The Army analyzed its 273 ROTC programs nationwide and announced this week it would close 13 that were graduating 15 or fewer cadets a year.
“The problem is they were just not producing the number of lieutenants the Army needed them to produce,” said Army Cadet Command spokesman Mike Johnson. “This is not just a snapshot. This is a look back over three years and five years and 10 years.”
The programs will officially close at the end of the 2014-15 academic year, giving cadets in their final two years time to graduate. Those in their first two years are being encouraged to transfer to another college with an ROTC program or remain at their current schools as a traditional student, according to an Army memo sent to GRU on Oct. 1.
According to senior media relations coordinator Danielle Harris, the two officers and two soldiers working in the GRU ROTC program will “continue their normal career progression in the U.S. Army” and be reassigned to another duty post.
However, Raymond Short, a contracted recruiting operations officer, said he was let go last week without reason. He later learned his termination was due to the ROTC program elimination, but he argues the program was not underperforming.
Short said the GRU ROTC received instruction from the Army over the last several years to reduce the number of commissioned cadets.
“We were restricted to the point where we couldn’t commission any more than about 10 this year,” he said. “We had to turn students away from scholarships because of the low goals. I don’t understand where they get we were underperforming.”
The ROTC program began at the former Augusta State University in 1929. It was suspended for a period of time, of which the dates are unclear, and reopened in 1975, Harris said.
Over the past three years, Harris said the program has commissioned 38 cadets into the military.
In March the cadets and staff were named Battalion of the Year by the U.S. Army Cadet Command 6th Brigade Headquarters among 270 other universities.
Students enrolled in ROTC graduate as second lieutenants in the Army while also completing an undergraduate degree of their choice.
Cadets sign a contract in their third year of the program agreeing to become an officer in the Army, the reserves or the National Guard upon graduation, according to Johnson.
The collegiate programs are almost completely funded by the Army, which pays for uniforms, materials, instructor salaries, and in many cases, scholarships. Schools are responsible for providing a facility, utilities and sometimes administrative staff.
Johnson said funding and personnel saved from these 13 program cuts will be reinvested into bigger growth markets across the country. The Army is trying to expand its ROTC program to collegiate programs in under-served urban areas and larger cities, he said.