No more urban officers? How an uneven ROTC may change our military

Butch Dill/AP
When cadet Kevin Poon arrives at St. John's University in the dark of early morning for physical training, he stands among about 80 other cadets in the football field encircled by the school's red track, quietly waiting for 6 a.m. and the start of warm-up drills. He says hello and nods to some, all of whom are dressed like he is in gray "ARMY" t-shirts and black shorts. 
 
About half of the cadets, like Poon, are idly shifting their weight and glancing around sleepily before they have to form a series of lines and stand at attention. They are commuters. The other half talk and laugh amongst themselves, their shouts piercing the cool morning air as they while away the minutes. They are non-commuters who live, work, and train together on campus.
 
Poon, a bespectacled Asian American sporting a buzz cut, is a senior at St. John's ROTC in Queens, one of only two Army ROTC programs in New York City. He has persevered through four years, since he was a freshman, but he thinks of his fellow cadets more as professional partners than friends.
 
"I have a working relationship with my comrades," Poon said. "I do what they ask. They do what I ask. No hostility, but no intimacy."
 
Poon's experience is typical among cadets in the Northeast, where ROTC programs are few and far between. New York City is home to nearly 600,000 students and 80 colleges. The city's population of 8 million is equivalent to Virginia's, yet the city has only four ROTC programs on college campuses, compared with Virginia's 11. 
 
Many New York schools severed their ties with the ROTC during the 1960s, when anti-war protests broke out across campuses in the Northeast. When the draft ended, the military slipped even further into the background, where it has remained ever since. In response, the Armed Forces have stopped making much of an effort to recruit in the area. Even City University of New York, the third-largest public university system in America and the one that commissioned General Colin Powell, no longer has an ROTC program.

Read more at The Atlantic.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.