ROTC is Back in Action

Tech is one of 13 schools nationwide that will continue its ROTC program after being informed of program closures last month.

Tech’s ROTC program was one of 13 programs across the nation that was identified for closure which appeared to be linked to a budget decision and the Army’s desire to have more diverse ROTC participants, according to last month’s press release.

Tech officials received word from Washington Wednesday evening in a report stating that it would continue its ROTC program through a 24-month probationary program for schools failing to meet the evaluation criteria.

The Army has suspended the closure of the 13 programs, plus their partnerships and affiliated schools, and directed their immediate placement in a probationary status, according to a report by the office of the assistant secretary of the Army.

The Army’s decision to close the 13 programs raised many questions last month as University and State leaders pushed hard in search of answers.

“The president of the University lead the charge,” said Mark Ochsenbein, director of student activities. “He put together a great task force to work this issue.  There were political leaders, senate and congressional leaders and even the governor who went out there and fought the fight big time.” 

Ochsenbein said 40 percent of soldiers that are in the Army are out of the Southeast and nine out of last month’s 13 ROTC program closings were in the same region.

“When a preponderance of your forces is out of the Southeast, the decision to close nine programs doesn’t make sense,” said Ochsenbein.

The Army will develop a formal 24-month probationary program for schools failing to meet the evaluation criteria, according to the report.

Programs that do not demonstrate improvement by the end of the first year will receive one year’s notice of intent to close the unit.

However, programs that do show improvement in meeting evaluation criteria will be retained on probationary program for a second year, according to the report.

Ochsenbein said he’s not going to launch into this probation period expecting to fail.

“We are looking to win and continue this program so we are absolutely going to continue to go out and recruit to get new men and women into the program,” said Ochsenbein.

At the end of the 24-month period, schools retained for a second year will be re-evaluated.  At that time, programs will either receive one year’s notice of intent to close the program or be retained, according to the report.

Senior Battalion Cadet Commander Nick White said the University’s program is important to the school and to the community of Cookeville