The U.S. Army has suspended the closure of Tennessee Tech University’s ROTC program and 12 other schools nationwide.
“The best part about this announcement is that our ROTC students who desire to serve and lead have the opportunity to stay at Tennessee Tech,” said TTU President Phil Oldham.
“The support for these students and our university has been tremendous,” Oldham said. “Our Congressional leaders, Sen. Alexander, Sen. Corker and Rep. Black, responded to the passion and reason voiced by our campus, community, parents, students and others.
Late Wednesday, Oldham received a copy of the notice from the Department of the Army to members of Congress.
According to the Army’s notice, the 13 programs will immediately be placed in a probationary status. The Army also launched a review and revalidation of all program retention criteria used to recommended those ROTC programs for closure. Once complete, the evaluation criteria will be used to reassess all ROTC programs nationwide.
Since the announcement that Army ROTC programs at 13 universities nationwide would close, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Diane Black, along with East Tennessee congressional delegates Phil Roe and Stephen Fincher have worked closely with Army leadership to more fully understand the metrics used to make the decision.
The new plan includes several elements that will the allow collaboration between the university and the Army. It also sets up a communications channel for questions, feedback and input. A description of expectations between the ROTC unit and the school will be documented for each school in the probationary program. Regular updates on the unit’s progress will be provided to the respective school leadership in a formal report.
“We now have the opportunity to show how our ROTC graduates are just what the Army needs,” Oldham said. “We plan to focus on building on our strengths in engineering, nursing and looking at new ways to marry what we do best at the university and in our ROTC program.”
The Army will develop a formal 24-month probationary program for schools failing to meet the evaluation criteria. Host programs that demonstrate no improvement in achieving performance goals or meeting criteria by the end of the first year will receive one year’s notice of intent to close the unit.
According to the notice, host programs that show improvement or meet evaluation criteria will be retained on the probationary program for a second year. At the end of the 24-month period, schools retained for a second year will be re-evaluated. At that time, they will either receive one year’s notice of intent to close the unit or be retained.
The Army says it will continue to work toward restructuring placement of ROTC programs.
Tennessee Tech’s ROTC cadets met with campus leadership this morning to receive information and discuss how the Army’s new decision affects their futures.
“Tennessee Tech looks forward to Army leaders coming to the university to see firsthand what the program has to offer and discuss what the Army's needs are in the future,” Oldham said.