From Here to Equality

The Army ROTC never needs an excuse to consider revisions. But within and without the unit there are always enough complaints to unnerve the most hardened militarist. Colonel Dupuy's recent proposals, smoothed out by a subcommittee of the Committee on Educational Policy, approach the old ROTC problem from a fresh angle, however. In recent years, Shannon Hall has been trying unsuccessfully to take the middle ground between intellectual and practical instruction in the classroom. But because there are certain basic principles of soldiering which are less than stimulating intellectually, yet must be mastered, the level of ROTC classes has dropped below the norm for the College.

Due to the manual nature of much ROTC study, the approach which had seemed most feasible was to concentrate on the fundamentals of army training and cut the credit to one-half. Under Dupuy's plan, however, the drudge work of the ROTC is banished entirely from the College. Instead the chores and rote memory work are limited to an elongated summer camp, twelve weeks instead of the current six.

For the skeptics who doubt that any course connected with the military could be worthwhile, Dupuy's report outlines a thoughtful program. Though it is easiest to stick to discussing the manual of arms in class, the new plan would offer instead courses in Military History and the Psychology of Leadership. Since the history and psychology departments and even the law school have pledged support, there's strong promise that the ROTC could at last lift itself academically. Since the course will be open to the entire College at full credit, a test of the program's success will be the number of students outside of the ROTC who take the courses and find them profitable. And teaching to more than a captive audience should prove challenging to civilian and Army instructors alike.

As of yet, the CEP has not decided whether to recommend one twelve-week camp or two summers of six weeks each. Though six weeks of training might seem the saturation point for any one time, there is an excellent reason for the twelve week set-up. At Harvard, and most of the schools where the plan might later be adopted, there are students who depend on their summer earnings to see them through the college year. Taking six weeks out of a summer already makes it hard for many of these men to find jobs, and there is little point in extending this problems into two summers. Since one vacation will be chopped short anyway, it would pay to finish up the camp work at that same time, leaving the other years unfettered.

Colonel Dupuy's plans, though requiring an unprecedented degree of planning and cooperation between military and civilian departments, should prove mutually beneficial to College and Army. The twelve weeks of camp also--while not an idyllic prospect for a summer--will furnish the best setting for the necessary, mechanical training of the Army.