If only a few Brown students are likely to join ROTC, why would the U.S. military start a program?
It’s important to distinguish between deciding whether ROTC should be invited to return to Brown and speculating about how the military will respond to an invitation. The Brown community will decide the former, while the latter is contingent on a number of factors, one of which is student interest. Like its counterparts in the corporate sector, the U.S. military recognizes the importance of recruiting top talent. Given that Brown graduates are prized for their entrepreneurial spirit, critical and independent thinking abilities, and communication savvy, it’s reasonable to imagine that the U.S. military would invest slightly more per student at Brown than it does in its larger ROTC programs elsewhere.
Brown cannot compel the military to start a program on its campus, but there are many signs that the military would accept an invitation to return. In particular, the most senior civilian and military leaders have all strongly voiced their support for bringing ROTC programs back to Ivy League campuses:
“Our troops come from every corner of this country–they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.”
-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011
“Over the past generation many commentators have lamented the absence of ROTC from the Ivy League and other selective universities. Institutions that used to send hundreds of graduates into the armed forces, but now struggle to commission a handful of officers every year…I am encouraged that several other comparable universities…are at least re-considering their position on military recruiting and officer training – a situation that has been neither good for the academy or the country.”
-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Lecture at Duke University, September 29, 2010
“I think it is incredibly important to have ROTC units at institutions like this…and I certainly would do all in my power to make that happen.”
-Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Remarks at the Harvard Kennedy School, November 10, 2010