Legislation aims to hinder Corps
For many years the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets has contributed to our nation's armed forces by training quality leaders. A new proposal by the Army's Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve would place A&M's Corps program on the same level as less rigorous ROTC programs throughout the nation.
This proposal would unfairly give all college ROTC programs the same merit as the Corps.
Currently graduates from six senior military colleges, including A&M, receive priority assignment in the Army. The new proposal would end this status.
Many Corps members object to less disciplined ROTC programs receiving the same status as A&M's Corps.
Senator Phil Gramm has been campaigning against the Army proposal. At a recent press conference he said, "we are never going to accept the premise that someone wearing a uniform once a week for an hour is receiving equivalent training to someone who is seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the Corps."
The Corps and the other senior military college programs have previously received priority status because of the intensity of their programs. The members of most ROTC programs typically take one class a week. This standard varies greatly from the Corps which requires cadets to take various military science courses and live in a more military-style environment than the typical college student.
Though the Corps has experienced various problems from declining enrollment to hazing allegations, it still imposes a high standard of discipline on its members.
Corps members have an established history of outstanding service in the armed forces. The Corps has been able to instill a unique combination of discipline and leadership ability in its members, earning the program a reputation for producing quality officers.
ROTC programs at schools such as the University of Houston cannot make the same claim.
A&M has provided more Army officers than any school except West Point. Corps members put a considerable amount of time and effort into the organization. The proposed change would make Corps membership less appealing, and could possibly affect Corps enrollment.
In his recent remarks, Phil Gramm said, "I believe it takes a unique person to be part of the military." ROTC programs with only weekly formations or low standards of discipline do not give more than a hint of military duty. These programs do not provide the same level of military preparation the Corps does, and should not receive equal consideration from the Army.
The majority of Corps members do not enlist in the armed forces, so the proposal might not radically alter the Corps.
With its priority assignment status threatened however, the Corps should work to improve a deteriorating campus image. The Corps should strive to train ethical leaders who can benefit campus regardless of their future plans.
If the Army carries out this proposal, if would be unfortunate for A&M and the Corps. By removing one of the features which makes the Corps unique, the University will be affected, but it may be years before its impact can be measured.
Fortunately, Phil Gramm, Kevin Brady and other legislators around the nation are dedicated to preventing this proposal from going into effect. As long as the Corps can provide beneficial service to the A&M campus and community, its status as an institution will always be safe.