Successful A-State ROTC Program Safe for Now

Nov 08, 2013
Press

The ROTC program at A-State in Jonesboro, a long and successful program that has helped thousands of students learn the value of dedication, hard work, and discipline, has been an important part of the university and the community at large for years. As an Army veteran and A-State alumni, I recognize the great importance of this program and its continued success in fulfilling its mission preparing students for military service.

However, last month the Army announced without warning that it planned to shutter thirteen programs, including the A-State program. The Army cited a need to concentrate its resources in urban areas, yet has failed to give concrete data or evidence for the necessity of this shift or any signs they had followed their own lengthy procedures for closing a program. Additionally, local leaders and elected representatives in Washington were not consulted, left without the opportunity to counter the Army’s sudden decision with the great impact this program has had over the last 67 years, and further inform the Army of the negative effects this shift would have on the student body and community at large. Stories began to emerge of students who came to A-State on ROTC scholarships that would be hung out to dry after the program closed.

Senator Pryor, Senator Boozman and I realized this was an unacceptable situation for Northeast Arkansas. As a team, we worked together to inform the Army of the negative effects this would have on the student body, the university, and on the community while demanding concrete evidence and numbers for exactly how the A-State program had failed to live up to Army standards. We participated on numerous calls and wrote letters, working hard to find a solution to preserve this important program.

With continued pressure from all sides, earlier this week the Army finally relented, announcing they would delay the projected closings for one year while communicating a clear set of criteria to A-State that would need to be met in order to keep the program open. With the program’s long and successful history of training students and consistently meeting or exceeding requirement set before them, my colleagues and I are confident any reasonable set of requests can be met. I am proud to stand together with my Senate colleagues to defend Arkansas’ interests in Washington. This was truly a team effort. As this issue continues to develop, I look forward to working together to defend this important program and ensure its availability for future generations of A-State students.

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