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Army officially informs Arkansas State of plan to close 77-year-old ROTC program


JONESBORO — The U.S. Department of Army today officially informed Arkansas State University that its 77-year-old Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) program would be discontinued at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

“This action is not a reflection of either the quality of your program or the outstanding Cadets you have produced,” Thomas R. Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, wrote in a letter to A-State Chancellor Tim Hudson. “The Army arrived at this difficult decision after careful consideration of how to best accomplish its mission with a reduction of resources.”

Hudson said the university disagrees with the decision and the process, which did not give A-State the opportunity to provide input.

“We will do everything possible to reverse this decision,” Hudson said. “We have reached out to our federal and state officials for assistance.”

The A-State ROTC program currently has 122 participants — including about one-third on the ASU-Beebe campus who will not be affected by the closure — and is one of 13 programs scheduled for closure nationwide. Lamont said methodology for reviewing the 273 programs nationwide included considerations for market potential, the Army’s academic discipline needs, the program’s historical production, and proximity to other Army ROTC units.

“Arkansas State values its historic relationship with the Army’s ROTC, and we have produced nearly 2,500 officers who have served our country,” Hudson said. “We have a compelling case to share with the Army and want to learn more about the criteria used to reach their conclusion.”

A-State ROTC has achieved a 98 percent overall success rate of its line officer commission missions since 2008. U.S. Army Cadet Command reduced the program’s number of commissions for cadets from 16 to 10 in 2011.