Improving ROTC

ROTC programs are a  massive waste of money and manpower. A full-time civilian or GI is employed for each new officer produced each year, as explained here: Unify ROTC. There are three other ways to greatly slash ROTC manpower and costs. 

Eliminate ROTC staff

Rather than dozens of ROTC staff members to provide classroom instruction, a college would just have a couple ROTC mentors, who serve as recruiters and personal advisors. ROTC scholarship winners would have to graduate from a summer OCS before their freshmen year, similar to "plebe" summer at the Naval Academy. They would then attend a second summer camp before their junior year. There would be no ROTC classes to attend, although the advisors would organize a local military trips and parties each year, and ROTC teams for intramural sporting events. This would cut the cost of producing each ROTC grad in  half.

Enlisted ROTC

ROTC scholarship winners must enlist in the reserves for eight years. They would attend enlisted basic training with regular soldiers the summer before their freshmen year. These privates would wear enlisted insignia and drill each month with a local reserve unit, plus the two-week annual drill each summer. If their unit is mobilized for more than a few days, they would probably be excused until they finish college. They would be promoted while in college and become corporals after finishing OCS during the summer before their junior year.

These enlisted cadets would not receive a monthly ROTC stipend, but standard reserve pay instead. If they drop out of college, they would be required to finish their reserve contract with a reserve unit. Otherwise, most would be sergeants by the time they finish college and earn their commission. As a result, new 2ndLts produced by ROTC would have four-years of enlisted experience in the reserves. This would be their training, there would be no ROTC class work. ROTC staff would just be the mentors mentioned in the first option, who would also be part the local reserve unit.

Two-year scholarships

ROTC programs waste millions of dollars and millions of man hours dealing with teenage ROTC scholarship winners who show little interest in the military or education. Many drop out or must be forced out. ROTC could offer twice as many two-year scholarships to those who have demonstrated the maturity to finish two-years of college. They would have to complete summer OCS to earn their fully-paid two-year ROTC scholarship.

Reserve Lieutenants

A final option would address the poor quality of lieutenants in the reserve components. Some of these are the bottom end of ROTC graduates that the regular army rejected. Others are just college/OCS grads with no active duty or reserve experience. A better option is to establish a reserve officer program aimed at active-duty enlisted men who plan to attend college. 

Corporals or sergeants who have not reenlisted and have been accepted into a college would be recruited into a reserve officer program. They would attend OCS near the end of their enlistment, depending on when their college classes start. They would arrive at their reserve unit as a new 2ndLt with a four-year obligation. Quotas would be allocated per unit. For example, a reserve rifle company would be allocated two new 2ndLts a year, who will attend a college within a 100-mile radius.

If they drop out of college and their reserve performance is poor, they will not be promoted to captain and discharged after four years. If they perform well, yet fail to complete a college degree, they are likely to fail promotion to major. However, with their four years of enlisted experience these "passed-over" captains would have nearly 20 "good" active/reserve years, so they could retire from the reserves at 20-years and draw reserve retirement pay as a captain at age 60. Most would finish their college degree, and serve a career as a reserve officer with four years of active-duty "enlisted" experience.

                                                         Carlton Meyer