea may have merit for the Army and the Marines, but not for every branch. For the AF, their job of leading troops does not happen for yrs and yrs. A LT in the AF, even in Intel is not going to be in charge of 100 airman, maybe 3 if they are lucky. In the Army as an O2 they are leading large amount of troops. If they are a flier they will not lead anyone until at least an O3, and even at that point, their position would be a flight commander of maybe 10-15 officers. The A & F O1 officer is going to report to the A & F commander, probably an O4. Maintenance commanders are usually O5s.

    Total different world when it comes to the AF compared to the Army. Than again the Army is much bigger than the AF.

    Our ROTC systems operate differently, mainly due to the reason of fitting the specific needs to that specific branch. It is not a one size fits all method. Approaching ROTC in that way may help one branch, but hurt another branch.

    Look at ROTC like you look at the SA's they exist to groom future leaders for that branch, not for every branch in the DOD. We don't send cadets to WP and expect them to fly fighters for the AF. Their job is to become the best for that branch.

    The one thing I do disagree with is about not enough training for ROTC cadets re: leadership. Anyone familiar with the system knows that these cadets work up the ladder, they do learn to lead every week, because by the time they are upperclassmen, they are no longer GMCs. They are flight (AF) commanders who mentor, counsel and guide 10-30-50 cadets, depending on the det size. They mimic the real world AF life...There is a cadet who is the cadet commander. That commander has people reporting to him/her, such as flight commanders. He reports to the CoC. Problems arise with a cadet, they are all involved (CoC, CC and FCC). Do that 30 weeks a yr, for 3 or 4 yrs, and you will get a strong understanding of how to lead. Best part of that is you have AD members with real life experience consistently reviewing and advising. Our DS is a C300, now in theory he only has to do 2 days a week at ROTC, but because of his position in the det., he is there probably 4 days a week. His grades have never suffered, he has @3.4 cgpa, and last semester he had a 3.6 gpa. He is in the Scholars program and has managed to blend not only academics, ROTC, together just fine, but also is in AAS and has friends that he socializes outside of ROTC also, plus a GF.

    You truly can have it all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  11. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Excellent post, Pima.
     
  12. gojack

    gojack ....

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    No offense intended, but IMHO;
    I see this from the exact opposite perspective, The Army is attracting plenty of good officer candidates... But after having them for 8-9 years, 4yrs of college and 4-5 years working, they are leaving in large numbers. So the Army had 8-9 yrs to convince them that the Army is a good career choice. Very clearly a lot are deciding it is not. When large numbers of people start voting with their feet, it is time to find out why they are not happy, not time to look for happier people.

    From what I have read, the "Army's upper-middle management" that moved into their current positions during the relatively peaceful time between Vietnam and the Gulf war, are overly 'process orientated' and the young combat commanders are not at all happy with this type of management. Branching and assignments could easily be moved to a more independent and open e-system, but the Army continues with the personnel management system from the war of 1812.

    Article Link
     
  13. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    We're starting to veer off-topic, but I think many leave the service not because of a lack of interest in or disenchantment with the military, etc. Rather, many junior grades leave the service to pursue professional careers, they become state troopers or other law enforcement officers, they join the clergy, they become distinguished authors, and an overwhelming number of folks become leaders in business, generating jobs for millions of grateful families, generating tax revenue for the government (without which the military would be non-existent), etc. To give an example, the S-3 in my Infantry battalion a number of years ago left to our unit to become a fiction writer -- not because he was displeased with the military but because he was pursuing his dream. Many don't appreciate the role that authors play in our society, but they do play a role.

    It is a common trap for folks in a given profession who LOVE that profession to question why others wouldn't want to be a part of it. For example, I love the practice of law. However, if I were to suggest that I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to be a lawyer, I'd expect to get really flamed with responses such as "Because we have dignity!!" or "Because we're not Vampires!" and the like.:smile:

    The military is an excellent platform for creating a great class of great Americans, and each contributes in their own way. Some may be better at assaulting a machine-gun nest while others are good at feeding our nation's poor in the soup kitchens of America. Neither is a "better" American than the other.

    It would truly be a disaster for our military and our country if the privilege of serving were limited SOLELY to those who took an oath to serve in the military for the rest of their lives (or at least a majority of their "working years"). John F. Kennedy and John McCain and many others would never have become great public servants under that type of system.

    In short, I think 4-5 years of active duty is a good thing. Those who want to stay can stay (with the thanks of a greatful nation). But the devotion to country, management skills, etc. that the military taught those who leave is not lost -- it is put to use to help our country in ways the military may not see for many years, if ever.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  14. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Bruno: Forgive me for inserting Mongo's post (from a different thread) ahead of yours, but it may have some relevance.

    Perhaps those officers graduating from WP with technical (engineering) degrees combined with their WP diploma are actually hot commodities in the job market and are leaving because they can?

    As I understand OCS grads, those people have graduated from college and in many cases found their job prospects to be less than desirable and then chosen to become officers.

    AROTC grads are usually somewhere in between depending on their majors.

    I realize my observations are painting these groups with a "broad brush" but the choice to leave the Army may be mostly based on economics tempered with some quality of life issues (such as the risk of dying).
     
  15. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I'm not necessarily either defending or supporting the proposition. I personally don't believe that this will do what Lehman is suggesting - in fact I suspect it would do the opposite. Nor do I think that there is a screaming need for "the best and the brightest" to increase their participation. In fact while I doubt seriously that someone should be categorized like that because they grew up with 2 parents, an upper middle class family income, a Volvo and good Academic work ethic as a teen ager; I actually think that the Service Academies now market too much to those very same folks. So is the service better off trying to expand its "market penetration" into the Bala CynWyd set even more with ROTC?
    I think that one of the things that you are seeing with retention #s for Service Academy Grads as low as they are (and retention #s below 50% is much lower than historical) is a result of that marketing strategy. An awful lot of those kids come in to an SA with the expectation of 5 & dive to use a USNA term and that's what they do- to head off to get an MBA at Harvard or Wharton or Tuck etc... and make their fortune just like all of their other Ivy League counterparts. Good for them, but is the Army better for that?
    (And at some point - the cost benefit analysis of maintaining a Service Academy with that low a % of career officers is going to be called into question - which is why I am certain that USMA looks at those numbers with concern and why the USMA AOG continually looks at what is happening in that regard). So the author's interest in expanding the draw to students at "top" Universities like Harvard or Stanford leaves me cold. (On top of which I see nothing in this proposal that would even be more attractive to that segment of the student population. As I said earlier- personally I can't see any attraction for those kids - it certainly doesn't make it less demanding of their time than the current ROTC model.)

    So actually what I find interesting about this proposal is that in some ways it would produce a much better prepared ROTC graduate- 9 or 10 weeks of concentrated time at Ft Benning or Ft Knox etc.. ala Marine PLC over two summers, vs 4 weeks at Ft Lewis at LDAC and years of sitting in a classroom wearing a uniform once/week absorbing Army theory but miles away from the actual Army. I just kind of wonder if you wouldn't get a much better prepared Lt before you even sent him to his branch course with some variation of this concept.

    I don't really think anything is going to change with the current structure, but I think that it is an interesting proposal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    With all due respect to Honorable Lehman, I think he is out of touch

    Significant percentage of ROTC personnel are contractors. Serving in ROTC assignment allows military personnel to diverisfy their experience, take a break, improve their civilian educaiton. Cannot just place value of ROTC with yielding new officers, how about marketing the armed forces to the public.

    Many ROTC classes do count for credit. When I was in ROTC one year, many non-ROTC students in my MS 1 leadership class.

    How does this save money? How do we prevent kids from backing out after graduation. With ROTC, cadets are exposed to military and some do back up after a year.

    How about the requirement to complete Basic and Advance Individual training? This will be more hinderance to college students. I would think weekend drills and 15 day annual training might be more hassle to college students than their ROTC committment. I wonder what is availabilty of NG or Reserve units in Boston for college students to join. ROTC on campus you don't need a car. NG or Reserve, you have to drive to the armory or readiness center.
     
  17. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    If there is a RIF going on, doesn't it help the Army if headcount is reduced? "Five and divers" actually provide career-military types a greater chance to stay on active duty in the middle of a RIF.

    I personally think it is a good thing for our country, on a macro level, to have folks with military experience out in the civilian economy.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree about economically.

    Think about without military personnel who dived, be it 5, 8, 10, who would be flying our commercial airlines? Who would be in charge of maintaining them?

    How about those who go Acct and Fin., don't you think they use that experience for any company out there as a CFO?

    Engineers...Pratt and Whitney, along with Raytheon, Boeing, GE, etc love military engineers...their on the job experience is golden.

    Police...if you go into any police dept., 10 will get you 20 there is someone on the force that was an MP/SP.

    In the end, even our economy needs them to dive at one point or another.
     
  19. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    It may be that it is good for the country to have lots of ex Army officers running around- and in fact that's pretty much exactly what VMI and Norwich both claim in their mission statements and the premise upon which they were founded: train graduates who are valuable as civilians and can step into a role of military leadership when the country needs them to do so. But that isn't what USMA exists to do and the reason that the Army funds it is because it is supposed to be the core of the professional Officer Corps. The Army is spending multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars manning and running a Service Academy ostensibly to provide the base of the Career Professional Officer Corps. The USMA mission statement reads in conclusion:
    . If they only retain 35% of them beyond their initial committment - it's a waste of an asset and they are failing in the mission. The ROTC and the OCS grads are supposed to be "the temporary help"- it's why there used to be a distinction between RA and USAR commissions for active duty officers. That was a silly distinction that's now gone, but that doesn't mean that the basic function of USMA has changed to one of nonspecific "service to the nation in some capacity after a short stint in the Army."
    That's really far afield from the original thread. My point is that while this proposal doesn't seem to me to do what the authors are trying to accomplish : (ie... expand the attraction of Army commissioning opportunities to students at the top tier of National Universities like Harvard etc..) but the USMC PLC model may be an interesting template that improves the ROTC program in terms of training of the average ROTC graduate. The current system didn't get laid down on Mt Sinai as far as I know, so it certainly ought to get periodically reviewed just for the sake of ensuring that it is the most effective system that it can be.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree as taxpayers we should have it periodically reviewed to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck.

    Nothing should ever be off the table. I just believe that each branch should have the authority to do what is best for their branch.

    Look at AROTC, the cadets don't all go AD, they have 3 paths...AD, Reserve or Guard. That is what is best for them.

    AFROTC you go AD, just like an SA grad. They have decided not to pay scholarships for the Reservists or Guard.

    Marines, have an option of enlisting and getting college paid for if they qualify. That is the best for the Navy re: Marines.

    I think we should allow each branch to do what is best for them, and not do a broad stroke approach for all.
     

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