Friday, October 19, 2018

Geographic and Demographic Representativeness of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

By Libby Frank

Reprinted from the July-September 2018 issue of Draft NOtices, newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft, (Reprinted with permission)

A 2017 report by the RAND Corporation attempts to address whether the schools participating in JROTC programs are representative with respect to geographic area and demographics. The report is in response to congressional interest in this issue and was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Accession Policy.

The report concludes that the JROTC programs are diverse demographically but not geographically. Rural areas are under-represented. They cite a number of reasons, including small school size, isolation, difficulty in attracting qualified instructors.

They also offer a list of eight recommendations which, as counter-recruitment activists, we should note: 1) explore program alternatives such as the National Defense Cadet Corps (like JROTC but fully financed by the school); 2) raise awareness of JROTC in rural areas; 3) consider flexibility in instructor requirements for rural areas and small schools; 4) provide rural schools with more discretion in allocating travel funding; 5) possibly consider reducing instructor  salary support to 10 months instead of 12; 6) consider changing program selection criteria so rural schools have an edge; 7) make changes in the standardized data so that it’s easier to track; and 8) ask Congress to consider appropriating funds dedicated to JROTC.

Although it isn’t clear why Congress is concerned that rural areas are under-represented, one would have to assume that since the report is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Accession Policy (which is responsible for policies and programs relating to the overall recruitment and accession of both officer and enlisted personnel) an underlying factor involves recruitment. Which is ironic since JROTC strongly denies it is a recruitment tool.

As activists we should make a commitment to monitor the eight recommendations listed above. The full report is chock full of useful information, such as calculating the percentage of public high schools in each state that have a JROTC unit. Available for download here:

Libby Frank is a volunteer with the Northwest Suburban Peace & Education Project (; a counter-recruitment organization based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

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