WIUM Tristates Public Radio

WIU's ROTC Program Passes Review

Feb 19, 2014

An ongoing review of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps by the U.S. Department of Defense is not worrying Western Illinois University.

Credit Western Illinois University ROTC

The national review examines how well each program uses taxpayer dollars and both the quality and quantity of graduating cadets.

Lieutenant Colonel John Drew with Western's ROTC says those are areas where his program does well.

"As it stands currently we here at WIU have a very viable program and are doing great things with the army and we don’t expect this to have any impact on our future operations," says Drew.

It’s routine for the Army to step back and take a look at the number of soldiers needed to fill the army and its mission.

Credit Western Illinois University Visual Productions Center

“When Iraq and Afghanistan were both going on we had a much larger size force and there was more of a need for more people in the Army and therefor more of a need for commissioned officers,” says Drew. “As we draw down the size of the army as you would expected there’s a coinciding drop in the need to have extra commissioned officers out there.”

So far, 13 ROTC programs, nationwide, have been identified for closure by 2015. Students impacted by the closures will be permitted to transfer to another college ROTC program. Currently, there are 273 ROTC programs at colleges and university across the country.

In a statement, Karl Schneider, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs said, “These closures are necessary changes that allow for more efficient use of available resources within the command, while maintain a presence in all 50 states.”

Nearly 300 students participate in some aspect of Western Illinois University’s ROTC program. By junior year, students planning to graduate from the program must sign a cadet contract to enter into the Army, National Guard or Army Reserves. Twenty cadets graduated from Western’s ROTC program in 2013.