Thursday, February 22, 2007

ROTC Retreating South and West

The same people who cry the loudest for diversity are forcing our military's officer corps to become more and more heterogeneous:

There is no Army ROTC program in the Detroit area, with its large middle-class Muslim population, and only one in Miami and Chicago. In New York City, which produced more than 500 military officers a year in the
1950s and early 1960s, the two remaining ROTC programs last year yielded 34 Army officers...

In contrast, Alabama, which has a student population that is about one-fourth the size of the state of New York, has 10 ROTC programs that last year produced 174 Army officers. The South generates about 40% of all Army officers, according to Pentagon statistics...

At a time when the country is growing more and more diverse, the Army is struggling to build an officer corps that takes full advantage of America's multiethnic society. There are only about 1,500 Muslims in a force of about 500,000 soldiers. Arabic speakers are in critically short supply throughout the force, say senior Army officials. Even in those cities, like New York, where the Army maintains ROTC, it is undermanned and culturally out-of-synch with the people it is trying to recruit...

The Army's retreat from urban areas has complex roots, from antimilitary sentiment in big cities in the wake of the Vietnam War to simple economics. Urban ROTC programs have generally produced fewer cadets and are considered poorer investments than programs at large campuses in the South. Internal Army studies say the best ROTC candidates are students whose parents have served in the military and enjoy physical activity. "They may have rafted, canoed, rock climbed or sky dived," an internal Army report states. Prime candidates also have served in leadership positions at school...

The Army's shift South began in the late 1960s at a time when anger over the war in Vietnam was prevalent on many Northeastern campuses. At some high-profile schools, like Harvard, Yale and Columbia, disagreements between the military and school administrators drove ROTC off campus. Many small Southern schools actively courted the military by setting aside new buildings for ROTC programs.


I admit, it's hard for me to imagine a time when New York City produced a sizable number of military officers, especially when one considers the sentiments in this column. This shows how much things have changed in my own lifetime.

I've heard too many people (usually on the left, of course) decry the "military mindset", yet they don't realize two things:
1. there is no military mindset, and
2. if you think there is, you could change it by contributing part of your own thoughts into the system.
But no, they're not going to do that. It's easier to look down your nose at someone, especially if that someone is more than likely from the boonies, or at least from a place where you yourself would never deign to go.

When those northeastern and Pacific Coast elites say that the military isn't our kind of people, they're right--but not in the way they think.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you think it is difficult to imagine New York City contributing troops, what about Harvard?

Then go here:
http://www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu/history/wwII.shtml

and here:
http://www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu/history/ww1.shtml

Things *have* changed.

There is also this:
http://www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu/history/4germans.shtml
with which I have no problem.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is the people who are out of synch with the Army, not the other way around.

Darren said...

I agree completely--and hope you didn't get the wrong impression.

Mike said...

Hmm. I'm always amused that those who so voiciferiously oppose ROTC programs seem to have little or no idea that those who wish to conquer America are just about as far from polically correct, diverse and inclusive as it is humanly possible to be. True, they have no appreciation for Conservatives either, but Jihadist Islam certainly does not in any way appreciate the common constituents of the liberal establishment such as women, homosexuals, intellectuals, college teachers (indeed, any teachers), minorities, etc.

And they think that the way to forestall these fanatics is to do all that they can to harm our armed forces for not being gay-inclusive enough, starting with making life rough for ROTC and recruiters? When the Army starts beheading gay soldiers, I'll give the liberal side of things another listen, but until then...