Education / National

ROTC program offers rare opportunity for officer, cadet engagement

WASHINGTON D.C. (November 10, 2015) – More than 325 Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from colleges and universities across the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, heard from 11 senior Army officers yesterday at the second Senior Leader Professional Mentorship Forum at Howard University. Junior ROTC cadets from local high schools also attended.

The event focused on building Army leaders for a complex world, and served as a template for similar forums to be conducted at other academic institutions.

Cadets had the opportunity to engage with a senior Army leader who best reflected their military occupational specialty interests, ranging from Corps of Engineers, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Signal Corps, Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor, Chemical, Medical and Military Intelligence.

General Officers offered a range of advice on how to have a successful Army career and the commitment to service. They addressed a number of topics including work-life balance; commitment to leadership; Army lessons applied to everyday life; budget cuts; women in the military; and the future of the ROTC.

Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, the Army’s chief information officer/G-6, offered advice out of his “tool kit” to the cadets: “Set goals, do very well in school, seek a mentor and be a mentor; learn your craft; exercise good leadership all the time and understand the value of working with your noncommissioned officer.” Other leaders echoed these sentiments and commented on the mentorship as a key component to a successful Army career.

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commanding general and chief of engineers, commented on the future force said if he could change anything in the Army it would be to “continue our focus on talent management and diversity. How do you ensure that we have a force that represents America?”

The military leaders provided insights into their personal experiences and talked about expectations of young officers, leadership challenges and junior officer opportunities in various branches. All the leaders emphasized the importance of trust, loyalty, integrity, and most importantly, communication.

Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, commanding general, Army Cadet Command, said “we are a rough, tough Army. We are the Nation’s winner. It all comes out of passion, love of service, love of this great country we serve and love of the soldiers we serve. We will continue to hunt for the highest quality cadets on campus.”

Army ROTC commissions nearly 70 percent of the Army’s new officers each year and builds tomorrow’s Army leaders. More than 40 percent of current active-duty Army general officers were commissioned through ROTC.