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ERIC Number: ED520155
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Underserved: A Case Study of ROTC in New York City. A Report of the AEI Program on American Citizenship
Miller, Cheryl
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The military-civilian disconnect has been a source of increasing concern over the last few decades. National security leaders--including the commander in chief, President Barack Obama--have warned that many Americans are unaware of the military's sacrifices and its growing sense of isolation from wider society. In remarks at Duke University in September 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates identified this issue as the "narrow sliver" problem, reflecting on both the achievements of America's all-volunteer force and the challenges it now faces. Gates noted that few Americans today have a personal connection to the military. Veterans represent 9 percent of the total population (a number that continues to decline), and less than 1 percent of Americans serves in any of the military services, active duty or reserves. Soldiers also come from a narrower segment of society--geographically and culturally--than ever before. Southerners disproportionately populate all the branches, while the Northeast and large metropolitan areas--New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia--are underrepresented. The homogeneity of today's military is partly a product of self-selection, as the services seek out the most eager volunteers. As Gates acknowledged, however, it is also a product of budgetary and policy decisions made by the armed services and government. The recent history of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) provides just one such example. Originally envisioned as a hedge against a civil-military divide, the ROTC has become subject to the same trends as the military as a whole. Since the Vietnam War era, ROTC units have shifted to the South and Midwest for economic and cultural reasons. Urban areas have been abandoned in favor of cheaper and larger training sites in rural and suburban America. The result of this shift--an officer caste increasingly detached from civilian society--is precisely what the ROTC was intended to protect against. With over 8 million residents and the largest university student population of any city in the United States, New York City demonstrates the challenges faced by urban ROTC programs--and their great potential. With its diverse and growing population, the city can help supply the cultural competency and language skills the military needs to fulfill its many and varied global responsibilities. This paper presents a case study of ROTC in New York City. A list of affiliated institutions is appended. (Contains 11 tables and 139 notes.) [Foreword by General John M. Keane.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: New York