Defense Committee Discusses Plans To Cut Length of ROTC Programs

Defense Department proposals to reduce Air Force and Army ROTC programs from four to two years will go before the Congressional Armed Services Committees on April 15, if an intra-service discussion of the plans' details can be resolved by that date.

Pentagon officials foresee little opposition to the proposals once they reach Congress, but the three services have not yet agreed on certain important aspects of the program, such as the amount of scholarships involved, the length of training in college, and the degree of selectivity of the program. The plan's basic form has already been approved by Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and the Bureau of the Budget.

As now envisioned, the new program would reduce ROTC programs to two years at colleges that approve the change, but would not require the elimination of four-year programs at institutions desiring to keep them. It would also end compulsory ROTC at land-grant colleges where male students are now required to take one or two years of military training.

Only Juniors, Seniors

Under the revised program, only juniors and seniors would be enrolled and participants would become eligible for government scholarships. Freshmen would be interviewed each year, and those selected would enter training during the summer preceding their junior year. A second summer training session would take place after graduation.

Original proposals called for scholarship grants of $1100 a year, but the Bureau of the Budget has approved an additional $200 grant yearly, making a total of $2600 for the two years. The new program is expected to be much cheaper than the present four-year compulsory plan, which involves extensive overhead costs.