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Director fighting to keep ETSU’s ROTC program

Staff Report • Oct 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

East Tennessee State University’s ROTC program has a proud history. Throughout its 60 years of existence, cadets associated with the program have distinguished themselves in both the classroom and on the drill field.Now, the program is slated to come to an end by August 2015. According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, ETSU’s is one of 13 ROTC programs that will be shutdown for graduating far fewer than the 15 officers each year as required by the U.S. Defense Department.As Press staff writer Nathan Baker reported earlier this month, a group of current and former cadets is waging an online campaign calling for the Defense Department to reconsider its decision to shutter the program. It won’t be easy to get the government to change its mind. Downsizing the military has been a priority of both President Obama and his predecessor. Even so we are hopeful that ETSU Roan Scholars Leadership Program Director Scott Jeffress, who headed ETSU’s Army ROTC program for five years, and his cohorts will be able to make a good case for keeping the program operational.As Jeffress told Baker, he and other ETSU officials believe the decision to discontinue the program is “shortsighted” and doesn’t take into consideration new data that demonstrates the success of the ROTC program on campus. We agree, and we ask that officials with the Department of Defense take the appropriate time to study this information carefully.

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