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Faculty Forum Papers

"May 1978 - The Army and ROTC" By

Richard D. James
Associate Professor of Military Science

November 4, 1977


As a Professor of Military Science at Oregon State University, I feel an obligation to keep the faculty informed of changes within the Army and the ROTC program which affect this campus. As a "Land Grant College" OSU has always been involved in military training and that condition continues on the modern campus. All four Services, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, are represented here in an admirable manner. Our cadets and midshipmen consistently take high honors when compared to others nationwide. Specifically, within the Army ROTC, we have continued to earn the reputation of "West Point of the West" as evidenced by our Juniors placing first out of 72 institutions at the Fort Lewis Advanced Camp last Summer.

Recent changes in the defense force structure necessitating a reduction in the number of officers required for the Active Army have been interpreted by some as indicating a diminishing requirement for ROTC training. Such cannot be further from the truth. In consonance with the basic American concept of defensive preparedness, as the standing Army shrinks back to its peacetime size, our civilian reserve force must increase in size and capabilities. The effect on ROTC is to cause a shift in the proportions of those allowed to go on extended active duty and those who are trained for reserve duty. This is a desirable sift, except in the eyes of students seeking a military career. Nationwide, the percent of commissionees going directly to the Reserves has risen from almost none to approximately 40 percent and will continue up to 60 percent. Here at OSU it has risen from zero to 21 percent and may creep higher. We at OSU have consistently commissioned a disproportionately large number or Regular Army lieutenants who are focused on a military career. This infusion of officers from the college mainstream, and particularly form Oregon, has done much towards insuring that the American Military shares a philosophical foundation with the rest of our society and is not developed in isolation.

Students planning their overall programs should now, more than ever, consider taking advantage of the executive management training offered through the ROTC. Those not desiring a career can now be guaranteed reserve, rather than active duty, at a geographical location of their choice, where they can pursue their civilian occupation. In so doing they (1) learn planning, decision making, supervisory skills, and leadership techniques; (2) share their philosophical orientation with the Military, thereby enriching both themselves and the service; (3) honor the responsibility we all have to future generations by serving our country; and (4) develop an additional source for annual income and eventual retirement benefits. All students, especially those with the goal of entering management within their chosen career fields, should be advised of these opportunities.

There is another change which has taken place within the relatively recent past. The Army has made great strides towards the inclusion of the very latest management practices. The theory and techniques developed by researches and practitioners in the business field have been aggressively adopted by the military. Organizational behavior, group dynamics, operationalized motivation schemes, and organization theory are all subjects of intense study both during officer preparatory training and advanced officer (executive) workshops and seminars. The most sophisticated computer systems are utilized at all echelons within the defense structure for general management, tactical and technical planning and control, and fiscal management. The U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences has established an enviable reputation for both development and field implementation of advanced interpersonal behavior facilitation programs. These facts normally have low visibility because they are not considered public relations material. The University community, though, can appreciate the tremendous strides they represent when compared to the image portrayed by films and television. This "new" Army should be known for what it is, not what the image-maker try to make it appear to be in order to sell their sensationalized, dramatized, romanticized product. The faculty need to know the facts so that they can advise students from a reality-based position.

On a more parochial level, we at OSU Army ROTC now offer a program with multiple entry points to anyone with two or more years of university education remaining. Cadets may receive ROTC and academic credit for coursework or may simply take part in a number of outdoor and military activities for only ROTC credit. Details are available from the Military Science office.

The changes in the standing Army strength, leadership training and challenges within the Army, and the OSU Army ROTC program are all pertinent to the OSU faculty. We guide and advise students concerning their professional and intellectual growth and cannot help but have an impact on their managerial development and ethical reevaluations. We therefore need to present to them the options available through military training here at Oregon State University.