To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
The principal point of the article on ROTC is that because the Armed Forces now require highly trained officers and are consequently endeavoring to recruit only career officers on the campus, ROTC no longer fulfills its traditional functions of "civilianizing" the military and producing a large group of reserve officers. I believe the author is not acquainted with the realities of the officer corps in the services.
Requirements for specialized training for military officers are not as extensive as the author suggests, at least in the junior grades. Cited as an example is the three years of training required for officers on Polaris submarines. In fact one and one-half years of training are required for Polaris duty and this is an extreme example.
After about six months most Army ROTC graduates assume positions at their first duty assignment. In short, extensive post-commissioning training is not required to be an effective officer.
I also disagree with the author's contentions that the services are primarily interested in recruiting career officers and that there has been a major change in this respect.... I believe that the majority of career officers in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps are non-service academy graduates, many of whom are ROTC graduates. Since World War II an increasing proportion of career Navy officers have been non-services academy graduates.
However, the military services most certainly do not want all new officers to join with the settled intention of making the military a career. The military rank structure is very much a pyramid. If all those who entered at the bottom were determined to reach the top there would be a real problem because of the services' mandatory attrition policies....Of course the services don't want to be faced with a shortage of officers for the upper ranks, and the present recruiting methods seem to preserve the balance.
Because officers can be effective with limited post commissioning training and because the services are not solely interested in junior officers who are committed to military career, I do not think that there is a significant danger of ROTC units becoming simply recruiting agencies for a completely professional officer cadre. James N. Blair
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