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The patches of all five Junior ROTC branches.

The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) is a government program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces in high schools across the United States of America. JROTC began with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. Provisions of the Act authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active duty Army military personnel as instructors to high schools. In 1964, the Vitalization Act opened JROTC to the other services and most of the active duty instructors were replaced with retirees, who worked for and there cost shared by the schools.[1][2]

Role and purpose[]

According to Title 69, Section 2031 of the United States Code, the purpose of JROTC is "to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment."[3] Additional objectives are established by the service departments of the Department of Defense. Under Federal Regulations, Title 32, Section 524.5, National Defense, the Department of the Army has declared those objectives for each cadet to be:

  • Developing good citizenship and patriotism.
  • Developing self-reliance, leadership, and responsiveness to constituted authority.
  • Improving the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing.
  • Developing an appreciation of the importance of physical fitness.
  • Increasing a respect for the role of the US Armed Forces in support of national objectives.
  • Developing a knowledge of basic military skills.[4]

It also states, in part, that JROTC should "provide meaningful leadership instruction of benefit to the student and of value to the Armed Forces. ... Students will acquire: (1) An understanding of the fundamental concept of leadership, military art and science, (2) An introduction to related professional knowledge, and (3) An appreciation of requirements for national security. The dual roles of citizen/soldier and soldier/citizen are studied. ... These programs will enable cadets to better serve their country as leaders, as citizens, and in military service should they enter it. ... The JROTC and NDCC are not, of themselves, officer-producing programs but should create favorable attitudes and impressions toward the Services and toward careers in the Armed Forces."[5]

The US military frequently asserts that they are not actively Military recruitment|recruiting from JROTC students. The military has stated that JROTC will inform young Americans about the opportunities available in the military and "may help motivate young Americans toward military service."[6] An Army policy memorandum states that JROTC is not precluded from "facilitating the recruitment of young men and women into the U.S. Army," directing instructors to "actively assist cadets who want to enlist in the military [and] emphasize service in the U.S. Army; facilitate recruiter access to cadets in JROTC program and to the entire student body ... [and] work closely with high school guidance counselors to sell the Army story."[7] Former United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen referred to JROTC as "one of the best Military recruitment|recruitment programs we could have."[8]

In a February 2000 testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, the armed service Joint Chiefs of Staff|chiefs of staff testified that 30%–50% of graduating JROTC cadets go on to join the military:

  • General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps testified that the value of the Marine JROTC program "is beyond contest. Fully one-third of our young men and women who join a Junior ROTC program wind up wearing the uniform of a United States Marine Corps|Marine."
  • General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the United States Army testified that "Our indications are about 30 percent of those youngsters — we don't recruit them, as you know. We are not permitted to do that. But by virtue of the things that they like about that experience, about 30 percent of them end up joining the Army, either enlisting or going on to ROTC and then joining the officer population."
  • General Michael E. Ryan, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force testified that "almost 50 percent of the folks that go [...] out of the Air Force Junior ROTC go into one of the Services by enlisting or going to ROTC or going to one of the academies."
  • Admiral Jay L. Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations testified that "Even if the number is only 30 percent, that is a good number. But think about what we get out of the other 70 percent. They have exposure to us. They have exposure to the military. And the challenge of the education mandate that we all share in principal (school)|principals and school counselors and school districts that won't let us in, that is a powerful tool I think to educate whether or not they end up in the service. So it is a long way around saying it is well worth the investment for lots of different reasons."[9]

General Colin Powell admitted in his 1995 autobiography that "the armed forces might get a youngster more inclined to enlist as a result of Junior ROTC," but added that "Inner-city kids, many from broken homes, found stability and role models in Junior ROTC."


Each branch of the US Armed Forces maintains a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, organized into units. As of June 2006, there are a total of 3,229 units:

In 1967, Congress increased the total number of units authorized to be established from 1,200 to 1,600. In 1992, Congress expanded the maximum number of JROTC units to 3,500; The statutory limitation on the number of units was struck from the law in 2001.[10][11] Their goal is to reach 3,500 units by FY 2011 by encouraging program expansion into educationally and economically deprived areas.[12]

Units are set up according to the layout of their parent service. Army and Marine Corps JROTC units follow the battalion structure. Air Force JROTC units are composed structurally based on size(wing if more than 251 cadets, group if 101-250 cadets, squadron if 51-100 cadtes, and flight up to 50 cadets). Navy JROTC typically follows the Company structure (company 100-149 cadets, battalion 150-299 cadets, or regiment 300+ cadets).

JROTC is partly funded by the United States Department of Defense with an allocation in the Military budget of the United States. For fiscal year 2007, about 340 million dollars of which about 68 million are personnel costs.[13] The Federal Government subsidizes instructor salaries, cadet uniforms, equipment and textbooks. The instructors, usually retired military personnel, continue to receive retirement pay from the Federal government, but in addition, the schools pay the difference from what the instructors would receive if they were on active duty. The service concerned then reimburses the school for approximately one-half of the amount paid by the school to the instructor.

Although active duty officers may be assigned, most instructors are retired from the sponsoring branch of the Armed Forces. In the United States Army|Army JROTC program, the cadet unit at each school is directed by at least one retired commissioned officer, an SAI, (in the grade of Second Lieutenant through Colonel) or a warrant officer (WO1 through CW5) and at least one retired noncommissioned officer, an AI, (in the grade of Sergeant First Class through Sergeant Major). In certain situations there may be additional instructors. Retired general officer|general or flag officers are generally not permitted to work as JROTC instructors. Neither are retired National Guard personnel permitted to work as JROTC instructors. A new provision from the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Section 540) was signed into law in October 2006, permitting retired Reserve officers and noncommissioned officers to be hired as instructors.

There are no national requirements that JROTC instructors have the teaching credential required by other teachers in public high school.[14] In at least one jurisdiction (California), the government requires JROTC instructors to have at least four years of military experience and possess a high school diploma or equivalent.[15] AJROTC instructors need to be within one year of retirement or retired from active military service for three or fewer years. AIs need an Associates degree or higher and SAIs need a minimum of a Bachelor's degree. [16] MCJROTC instructors need to have graduated from high school, have at least 20 years of active military service and be physically qualified according to Marine Corps standards.[17] AFJROTC requires minimum 20 years of active duty; Officer instructors need to have a minimum of a bachelors degree, while a high school diploma or equivalent is sufficient for enlisted instructors.[18] NJROTC also requires a minimum of 20 years of active military duty; the minimum education requirement for an instructor is a high school diploma or equivalent, with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university required for a senior instructor.[19] The Navy requires that JROTC instructors be employees of the school and that they are accorded the same status as other school faculty members.[20]

The National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) offers similar programs as JROTC. NDCC units differ from JROTC in that they receive little or no financial support from the Armed Forces; uniforms, equipment, other materials and instructor salaries must normally be furnished by the school hosting an NDCC program.[21] Except for the funding aspects, JROTC and NDCC programs are virtually identical, although the cadet corps is not limited by the federal statute that restricts JROTC to offering courses only for students in ninth through 12th grades.[22] Per 2005, Chicago had 26 Middle School Cadet Corps enlisting more than 850 kids.[23]

School-System Contracts for JROTC[]

All four services operate their JROTC programs through a series of contracts and agreements between the individual service and the host school systems. The contracts issued by the various services are similar. They are all approximately four to five pages long and legally binding and contain options for cancellation. Key elements offered by DOD to host school systems in these contracts include:

  • partial salary payment of service instructors (amounting in most cases to a 50 percent share);
  • logistical support for uniforms and equipment;
  • reimbursement for administrative expenses and transportation support; and
  • curriculum development, books, and lesson plans.

On acceptance of the contract, the school system agrees to:

  • hire qualified instructors certified by the individual services as meeting all guidelines and requirements of the program;
  • pay part of the salary of service instructors;
  • accept the service curriculum;
  • provide adequate classroom, storage, and drill field space; and
  • comply with the provisions of law and regulations pertaining to the conduct of JROTC programs.

In addition to JROTC, the services offer two other contract options to school systems: a unit in the National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) and a program called Career Academy. Both programs differ substantially from each other and from the traditional JROTC.[24]

Instruction and activities[]

The Code of Federal Regulations states that JROTC is "designed for physically fit citizens attending participating schools"[1]. In public schools, JROTC is usually an elective course with membership limited to US citizens and legal foreign nationals, those who will graduate with their 9th grade corhort, and have not experienced an out of school suspension during the preceding 6 month period. Boarding schools or (pre-college) Military academy#United States|military schools may offer JROTC programs, with some requiring participation as a condition for acceptance to the school. Often, students will participate for one year receive credit in lieu of a physical education class. Students who excel in the first year of JROTC can apply for a second year. Most schools offer three to four years of JROTC training.

The JROTC program stresses military discipline[25][26], with a curriculum that emphasizes study of military science and military history.[2] Cadets typically wear their military uniform|uniforms once or twice a week, usually standing for inspection, with the exception being those cadets who attend a JROTC-based military academy. Their creed encourages conduct that brings credit to family, country, school and the corps of cadets, loyalty, citizenship and patriotism.[27] Many cadets participate in extracurricular activities such as military drill|drill, color guard, rocketry or orienteering. At least two-thirds of JROTC units offer rifle marksmanship programs, and most of these have rifle teams.[28] During the school year, there are regional competitions between JROTC units, with testing in all areas of military, naval and aerospace science. Some units organize special visits to US military bases during school breaks. There are also many summertime "leadership academies" for cadets hosted by various military installations.[29]

Many units also host an annual military Ball (dance)|ball where cadets put on their best dress uniforms (see related article mess dress) and gather together for a formal dinner. Usually awards are presented, speeches are given, and in many respects the occasion is like a second "prom" for juniors and seniors; sophomores and freshman are also allowed to attend the Military Ball. Female cadets are generally not required to wear the dress uniform for military ball, but some do so voluntarily.

Sometimes units also have a separate awards ceremony, which is attended by the instructors, guests, and parents. Fraternal organizations, such as the American Legion, often give out awards for military excellence, academics, and citizenship, in addition to the standard awards given by the JROTC program.

The year may be finished with a change of command ceremony, where the new unit commander, executive officer, and other unit officers are named and take command from the current officers. Mid-level officers are also named. Some units choose the next year's NCO and junior officer corps based on officer and NCO candidate schools, usually held immediately following the end of the school year.

There are other extra-curricular activites that the JROTC's programs provide for their cadets, including trips to military installations, ROTC college programs, and other sites that give the cadets a look at the military community.

Successful completion of the program (usually 2-4 years of classes) can lead to advanced rank upon enlistment in the Armed Forces.[30][31] For example, upon completion of 4 years of United States Air Force|Air Force JROTC, cadets may at their instructor's discretion enlist in the Air Force at the rank of Airman First Class (E-3). [3] However, JROTC participation incurs no obligation to join the military.[4]

The Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, formed by more than 50 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District,[32] aims to "eliminate the Junior Reserves Officer Training Corp in our High Schools."[33] Many cases of abuse by JROTC instructors, as well as credentialing issues, and of having students forced into JROTC due to lack of space in Physical Education classes have been noted in Los Angeles Public Schools.[34] The group claims 2006 showed a reduction in JROTC enrollment in Los Angeles, with a drop of one-third or approximately 1,500 students, suggesting part of the explanation is efforts to stop the involuntary enrollment of students into JROTC.[35] At Roosevelt High School in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, a local campaign against JROTC cut the number of cadets 43 percent in four years, with a JROTC instructor reporting a 24 percent drop in enrollment from 2003-04 to 2006-07 for the rest of the Los Angeles unified School District.[36]

In October 2005, the New York Civil Liberties Union pressured Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo, New York to release students from a mandatory JROTC program, arguing that the practice violates the State’s Education Law, which provides that no child may be enrolled in JROTC without prior written parental consent.[37]


  1. ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964
  2. U.S. Army JROTC - History, USAJROTC Website, Retrieved August 29,2008
  3. U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 2031
  4. Federal Regulations, Title 32, Sec. 524.5
  5. Fed. Reg., Title 32, Sec. 524.5
  6. United States Army,US Army Posture Statement FY01 Chapter 5: Meeting the Recruiting Challenge, Retrieved 2006-12-29
  7. United States Army Cadet Command,Cadet Command Policy memorandum 50 Retrieved 2006-12-29
  8. Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, School: A place to teach or to recruit?,"The Human Quest"(thehumanquest.org) pgs 10-11, Retrieved 2006-12-29
  9. H.R. 4205 - Hearings on National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 before the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, February 10, 2000
  10. Amendments to 10 United States Code
  11. § 102 (2005-01-03). Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
  12. Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Assessement, updated 08/13/2007
  13. "Office of the Secretary of Defense",Operation and Maintenance Overview Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Budget Estimates Retrieved 2006-12-29
  14. JROTC Officers, Retrieved 2007-04-24
  15. California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Designated Subjects Special Subjects Teaching Credentials (Leaflet CL-699), Retrieved 2006-12-29
  16. Army Instructor Information
  17. MCJROTC Instructor Information
  19. Navy JROTC Applicant Certification Procedures
  20. United States Navy Naval Service Training Command, School Administrator Guidelines for Hiring NJROTC Instructors, Retrieved 2006-12-29
  21. "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR)". Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  22. Claire Schaeffer-Duffy (2003-03-28). "Feeding the military machine: JROTC expansion and inner-city academies mark recruiting incursion into U.S. public school classrooms, critics say". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  23. Jennifer Wedekind (2005-06-05). "The Childrens Crusade". Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  24. Final Report of the CSIS Political-Military Studies Projecton the JROTC Retrieved September 1 2008
  25. For more about the regulations relating all personnel (including cadets) to military command authority, see: Template:Cite book
  26. For historical context for many military customs, from ceremonies to activities forbidden by force of observed custom, as such customs are adopted by individual JROTC units under mentorship of instructors on their retirement from active duty:Template:Cite book
  27. https://www.usarmyjrotc.com/jrotc/dt/3_Creed/history.html
  28. Civilian Marksmanship Program: CMP Develops New JROTC Marksmanship Instructor Course
  29. Template:Cite book Directions for inclusion of veterans, cadets, and other persons in unit activities such as unit organization day celebrations
  30. Section 524.5 of the CFR National Defense title states in part that "JROTC/NDCC cadets may qualify for an advantageous position in the Senior ROTC and for a higher pay grade upon enlistment in a Regular or Reserve component of the Armed Forces."
  31. Template:Cite book Generally for cadets with at least one year in JROTC, see paragraph 2-18, "Enlistment pay grades for personnel without prior service"
  32. Pogash, Carol (April 2005). "Mr. Miller Goes to War". Edutopia Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
  33. The Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools. "MISSION STATEMENT OF THE COALITION AGAINST MILITARISM IN THE SCHOOLS". Retrieved on 2007-03-21.
  34. The Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools. "Military Infiltration of Our Public Schools". Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
  35. http://www.militaryfreeschools.org/news.html
  36. Nazario, Sonia (2007-02-25). "Activists in Calif. school district crusading against junior ROTC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2007-03-09.
  37. http://www.nyclu.org/milrec_buffalo_hutchtech_101205.html

See also[]

External links[]