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ROTC: 'leadership experienced'.

The benefits of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs are clearly seen throughout the Army during times of both peace and national crisis. Currently we are fighting in a multi-front conflict which is challenging our entire military structure and placing a specific hardship on our junior leader development. These leaders come from the traditional sources, Officer Candidate School, ROTC, and United States Military Academy, but must be more flexible, more adaptive, and more agile than their predecessors. That fact alone makes ROTC an excellent source of commissioning junior leaders because in their daily lives as cadets they must develop and use those skills in order to succeed.

ROTC cadets have multiple fronts on which they must continuously engage. First, they must maintain their focus on academics. Depending on their academic major and institution this can present a major challenge. They also must balance challenging financial responsibilities. In today's culture cadets must have cars, phones, computers, and other resources in order to function in their academic, military, and social structures. These tools cost money and have to be resourced by the cadets. Many cadets have young families. This is another glass ball that must be balanced as cadets move through the program and into their professional lives. Cadets also are often members of the Reserves or National Guard Units in their local areas and they require these cadets to allocate at least one weekend a month and two weeks a year to their units (they are exempt from deploying as long as they stay in good standing with school and ROTC). Finally, the cadet must allocate time to the ROTC program. While listed as the final activity many cadets and cadre demand this program receive the largest percentage of time and energy. ROTC alone requires no less than 200 contact hours per semester.

With all of these areas of focus ROTC is the perfect commissioning source for the type of renaissance leader we develop in the Army today. As each professor, coach, boss, unit and family lay the requirements on the cadet they experience the multiple demands they will face when entering into the Army. Each cadet must balance their lives in such a way that all of the requirements are not only satisfied but optimized.

At Augusta State University we have not perfected the system but we acknowledge these pressures and responsibilities, working constantly to mentor and advise these future leaders.

The mission statement of ROTC is "To commission the future officer leadership of the United States Army." We believe that inherent in this mission are the following four objectives:

1) Intellectual: To supplement the University's traditional education with subjects of value to the student in civil or military pursuits; to teach each cadet to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; and to motivate cadets to become leaders throughout their lives, beginning with their university experience.

2) Moral: To develop in each cadet a high sense of duty and the attributes of character inherent in leadership which emphasize integrity, discipline, and motivation to succeed in the profession of arms. Ethical leadership is the foundation upon which the service leadership development through the Army ROTC program rests.

3) Physical: To develop in each cadet the stamina and fitness essential to a physically demanding career as an Army officer. Physical fitness is a way of life. Physical fitness improves individual performance through the reduction of stress and improved mental and physical well-being.

4) Military: To provide cadets with the broad-based military science and military leadership education required as a prerequisite of commissioning. The traditional purposes and ideals are to unite in closer relationship the military departments of American universities and colleges; to preserve and develop the essential qualities of good efficient officers; to prepare ourselves as educated men and women to take a more active part and have greater influence in military affairs of the communities in which we may reside; and above all to spread intelligent, accurate information concerning the military requirements of our country.

For many cadets the ROTC program is executed through a progressive four year experience. Each year the cadets are given more responsibility and more authority until the final year when they receive the mantel of battalion leadership. Some, however, are not traditional progressive four year scholarship cadets but advance cadets who join us for only the last two years of the program. Cadets come to the program in many different ways and they each add to the depth and breadth of experience. At Augusta State University we have cadets with no Army experience who joined the program immediately out of high school and cadets with fourteen years of active Army time. The key factors in becoming a cadet are the criteria we call SAL: student, athlete, leader. We look for each applicant to have demonstrated attributes in each of those areas and potential for increased growth.

For freshmen and sophomores the ROTC program lays the groundwork to become an Army officer or better citizen and includes both classroom and lab experiences. The junior class prepares for one of the toughest leadership courses offered. Leadership Development Assessment Course challenges all of the military skills cadets have developed through a 29 day leadership experience. During the year they will learn small unit tactics, land navigation, range operations, first aid and physical training. They will experience combat water survival, ruck marches, rappelling, and most importantly they develop teamwork and leadership skills. Finally, the seniors in our program run the battalion on a day to day basis. They develop, plan, execute, and evaluate every battalion event from daily physical training, ranges, monthly training, to the culminating three day field training exercises.

An additional benefit of the ROTC program in our local communities is the cadets serve as Army ambassadors in all that they do. Whether in school, church, job, or other activities cadets are able to integrate into their organizations and teach others about the Army and the ROTC programs. Their leadership in those programs is a symbiotic relationship as the cadet gains viable experience in leadership and the community has someone assisting or participating in their activity.

Since our goal is to commission professionally sound second lieutenants into the Army we use every experience as a training opportunity. The motto of ROTC is "Leadership Excellence" but after a single semester as the Professor of Military Science at Augusta State University I would say that the ROTC program could be coined "Leadership experienced".


OCS--Officewr Candidate School

ROTC--Reserve Officers' Training Corps

USMA--United States Military Academy

MAJ Karen Roe

MAJ Karen Roe is the current Professor of Military Science at Augusta State University. She was commissioned from The United State Military Academy into the Signal Corps in December 1992.
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Title Annotation:Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Author:Roe, Karen
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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