Friday, August 17, 2007

WSJ: "Professors on the Battlefield"

Wall Street Journal column "Professors on the Battlefield: Where the warfare is more than just academic." by Evan R Goldstein.

Goldstein suggests that "the Vietnam-era legacy of mistrust--even hostility--between academe and the military may be eroding" and cites a "shift in the zeitgeist is embodied by Gen. David H. Petraeus". However, an academic denounced such civilian-military cooperation as "the militarization of the social sciences" and an activist denounced it as "counter to the historic freedom of university life".

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Commentary on Tom Hayden

With regards to Hayden's article in the Nation, "Harvard's Humanitarian Hawks":
Why can't some academes seem to get past this concept that the military's counter-insurgency operations are "inherently secretive, classified and deliberately deceptive programs designed ultimately to kill people?" Comments like this demonstrate severe ignorance and skewer the reality. Specifically, that the people the counter-insurgency operations are designed to neurtralize (capture or yes kill) are those who are actively seeking to kill everyone else!

Hayden makes the jump from this biased, incomplete interpretation to ask the question as to whether Harvard should be involved in something that "runs counter to the historic freedom of university life." What a ridiculous statement. Though he may not have intended it, he is essentially comparing the sociopolitical environment of war-torn Iraq to that of Harvard Yard!! This gentleman is so high up the Ivory Tower he can't see the ground. While the leaders and citizens of Harvard Yard have the luxury of legal contstitutional protections such as individual human rights, habeas corpus, the right to bear arms, and so on thanks to a stable system of law and order that is well protected by the governments of the city of cambridge, the commonwealth of massachusetts, and the great United States, the citizens of Iraq and US troops are a bit busy attempting to contain and eliminate an insurgency that is trying to kill everyone. Obviously every attempt to protect and maintain human rights while doing so should be made, and this I suspect is why GEN Petreus brought Harvard on board.

Hayden is living in a theoretical world where Human rights exist in a vacuum, and may be applied as such. Hayden wants Harvard to work towards human rights, but what? work against the US military? Or does he simply want Harvard to act with complete neutrality, perhaps help both the insurgency and the US troops move towards human rights? If this is the case, I'd encourage him to go and engage the insurgency, just to see how interested they are in Harvard's help...he would likely not get two words in before his head was covered with a pillow case and he was shoved in front of a camera as a hostage. He seems afraid to pick a side. Such an experience might make it easier for him.

And this strange fear about the militirization of the academy is beyond me. If the center wants to have any impact, it has to engage those who have the greatest impact on human rights. I don't understand it - he should be happy the military is attempting to engage the Harvard center and improve human rights conditions. I suspect it has to do with his own suspicious attitude towards the military and the belief that nothing good can come from the military. His bias towards this end drips off of his essay like sweat from an apocrine gland.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Robot Soldiers

Robots have been roaming the streets of Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time -- the first time in any warzone -- the machines are carrying guns.

After years of development, three "special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system" (SWORDS) robots have deployed to Iraq, armed with M249 machine guns. The 'bots "haven't fired their weapons yet," Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, says. "But that'll be happening soon."

The SWORDS -- modified versions of bomb-disposal robots used throughout Iraq -- were first declared ready for duty back in 2004. But concerns about safety kept the robots from being sent over the the battlefield. The machines had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. That was an annoyance during ordnance-handling missions; no one wanted to contemplate the consequences during a firefight.

So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety. In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds -- a significant lag during combat. Now, the SWORDS won't act on a command, unless it's received right away. A three-part arming process -- with both physical and electronic safeties -- is required before firing. Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there's any odd behavior. "So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," Zecca says.

As initially reported in National Defense magazine, only three of the robots are currently in Iraq. Zecca says he's ready to send more, "but we don't have the money. It's not a priority for the Army, yet." He believes that'll change, once the robots begin getting into firefights.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Inside Higher Ed: "The Defense Department vs. Free Speech on Campus"

"The Defense Department vs. Free Speech on Campus" by John K. Wilson.

The author of Patriotic Correctness: Academic Freedom and Its Enemies writes that the military is about to "invade" American colleges. Sparked by the proposed regulations to implement the October 2004 changes in the Solomon Amendment, Wilson objects to the provisions in the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964 about faculty appointments and course credit for ROTC, without making it clear that these provisions are due to the 1964 law. He also claims that language in the regulations about military recruiters experiencing "an inferior or unsafe recruiting climate" would "ban all protests against military recruiters", even though the oral arguments before the Supreme Court indicated that protests are permitted. He also states that "there is no college that has actually banned the military from renting space on campus like any other group and holding ROTC training sessions". Such a plan could be tested most easily by a non-governmental query because the Pentagon doing so "would trigger the Solomon Amendment" according to Fred Cook, who has served on the Defense Business Board.


I have been very closely involved with both sides of this debate for a long
time now, and have a somewhat unique perspective straddling both the world of
the military and that of higher education.

It should be noted that Mr Wilson's article is, in some ways, misleading.
First, in the context of objecting the Solomon Amendment, he harbors specific
objections to the requirement for faculty appointments for ROTC instructors and
professors, as well as the provision of course credit for ROTC courses. What he
fails to mention is that these are all requirements of the 1964 ROTC
Vitalization Act, and are nowhere mentioned in the Solomon Amendment. A prime
example of a modern ROTC program is that of Princeton University, which neither
offers credit for its ROTC courses, nor grants ROTC instructors faculty
appointments as Professor &c.

Second, he claims that language in the regulations about military recruiters
experiencing "an inferior or unsafe recruiting climate" would "ban all protests
against military recruiters", even though in the oral arguments before the
Supreme Court it was explicitly stated that such protests would and must be
permitted. Rather this clause refers to the practice of some schools, such as
Harvard and Columbia, placing recruiters in basement rooms or other buildings
away from the main activities of planned career fairs or recruiting sessions.
As both a former recruiter and a graduate of these schools I have observed
such treatment myself.

Personally, instead of strong-arming ROTC's presence via Solomon, I would
much rather see schools welcome ROTC back on to campus someday, even to include
a reformulation of the program to ensure that it meets the stringent academic
standards of those Ivy League schools that presently ban it. (I found some of my
ROTC courses to be just as academically challenging as my undergraduate college
courses, so this should not be difficult).

But many schools seem entirely unwilling to even entertain the idea, and
merely wish to shun ROTC and the military without consideration. What does that
say about Academic freedom and openness and their dedication to a diverse
learning environment? I believe that both the military and higher education have
much to gain and learn from each other. Rather than tearing them down, why not
offer or invite some constructive suggestions?

I might suggest some compromise on the matter. For example, just as the
university has certain standards and responsibility for oversight of its
educational programs, so does the military have standards and responsibility for
oversight of the education of its officers. In light of this, I would offer the
suggestion that a partnership program be established, in which oversight for
credit-granting coursework in military studies be offered by the university and
faculty, while the requirements for officer training and education would be
overseen by the military cadre. In the spirit of said partnership, faculty
members responsible for the credit-granting military studies program might take
into account the desires and needs of the military and its future officers in
designing their curriculum. Likewise, in the course of the officer training and
education program, should the military cadre wish credits to be granted for
their half of the program they might be provided with opportunity for review and
possible approval.

I agree that it is inappropriate for the government to force institutions to
appoint persons to faculty rank and grant course credit with no oversight or
approval by the institution. But I also know that many of these institutions
have been closed to any suggestion of cooperation whatsoever. Were they to
actually appear open to the idea of ROTC and willing to discuss and negotiate
their issues of contention, I think one might find more support from the
military than one might expect.

Monday, June 4, 2007

ABC News Story

Video: "Disparity of ROTC programs raises concern that cadets aren't diverse enough: Virginia has 11 ROTC programs while New York City only has 2".

At a time when diversity could be more important than ever to the U.S.
military, many campus recruiters for the Army's ROTC program are narrowing the field of potential officers.
Roman Rushtlion speaks Russian and English. Now he's learning Arabic. "The kind of fight that we're fighting, we have to be very sensitive to other people's cultures," Rushtlion said.
He's a fairly typical cadet at St. John's University's ROTC program, one of only two remaining ROTC programs in New York City.It's much the same at Fordham University in Manhattan, where recruits use Central Park for a training ground.
Over the past two decades, the Army has slashed nearly a quarter of its ROTC programs. The deepest cuts have come at inner city schools, as the Army focuses more of its recruitment efforts on the rural South. Cities like Chicago and Miami have only one ROTC program, and Detroit, with its large Muslim population, has
Some worry the result is a less diverse officer corps, at a time the Army is facing more diverse challenges at home and abroad. "You lose valuable assets of people who are used to interacting with multicultural people and are used to participating in customs," said St. John's ROTC Cadet Raquel Acosta. Acosta speaks English and Spanish and some Arabic.
"You lose quite a bit when the military does not place the necessary emphasis it should on urban centers because out of those urban centers come young people who have multicultural backgrounds. They speak multiple languages," said Retired Gen. Jack Deane, an ABC News consultant.The Army says it sees the importance of trying to maintain an ethnic and regional balance, but it's taking a long view.
"We do need to be concerned about our approach because it has to be balanced this might be the right thing to do for this particular conflict. The question is, what will it look like five years from now," said U.S. Army Cadet Commander Maj. Gen. W. Montague Winfield.ROTC gets more bang for the buck in rural America, where a strong military tradition drives students into the program. While New York City has just two programs, the state of Virginia, with a slightly smaller population, has 11.
The program at James Madison University is more typical and very successful. The goal is to graduate 25 cadets a year, this year they will graduate 26. That gives the Army a good return on its investment.
That's important at a time when the ROTC is trying to do more with less. The Army wants ROTC to churn out 4,500 new officers this year, 600 more than last year."We're not making that mission right now because we can't produce an officer overnight," Winfield said.The Pentagon acknowledges that a new kind of warfare requires a new kind of officer. But the Army is still struggling to find enough of them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Letter from Columbia University School of General Studies

Letter from Columbia University School of General Studies Dean Peter J. Awn inviting members of the armed services to apply to Columbia and premiering the school's new veteran-oriented website,


I invite you to discover the School of General Studies (GS) of Columbia University. GS is the finest liberal arts college in the country created specifically for students with nontraditional backgrounds who seek a traditional and rigorous Ivy League education. What you may not know is that GS has been educating military veterans for over 60 years.

Since World War II, the School of General Studies has served veterans who interrupted their education to serve their country. Like these military service women and men, most of the 1,200 degree students at GS have, for personal or professional reasons, interrupted their education, never attended college, or can only attend part-time. They bring a wealth of life experience to the classroom, and contribute in a unique way to the diversity and cultural richness of the University.
From a student's first semester, throughout his or her undergraduate career, and extending into the graduate's professional life, the transforming impact of a Columbia education is evident. We find that women and men from the United States armed forces have been and continue to be excellent candidates for our degree program.

Please take a moment to learn more about our unique college and the opportunities offered by the Columbia undergraduate program. We are very proud of our tradition of educating women and men from the armed services, and we hope to continue that tradition long into the future.

Peter J. Awn Dean, School of General Studies

Monday, May 28, 2007

NYT: Thomas Friedman

"The Quiet Americans" by Thomas Friedman.

Friedman describes graduation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and being impressed by "the number of R.O.T.C. grads, including women, who came up and collected their degrees in full dress uniforms. It was not only the pride with which they wore those uniforms that was palpable, but also the respect they were accorded by their classmates. I spoke to one young man who was going from graduation at Rensselaer right out to sea with the United States Navy. As bad as Iraq is, they just keep signing up."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Washington Times Editorial

"Bring back ROTC".

"It's time for Harvard, Columbia, Yale and other schools to heed what President Bush said last week: "It should not be hard for our great schools of learning to find room to honor the service of men and women who are standing up to defend the freedoms that make the work of our universities possible." It's time to give ROTC a chance."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NY Sun Article on ROTC Ban

"Bush Rebukes Universities On ROTC Ban". Note: "Yesterday's ceremony featured a diverse group of cadets from all 50 states and included a graduate student at Columbia, Bret Woellner, who was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. The president's statement took officials at a few leading universities aback. Spokesmen at NYU and Harvard and Yale universities, which also do not offer ROTC on campus, did not respond publicly. Riaz Zaidi, president of Columbia's Hamilton Society, a military group, said the president's words were "gratifying." Mr. Zaidi, a cadet in the Fordham ROTC program, said that while he thought the military should reconsider the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Columbia should reinstate the officer-training program regardless." See response by Paul E. Mawn, head of Advocates for Harvard ROTC.

President Commissions Cadets from Columbia, Stanford, and Harvard at the White House

U.S. Army News Release "President to host first joint commissioning ceremony for ROTC cadets and midshipmen at the White House: 23 Army ROTC Cadets Chosen for Joint Commissioning Ceremony". Note: 55 ROTC Cadets and Midshipmen from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force will be commissioned on 17 May, representing all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and territories.

Here are remarks by the President at Joint Reserve Officer Training Corps Commissioning Ceremony. (Video here) President George W. Bush said "All of you have made many sacrifices to receive your commission. Yet some of you have had to endure even greater hardships -- because your universities do not allow ROTC on campus. For those of you in this position, this can require long commutes several times a week to another campus that does offer ROTC, so you can attend a military class, participate in a drill. Most of all, it means living a split existence -- where your life as a cadet or midshipmen is invisible to most of your fellow students. Every American citizen is entitled to his or her opinion about our military. But surely the concept of diversity is large enough to embrace one of the most diverse institutions in American life. It should not be hard for our great schools of learning to find room to honor the service of men and women who are standing up to defend the freedoms that make the work of our universities possible. To the cadets and midshipmen who are graduating from a college or university that believes ROTC is not worthy of a place on campus, here is my message: Your university may not honor your military service, but the United States of America does. And in this, the people's house, we will always make a place for those who wear the uniform of our country." Among the officers sworn in at the ceremony were Erik Sand of Harvard, Diana Clough of Stanford and Bret Woellner from Columbia.

In an Associated Press article "Bush says ROTC has a place on campus". It notes that "Three of the officers in the White House ceremony came from schools that don't allow ROTC on campus, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Columbia University. Bush saluted their extra sacrifice."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

MG Robert Scales on his Academic Experience at Duke

My Heart Bleeds for Larry Summers
By Maj. General (ret) Robert H. Scales

Why would a retired general, Fox News Military Analyst and father of two very high performing professional daughters have sympathy for the slow death being suffered by the President of liberal Harvard University? Glad you asked. In spite of coming from two different cultures we share one thing in common: we both have been victims of nutty faculty from elite universities. His story is well known. Now I can tell mine. Thanks, Larry, for giving me the excuse to bond by sharing….
My reward for surviving the Battle of Hamburger Hill was graduate school. The Army offered me two fully paid semesters away to study a subject of my choice and my choice was military history. My dad was a professional soldier and veteran of three wars so I grew up listening to war stories from a colorful and rich collection of war veterans. I walked battlefields in places we lived overseas like The Philippines and Germany. My mother told me that I read The Red Badge of Courage when I was eight and Grant's Memoirs at twelve.
I arrived at Duke in the summer of 1971 on what was a pilgrimage to the Mecca of war studies. Something like sixty generals have advanced degrees from Duke. Two chiefs of service, Ron Folgelman, Air Force, and Rick Shinseki, Army, earned Masters there before me. Second year officer students greeted me with the warning that Vietnam had changed the atmospherics at Duke mostly for the worse. Their advice to the new guy was unambiguous: take courses only from that terrific cadre of esteemed professors who joined the faculty after serving in World War II. Men like Ted Ropp, I.B. Holley and Richard Preston quite literally invented the discipline of war studies during the fifties.
I chose one. Unfortunately shortly before Labor Day, he died. In his place marched into the classroom the first of the History Department's young Turks hastily tenured in fear after the student riots in the late sixties. Professor "X" was about four years older than me. He was a Marxist on the make when Marxism was the rage on campus. His first group of graduate students would be the clay that he would mold to become an edifice to his brand of dialectical scholarship. He changed all the pedagogical rules. Only one four hour session per week; each would be a student's hell with brutal show and tell exercises during which we would learn just how stupid we were. We would get a grade every week. Immediately, half the students bolted. But not me. After all I'd survived an AK -47 in my face. Could this be any worse?
Well, actually, yes it was. My first grades were very good, all A's. Then about mid October my A's turned suddenly into F's. I panicked but persevered. But studying harder seemed only to make things worse. At mid semester at my wife's urging I decided to see Professor X in his office on East Campus. It was a stately room for one so newly tenured, covered as they all were with walls of books intended I think to intimidate graduate students. I guess the weight of paper signified wisdom.
I remember things pretty well. But this session on that October afternoon is seared in my memory and it's just as fresh today as it was almost thirty years ago. Professor X was courteous to a fault almost obsequious at times. "You're a good student," he said, "You read everything, you write well, and you argue your case with some skill."
"But what about my grades?"
"Ah, grades, they don't mean much, really."
"Well they do to the Army. If I fail here my career is over."
Then he became solicitous. "Well, Mr. Scales, I will confess that this situation is partly my fault. I was only recently told that you're in the military." At that I froze but kept my composure. Then came "the justification". "You see, Duke is a great research institution. Our task as faculty is to produce scholars who will expand the body of historical knowledge. By that I mean produce serious scholarship. (At that point he made some moronic allusion to planting corn. I forget the details). "Frankly, I don't believe the army is a place where serious scholarship is done. Your being here really robs the profession of a place that a deserving scholar should be occupying."
All I could think to say was…." Do I have any recourse?" To which he answered in a pleasant and modulated voice: "I don't think so." And the F's kept coming. That was it. I was screwed. But I persevered. Over the next few weeks, like any good soldier, I went up the university chain of command to no avail. All of them lectured me on the sanctity of academic freedom and the prerogatives of tenure. Only when I threatened to go to the local Durham newspaper did they came up with a novel compromise: I would go to trial. (I'm not making this up!)
Talk about surreal. There I was defending myself alone against a group of hostile professors who really wanted to exploit the occasion to inform me of how immoral it was to be a soldier. I made the case that even if they didn't like my profession the ethos of the academy should allow even those from degenerate backgrounds the right to learn and be heard. The final ruling was a curious blending of cowardice and obfuscation. If I earned an A on the final exam they would give me a gentleman's B for the course and allow me to change out of Professor X's course for another. Holding out until finals week, of course, was their way of keeping me quiet.
I kept my mouth shut and passed. But the whole sordid episode made me so angry that I decided that the surest revenge would be to earn a Ph.D. instead of a Master's. First I petitioned the Army for a third semester. They wouldn't give me the traditional four necessary for a Ph.D.. I calculated that if I doubled up my course load for the next year I would (just) have enough credits. I would use whatever time I could find to learn a second language and study for the preliminary examination which I had scheduled just three days before I was to report to my next duty station.
The next year was both exhilarating and debilitating. But by February 1993 I was approved for my prelims. In those days a student chose his "committee" of faculty members with the help of the faculty advisor. I was pleased with my mine. However, just a week prior to the exam I happened to open the latest "crack and peel" computer printout that showed one of my choices had been scratched and in his place was, you guessed it, Professor X. Again, back to the mats. I confronted him with the print out.
"Why did you do this?"
"Because I told you that you shouldn't be here. If you don't deserve a Master's I assure you that a Doctorate is out of the question."
"Will you black ball me?"
"Of course, you don't belong here."
Again up the chain of command. Fortunately one of the gray haired faculty, Professor Ted Ropp, came to my rescue and made polite mince meat of X. I passed my prelims.
So, Larry, we do share similar experiences. The lesson for both of us is that a university should value all opinions. The academy should relish not only diversity of race, gender and sexual choice but also diversity of opinions and ideas. Professors should be the last ones to abuse their power in order to fulfill their own ideological agendas. But it happens, doesn't it, Larry?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Federal Register: New Proposed Rules

"Military Recruiting and Reserve Officer Training Corps Program Access to Institutions of Higher Education: Proposed rule" (in PDF form here).

These proposed rules implement the October 2004 changes in the Solomon Amendment. Of particular note is the "Supplementary Information" similar to language in the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964 about faculty appointments and course credit: "The criterion of ``efficiently operating a Senior ROTC unit'' refers generally to an expectation that the ROTC Department would be treated on a par with other academic departments; as such, it would not be singled out for unreasonable actions that would impede access to students (and vice versa) or restrict its operations."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Column on Stanford's Anti-ROTC policy

Stanford Review column on 27 April 2007 "Stanford’s Anti-ROTC Policy is Self-Contradictory" by Yishai Kabaker.

A gay student argues that it is unfair to restrict the rights of students to do ROTC because of the federal "don't ask, don't tell" law, and notes that "ROTC courses like “The Evolution of the United States Air and Space Power,” “Naval Ship Systems” and “Navigation and Naval Operations” are today deemed academically unfit for Stanford while “Chick Flicks and Breakup Songs” receives full credit without question."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WSJ Book Review

Wall Street Journal book review on 20 March 2007 "Between Classes, Getting Ready for Combat".

Kyle Smith reviews the book about ROTC "Army 101: Inside ROTC at a Time of War" by David Axe, and explains "why drill sergeants yell."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The 369th Harlem Hellfighters Project at Columbia

Milvets is looking for interested History, American studies, African-American studies majors, or anyone interested in military history to come be involved in an exciting project to catalog, preserve and help tell the story of the Harlem Hellfighters. The369th was the first all African-American infantry unit in WWI.Columbia has, in cooperation with the Columbia Military community, begun to help preserve traces of the history of this amazing unit. Milvets needs interested students to help be involved in thisproject. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in theprocess of original historical research on an important subject. For those of us who might be considering a history major, orgraduate studies this is an opportunity to be involved in serious historical research. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact us at There are no specific qualifications other than a willingness to put in the time and effort to make this project a success.

Strategic Options for Managing Diversity in the U.S. Army

By LTC Anthony Reyes


Executive Summary
The United States Army is a vast organization with a global presence. One of its central sources of strength is the diversity of its workforce, which encompasses 1.5 million personnel across the active, reserve, civilian, and contractor components. While the Army was at the forefront of racial integration in the 1950s and today is one of the most diverse organizations in the U.S., further progress needs to be made on the diversity front.

While the term “diversity” can be defined along many dimensions, this paper focuses on racial diversity because of the unique and historically significant role that race plays in issues of diversity in the Army. As recognized by former Chief of Staff of the Army General (ret.) Eric K. Shinseki in April 2003 internal communications about representative leadership across the force, the Army draws strength from its cultural and ethnic diversity. Specifically, this paper aims to create a foundation for both understanding the problem of black underrepresentation in the field grade and senior officer ranks and identifying solutions to help the Army achieve greater workforce diversity at this critical level and beyond.

It should be noted that this paper intentionally focuses on black male officers rather than other
minority groups. If we develop solutions to improve the situation for the largest minority group
within the Army (blacks), those solutions will also benefit other minorities, including the secondlargest minority group, Hispanics. Also, an emphasis is placed on the combat arms branches because they serve as the predominant pipeline to the senior ranks of the Army.

However, it is important to recognize that Congress restricts service in the combat arms to men; all women—including black women—are not permitted to serve in these branches. Therefore, women currently cannot access this pipeline. Given that the restriction is in place at this point, this paper’s recommendations regarding increasing black officer representation in the senior ranks through accessions are limited to black male officers. If Congress lifted the gender restriction on combat arms service, the Army would be able to progress even further toward workforce diversity by boosting both the number of women officers and the number of black officers (both men and women), particularly in the senior ranks.

Diversity is critical to the organizational effectiveness of the Army. While the Army has taken good first steps in addressing areas of minority underrepresentation, additional steps are needed in order to achieve a fully diverse workforce and capitalize on the strength of this diversity. This paper highlights some of the current ongoing issues pertaining to diversity and strategies for addressing these issues that the Army needs to consider in order to ensure its success as an organization.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Wall Street Journal's Statistics: Urban Retreat of ROTC

In the last few decades, the Army has pulled its officer training and recruiting programs out of the Northeast and big urban centers, choosing to concentrate on campuses in the lower-cost South and Midwest. But the decision could be expensive when it comes to diversity. (See article.)

Shifting Focus

The Army's recruiting shift has been driven largely by economics, senior Army officials say. Because urban students are less familiar with the military, officials say they are harder and more costly to recruit.

The below map shows current ROTC programs and those discontinued since 1987.

Source: Department of Defense/Population Bulletin December 2004

Officers by Region

Having scaled back its urban ROTC programs, the Army is drawing more officers from the Midwest and South and fewer from the culturally diverse big cities in New England and the West Coast.

Proportion of new Army officers by region, 2004

Source: Department of Defense/Population Bulletin December 2004

In Comparison

In New York City, which produced more than 500 military officers a year in the 1960s, the two remaining ROTC programs -- at St. John's and Fordham universities -- last year yielded 34 Army officers. In contrast, the state of Alabama, which has a student population that is about one-fourth the size of the state of New York, has 10 ROTC programs that last year produced about 200 Army officers. The South generates about 40% of all Army officers, according to Pentagon statistics.


Total Population 4.5 Million 8.2 Million

Number of ROTC Programs 10 2

Officers Produced in 2006 174 34

Source: US Army and U.S. Census Data.Photos: University of Alabama ROTC program, courtesy Major Dan Clark; St. John's ROTC program, by Greg Jaffe

Recruiting Goals

Last year, Cadet Command, which oversees the training and recruitment of ROTC officers, came up 500 officers short of its goal of producing 4,500 second lieutenants.

Army ROTC officer production

*Year not completed. Source: U.S. Army


Cadet Command will get about $175 million for scholarships this year in hopes of improving its recruiting score. But it won't get additional officers and sergeants to expand to urban campuses.

Value of Army ROTC Scholarships, by fiscal year. The 2007 fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2006.

*Proposed budget. Source: U.S. Army

Spending Breakdown

Scholarships and stipends make up more than half of the Pentagon's ROTC budget.

ROTC budget for fiscal year 2007, which began Oct. 1, 2006

Source: Pentagon

Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario

These 84 pages from the Army War College were published in Feb. 2003 and seem to portray the current situation in Iraq quite well. Many of the problems that are identified in the paper have since ocurred, though most of the solutions presented have not.

Some highlights:

"Successfully executing the postwar occupation of Iraq is consequently every bit as important as winning the war. Preparing for the postwar rehabilitation of the Iraqi political system will probably be more difficult and complex than planning for combat. Massive resources need to be focused on this effort well before the first shot is fired. Thinking about the war now and the occupation later is not an acceptable solution. Without an overwhelming effort to prepare for occupation, the United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America’s own making."

"While a struggle for power between civilian and military elites would contribute to Iraqi fragmentation, the military can also serve as a unifying force under certain conditions. In a highly diverse and fragmented society like Iraq, the military (primarily the ground forces) is one of the few national institutions that stresses national unity as animportant principle. Conscripts are at least publicly encouraged to rise above parochial loyalties and may be stationed in parts of the country far from their ethnic kinsmen. To tear apart the Army in the war’s aftermath could lead to the destruction of one of the only forces for unity within the society. Breaking up large elements of the army also raises the possibility that demobilized soldiers could affiliate with ethnic or tribal militias."

Complete work may be found here:

Friday, March 2, 2007

DADT Reform

Interesting Opinion From The Progress Report March 2, 2007

MILITARY --- Ready for Repeal Since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy went into effect, the Pentagon has dismissed more than 11,000 servicemembers, many of whom have key specialty skills such as training in medicine and language. At a time when the military faces a readiness crisis, the Pentagon can ill-afford to dismiss two service members a day as it is doing under the current policy. The time is right for repeal. Recent polling shows a large majority of military personnel are comfortable with gays and lesbians, and nearly a quarter of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars knew that someone in their unit was gay. High-profile military leaders, such as former Joint Chiefs chairman John M. Shalikashvili, have called for repeal. In May, Ret. Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the Army, also called for repeal of the law, saying it is "a hollow policy that serves no useful purpose." "The truth is something's wrong with this ban," retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first American soldier to be seriously wounded in Iraq, said yesterday. "You're asking men and women to lie about their orientation, to keep their personal lives private, so they can defend the rights and freedoms of others in this country." The Urban Institute estimates 65,000 lesbian and gay Americans are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is time to allow these heroes serve their country openly and without fear of dismissal. Make your voice heard here.

TIME IS RIGHT FOR REPEAL: Last December, Zogby Interactive polled servicemembers who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan on their views on homosexuality. Seventy-three percent of those polled were comfortable around gays and lesbians, 55 percent said the "presence of gays or lesbians in their unit is well known by others," and 21 percent of those in combat units knew for sure that someone in their unit is gay. A 2004 poll found a majority of junior enlisted servicemembers believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, up from 16 percent in 1992. "There has been a seismic shift among the military and the public in favor of welcoming gay patriots in our armed forces," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). For the first time, the student body of Uniformed Services University (USU) elected an openly gay student council president. Last summer, "a West Point graduate received a prestigious academic award for his thesis opposing Don't Ask Don't Tell, the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members." Anecdotal evidence also points to a changing attitude within the military ranks. "Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines," Shalikashvili wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed. "These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers." Alva said of his experience, "I have tons and tons of friends that were in the military at the time who knew I was gay because I confided in them. Everybody had the same reaction: 'What's the big deal?'" "Being on the front lines and serving with the people who even actually knew that I was gay, you know, that was never a factor," Alva said. "We were there to do a job." Twenty-four countries allow open service by gays and lesbians, including nine nations that "have fought alongside American troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom." A University of California, Berkeley study of these foreign militaries, "suggests that lifting bans on homosexual personnel does not threaten unit cohesion or undermine military effectiveness."

AN ISSUE OF READINESS: Entrenched in two major wars, the U.S. military is stretched thin and thousands of troops are being deployed unready for combat. The approximately 11,000 gays and lesbians discharged since 1993 would account for more than one-third of the total number of troops in Afghanistan. With American troops being called back for multiple tours of duty in the Middle East, the current discharge rate of two soldiers a day makes little logistical sense. A study conducted last year for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network showed that the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians were allowed to be open about their sexual orientation. Approximately 800 of those who have been discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were specialists with "some training in an occupation identified . . . as 'critical.'" In a hearing before the House Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed the need for more service members with foreign language skills for covert operations, yet 322 of those discharged had skills in critical languages such as Arabic, Farsi, or Korean. Furthermore, the discharged and subsequent recruitment associated with "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is estimated to have cost taxpayers $364 million dollars. "The real issue here is that you have a policy that is costing us money, hurting readiness and is really not fulfilling any national security objective," said Lawrence Korb, a Center for American Progress Senior Fellow and former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. "It just doesn't make sense now, particularly when you're having such a hard time getting people to join the military and retaining them in the right skills."

CONGRESS TAKES AIM AT REPEAL: "Our military is stretched to the breaking point," Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) wrote to his colleagues in the House. "Yet, because of the discriminatory policy set up in the 1993 more than 11,000 able-bodied, capable and willing soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women have been kicked out of the military for no other reason than their sexual orientation." Meehan is attempting to do something about it. Yesterday, he reintroduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill that would allow gays to serve openly in the military. The bill has bipartisan support from more than 100 lawmakers, including Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT). Shays, who appeared with Meehan at a news conference yesterday, called the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy "foolish and cruel." Activists will make a strong push on Capitol Hill on Lobby Day -- March 26, 2007 -- to show Congress grassroot support behind the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Learn how you can get more involved in pushing for an end to the policy here, and contact your member of Congress here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

"A Retreat From Big Cities Hurts ROTC Recruiting, says Wall Street Journal

Note: By having few ROTC programs in big cities, the military is missing out on recruits who have familiarity with foreign cultures and languages. One of the NCOs said of New York City "There were times when I felt like I was back in Iraq. There were people dressed in those man-dresses that they wear in Iraq. The women had veils. I know I shouldn't say this, but it made me want to look for IEDs".
See commentary on Intel Dump blog:

Click here for complimentary graphics:

By Greg Jaffe
QUEENS , N.Y. -- The ROTC program at St. John's University here seems perfectly placed for an Army that's desperate for officers who are bilingual and comfortable in foreign lands. About 40 of the 120 students speak second languages, including Turkish, Korean, Mandarin, Hindi, Albanian, and Gujarati.

"I had never even heard of Gujarati until I learned I had a cadet who spoke it," says Lt. Col. Timothy Walter, who heads the program. But instead of being hailed as a model for the Army's future, the St. John's Reserve Officer Training Corps program is a lonely outpost of diversity. In the past few decades, the Army has pulled its officer training and recruiting programs out of the Northeast and big, ethnically diverse urban centers, choosing to concentrate on campuses in the South and Midwest.

There is no Army ROTC program in the Detroit area, with its large middle-class Muslim population, and only one in Miami and Chicago. In New York City, which produced more than 500 military officers a year in the 1950s and early 1960s, the two remaining ROTC programs last year yielded 34 Army officers. In contrast, Alabama, which has a student\n population that is about one-fourth the size of the state of New York, has 10 ROTC programs that last year produced 174 Army officers. The South generates about 40% of all Army officers, according to Pentagon statistics. An officer's background didn't matter so much when the U.S. was focused on fighting big armies in large conventional battles. These days, though, U.S. success in places like Iraq and Afghanistan hinges on the ability of Army officers to win the trust of a suspicious and often culturally alien population. Officers must court sheiks and warlords and work closely with indigenous security forces. At a time when the country is growing more and more diverse, the Army is struggling to build an officer corps that takes full advantage of America's multiethnic society. There are only about 1,500 Muslims in a force of about 500,000 soldiers. Arabic speakers are in critically short supply throughout the force, say senior Army officials. Even in those cities, like New York, where the Army maintains ROTC, it is undermanned and culturally out-of-synch with the people it is trying to recruit. "

There is no Army ROTC program in the Detroit area, with its large middle-class Muslim population, and only one in Miami and Chicago. In New York City, which produced more than 500 military officers a year in the 1950s and early 1960s, the two remaining ROTC programs last year yielded 34 Army officers.

In contrast, Alabama, which has a student population that is about one-fourth the size of the state of New York, has 10 ROTC programs that last year produced 174 Army officers. The South generates about 40% of all Army officers, according to Pentagon statistics.

An officer's background didn't matter so much when the U.S. was focused on fighting big armies in large conventional battles. These days, though, U.S. success in places like Iraq and Afghanistan hinges on the ability of Army officers to win the trust of a suspicious and often culturally alien population. Officers must court sheiks and warlords and work closely with indigenous security forces.

At a time when the country is growing more and more diverse, the Army is struggling to build an officer corps that takes full advantage of America's multiethnic society. There are only about 1,500 Muslims in a force of about 500,000 soldiers. Arabic speakers are in critically short supply throughout the force, say senior Army officials. Even in those cities, like New York, where the Army maintains ROTC, it is undermanned and culturally out-of-synch with the people it is trying to recruit.

"We've been very shortsighted," says retired Gen. Jack Keane, who served as the Army's vice chief of staff until he retired in 2004. "We have leaders in the Army who are uncomfortable in big urban areas. They feel awkward there."

The Army's retreat from urban areas has complex roots, from antimilitary sentiment in big cities in the wake of the Vietnam War to simple economics. Urban ROTC programs have generally produced fewer cadets and are considered poorer investments than programs at large campuses in the South. Internal Army studies say the best ROTC candidates are students whose parents have served in the military and enjoy physical activity. "They may have rafted, canoed, rock climbed or sky dived," an internal Army report states. Prime candidates also have served in leadership positions at school.
ROTC, which is open to full-time college students, produces officers who are the professional and intellectual core of the Army. The program graduates about 4,000 officers a year and supplies two-thirds of the Army's officer corps. Cadets must attend classes at least twice a week and work out in the mornings three times a week. The other officers come from West Point, which produces about 900 graduates a year, and the Army's Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. ROTC graduates typically agree to serve eight years in the military after they graduate. The time can either be spent on active duty or in the reserves.

To prepare soldiers better for dealing with local populations, the Army has added language and cultural-awareness classes. At West Point, for example, cadets in the Social Sciences Department spend three days each year in Jersey City, N.J., a city of about 250,000 that includes large numbers of Muslims, Hindus and Egyptian Coptic Christians. The West Point cadets meet with local political and religious leaders. They spend the night in a mosque, meet with the Imam there and observe evening and morning prayers. During their last trip they were treated to a homemade feast from Hindu, Egyptian and Coptic Christian communities.

"The goal is to help cadets understand how a big, diverse, ethnic population works," says Maj. Stephanie Ahern, who oversees the trip.
But when it comes to recruiting officers from Jersey City, the Army has taken a pass. It closed its only two ROTC programs in Jersey City in the mid-1990s because they weren't producing many officers.

The Army's shift South began in the late 1960s at a time when anger over the war in Vietnam was prevalent on many Northeastern campuses. At some high-profile schools, like Harvard, Yale and Columbia, disagreements between the military and school administrators drove ROTC off campus. Many small Southern schools actively courted the military by setting aside new buildings for ROTC programs.

As the Army shrunk after the Cold War, it also shuttered large numbers of bases in the Northeast and relocated troops to sprawling facilities in the South and Midwest which were far from population centers and offered big training ranges. As a result, urban students today have far less exposure to the military, making them harder and more costly to recruit and retain in ROTC programs.

"We want to produce an officer corps that is fully reflective of the rich ethnicity and cultural diversity of our country," says Maj. Gen. Montague Winfield, who oversees the Army's ROTC programs nationwide. But, he says, the Army must also focus its money and personnel on areas that are likely to produce the largest number of high-quality officers at the least cost to taxpayers.

Last year, Cadet Command, which oversees training and recruitment of ROTC officers, came up 450 officers short of its goal of producing 4,500 second lieutenants. This year, the command will get about $175 million for scholarships to bring in more cadets, twice what it received in 2001. But it won't get additional officers and sergeants to expand programs to more campuses in urban markets.

"We are in a resource-constrained environment," says Gen. Winfield.
No place shows the shortcomings and the potential of urban ROTC programs better than New York. Created after World War II, ROTC was a big presence on campuses throughout New York City. The City College of New York, for example, swelled with more than 1,500 cadets in the 1950s, making it among the largest in America. Its most famous graduate is Gen. Colin Powell.

In the early 1970s, the Army began to leave the city. From 1968 to 1974, the Army closed 43 ROTC programs in the Northeast and opened 45 new programs in the South. In the early 1990s when the Army was downsizing at the end of the Cold War, it closed 70 more programs, including its remaining programs in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

For many Army officers and senior sergeants today, New York is an alien place. Master Sgt. Darrel Jolley got his papers sending him to teach at St. John's University while he was in Iraq. The official Army order listed his assignment as "Jamaica, Queens." "I thought I was going to the island of Jamaica," he says. When he found out he was going to New York, the 43-year-old sergeant says he tried to get out of the assignment. He failed.

Driving through Brooklyn and Queens Sgt. Jolley said he was initially taken aback by the clamor and the large number of people who looked as if they recently arrived from the Middle East. "There were times when I felt like I was back in Iraq. There were people dressed in those man-dresses that they wear in Iraq. The women had veils. I know I shouldn't say this, but it made me want to look for IEDs," he says, referring to improvised explosive devices.

It wasn't just the city that felt foreign. The ROTC students were also different. Many spoke with heavy accents and struggled with their English. About half of the cadets were female, a big change from Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., where he served in all-male units. Standing before his first class, Sgt. Jolley says he felt compelled to preemptively apologize for anything he might say to offend the students.

Three years into his St. John's assignment, where he teaches courses in military science, Sgt. Jolley has formed strong bonds with his cadets. Among those with whom he has formed closest ties is Yesim Yaktubay, a 20-year-old junior who attends St. John's on a ROTC scholarship.

Ms. Yaktubay, who migrated to the U.S. at age 10 from Turkey, says she was drawn to ROTC because she needed money for school and wanted to travel. Her father works as a carpenter in Queens and her mother is a homemaker. Her parents initially tried to talk her out of joining the military, and remain troubled by the Iraq war, she says. "They are from the Middle East. They have family over there and they were worried the war would spread to Turkey," she says. Her mother "kept saying I was going to get hurt or killed," Ms. Yaktubay says. Like many of the St. John's cadets, Ms. Yaktubay says she has her doubts about the wisdom of the war but "I support our troops."

As one of a handful of Muslims in the St. John's program, Ms. Yaktubay says she frequently finds herself answering Sgt. Jolley and her fellow cadets' questions about Islamic culture. The questions range from mundane queries about dietary laws to more serious ones about the role of jihad in the religion.

Ms. Yaktubay says she hopes her background growing up as an immigrant and a Muslim will make her a better officer. She plans to go into military intelligence. "I think it will help me understand people better, particularly their cultural differences and their background," she says.

Initially Ms. Yaktubay had her doubts about Sgt. Jolley, a broad-shouldered infantry soldier from western Pennsylvania. "We all expected him to be meaner and really push us," she says. Although her grades are strong, Ms. Yaktubay struggled with the Army physical-fitness test. Sgt. Jolley skipped lunch and took extra time in the evenings to help her and other recruits cut their time in the 2-mile run. "He has become like a second dad to me," she says.

Jessica Jurj came to the U.S . from Romania at age 14 and attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York system in Manhattan. She struggled with her grades her freshman and sophomore years because she was working as much as 50 hours a week to support herself.

Today she is one of the leaders of the Fordham ROTC program in the Bronx. Her teacher, Lt. Col. Randy Powell, who runs the program, recalls how several years ago, he took the unit he was leading to an exercise with the Bulgarian military. "I was unprepared for the level of poverty," he says. "Having Jurj on my staff would have been a huge help."

The two remaining New York City programs -- at St. John's and Fordham -- are both fragile. Cadets often have long commutes involving buses and trains to reach them. Ms. Jurj says she has to get up at 4 a.m. to make it from Queens to her 6 a.m. mandatory Saturday ROTC class at Fordham. On days when she sleeps late she has to pay $40 in cab fare.

Without aggressive leadership, the programs can also quickly falter. In 2000, the ROTC program at Fordham University in the Bronx was producing about five officers a year and was on the verge of being shut down. The officers, who ran the program, rarely left the Fordham campus to recruit cadets.

Today it yields about 25 officers a year. A key player in the turnaround is Maj. Mike Hoblin, a Fordham ROTC grad and native New Yorker who was assigned to the program at its low ebb. Shortly after he arrived, Maj. Hoblin began offering ROTC classes at Fordham's campus in Lincoln Center, easing the commute for students who attend colleges in Manhattan, such as Columbia and New York University. Today the Fordham program has nine cadets from NYU, up from none in 2000.

But Maj. Hoblin also looked beyond the elite campuses. He focused attention on John Jay and City College of New York, two of some 20 schools in the 200,000-student CUNY system. At the time the CUNY system was producing virtually no ROTC candidates. He started attending career days and built relationships with professors and administrators who had connections to the military. Today, about 25% of the 112 cadets attending the ROTC program based at Fordham are from CUNY schools.

Even as he was expanding the Fordham program, Maj. Hoblin says he was struck by the missed opportunities in New York, particularly on the immigrant-heavy CUNY campuses, where there is no ROTC presence. "I have always found that first-generation immigrants in New York City are eager to serve," he says.

Click to read on WSJ >>

Professors Analyze Iraq War

Panelists Clash on Future of Country
By Zack Hoopes

Panelists expressed contrasting views on the future of Iraq on Wednesday night at an event hosted by Columbia Political Union, Columbia University Veterans Association, and the CU chapter of Foundation for Defense of Democracies.Professors Richard Betts and Robert Jervis of the political science department at Columbia emphasized the negative effects of American involvement, while Professor Joseph Skelly of the history department at Mount St. Vincent's College explored the possibility of positive future developments. Click here to read more >>

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

GAO Report: Strategic Plan Needed to Address Army's Emerging Officer Accession and Retention Challenges

What GAO Found
The services generally met most of their overall accession needs for newly commissioned officers, but the Army faces challenges accessing enough officers to meet its needs. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force met their overall FYs 2001, 2003, and 2005 officer accession needs, but are experiencing challenges accessing specific groups, like flight officers and medical professionals. Moreover, the Army did not meet its needs for officers in FY 2001 and FY 2003 and expects to struggle with future accessions. To meet its officer accession needs, the Army’s traditional approach has been to rely first on its ROTC and academy programs and then compensate for shortfalls in these programs by increasing its OCS accessions. Between FYs 2001 and 2005, the Army nearly doubled the number of OCS commissioned officers due to (1) academy and ROTC shortfalls,(2) decreased ROTC scholarships, and (3) a need to expand its officer corps. But OCS is expected to reach its capacity in FY 2007, and resource limitations such as housing and classroom space may prevent further expansion. In addition, the Army’s three accession programs are decentralized and do not formally coordinate with one another, making it difficult for the Army, using its traditional approach, to effectively manage risks and allocate resources across programs in an integrated, strategic fashion. Without a strategic, integrated plan for determining overall annual accession goals, managing risks, and allocating resources, the Army’s ability to meet its future mission requirements and to transform to more deployable, modular units is uncertain.

Click to read in full.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Twenty Eight Articles - Counterinsurgency

Fundamentals of Company Level Counterinsurgency
by Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, PhD


Your company has just been warned for deployment on counterinsurgency operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. You have read David Galula, T.E. Lawrence and Robert Thompson. You have studied FM 3-24 and now understand the history, philosophy and theory of counterinsurgency. You watched Black Hawk Down and The Battle of Algiers, and you know this will be the most difficult challenge of your life.

But what does all the theory mean, at the company level? How do the principles translate into action at night, with the GPS down, the media criticizing you, the locals complaining in a language you don't understand, and an unseen enemy killing your people by ones and twos? How does counterinsurgency actually happen?

There are no universal answers, and insurgents are among the most adaptive opponents you will ever face. Countering them will demand every ounce of your intellect. But be comforted: you are not the first to feel this way. There are tactical fundamentals you can apply, to link the theory with the techniques and procedures you already know.

Read the rest here at Small Wars Journal

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Military Recruiting at Barnard's Activities Fair 2007

McINTOSH STUDENT CENTER, BARNARD COLLEGE – On Wednesday, January 24th, 2007, Hamilton Society, the Columbia student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates, participated in the Barnard Student Government Association's winter/spring activities fair with recruiting literature for the local USMC PLC, Air Force ROTC, and Army ROTC programs.

The table was manned by Army cadet Elizabeth Feldmeier, Marine officer candidate Austin Byrd, and Eric Chen. Hamilton Society President Riaz Zaidi supplied the Army ROTC materials, Air Force cadet Pete Brennan supplied the Air Force ROTC materials, and Marine officer candidate Phil Chan supplied the USMC PLC materials. The activities fair was lightly attended with approximately 20 clubs represented. There were no protests, the DADT issue was not raised, and there were no problems from school administrators. One school administrator picked up a Hamilton Society pamphlet, and commented that a former student she advised applied to USUHS and another dropped out of ROTC due to the difficulty of attending a cross-town program. Other passers-by took a few Army ROTC pens, along with perhaps three Hamilton Society pamphlets and a USMC PLC brochure. A few more students took note and talked amongst themselves about the Hamilton Society table.

Participation by the Hamilton Society in the Barnard activities fair, however modest the event, represented the on-going mission of the Hamilton Society to actively engage the greater Columbia University community on civil-military issues and inform students about military career options.

Marine Corps Commissioning Ceremony at Columbia University - Mark Xue, CC 06

LOW PLAZA, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY - On Saturday, December 16th, 2006, Columbia College 2006 graduate and Hamilton Society president emeritus Mark Xue, CC 06, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in a ceremony held on Low Plaza. The event was organized by US Military Veterans of Columbia University (MilVets) President Luke Stalcup and Hamilton Society President Riaz Zaidi. MilVets vice president emeritus Eric Chen served as the master of ceremonies. Other Columbia students and alumni who participated in the ceremony included MilVets president emeritus Oscar Escano, Army MAJ Taylor Hwong, Marine Cpl Dan Cross, who rendered Lt Xue’s first salute, Marine Cpl Matt Sanchez, Hamilton Society Vice-President Stefan Hasselblad, and Army ROTC cadet Elizabeth Feldmeier. Columbia sociology professor Allan Silver administered Lt Xue's oath of office, and his parents pinned on his Second Lieutenant rank. The ceremony concluded with Lt Xue leading all attending in the Marines hymn. Spectators included University Chaplain Jewelnel Davis and Vice-Provost Roxie Smith. The commissioning ceremony was sponsored by the US Military Veterans of Columbia University, the Hamilton Society and the Columbia Alliance for ROTC (CAR). The reception at Cafe Pertutti was hosted by CAR Chairman Ted Graske, CC 59. For more photos of Lt Xue's commissioning ceremony, click here.

Discussion of Citizenship and Military Service at Columbia University

with Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, co-authors of AWOL: the Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service—and How It Hurts Our Country

Event advertisement: "In contrast to previous generations, American elites now have little personal connection to the military forces that bear the burdens of national defense. This gap creates misunderstandings and raises significant questions about political responsibility, social equity, and institutional leadership. Should something be done to close the gap? What consequences follow, whether or not the gap is addressed? The authors, a Democrat and a Republican, explore the issue and offer proposals for resolving it."

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS BUILDING, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY – On October 11th, 2006, the Salzman Institute for War and Peace Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs hosted a discussion of citizenship and military service with the authors of AWOL: the Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service—and How It Hurts Our Country, Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer. The event was co-sponsored by the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University (MilVets), Hamilton Society, Columbia University Democrats, and Columbia University College Republicans. Columbia sociology professor Allan Silver was the primary organizer. Salzman Institute director Prof. Richard Betts served as the moderator. Elyse Ross representing the College Democrats and Matt Sanchez representing the College Republicans were commentators. The discussion was recorded by Columbia University Television.

Leaders and members of MilVets, Hamilton Society, and the Columbia Alliance for ROTC were in the audience. Lt Col John Wilkinson and other officers from the Air Force ROTC program at Manhattan College were present, as well as a large contingent of midshipmen, in uniform, from the Navy ROTC program at SUNY Maritime.

The meeting's sponsorship by the Salzman Institute for War and Peace Studies signified that issues of citizenship and military service have a place on the university's intellectual agenda. A significant number of undergraduates were in attendance, many coming out of curiosity about the subject rather than prior commitments. The room was totally filled, and very few left before the full 90 minutes of the occasion was finished, suggesting a high level of attentive engagement. The speakers had been counseled to put aside the autobiographical aspects of their approaches to the question in favor of the policy issues. Happily, they ignored that advice, obviously sticking with their standard presentation, an account of their converging commitment to the issues from the perspectives of a liberal Democratic and conservative Republican perspectives. Their urgency successfully engaged the audience and led to a good discussion of the policy issues and a vigorous discussion of the policy issues that continued, informally, after the meeting ended.

Military Recruiting at Columbia's Activities Day

LOW PLAZA, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY – On the afternoon of Friday, September 8, 2006, Hamilton Society, the Columbia student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates, participated in the annual university-wide Activities Day Fair with recruiting literature for the local USMC PLC and Army ROTC programs. From noon, the table was manned by 2005-06 President Mark Xue, Army ROTC cadets Stefan Hasselblad and 2006-07 President Riaz Zaidi, in uniform, Marine officer candidates Joe O'Conor and Phil Chan, wearing Marine t-shirts, and former Army ROTC cadet Sarah Clarke in civilian attire. Hamilton Society is a member organization of the Student Governing Board (SGB) of Columbia University, and their table was located on Low Plaza with the other SGB groups. The table was decorated with a military-style poncho. The recruiting literature included a mix of Hamilton Society produced material and material from the ROTC and PLC programs. There were also advertisements for the October 11th AWOL authors’ panel and Columbia ROTC advocacy publications such as the Wounded Lion. There was no Air Force ROTC representation in person or via materials. Members of MilVets, the Columbia student group for veterans, stopped by to lend support throughout the day. The MilVets table, which was initially located on College Walk, was eventually relocated next to the Hamilton Society table later in the afternoon.

Until 2 pm, the Hamilton Society table received modest attention with approximately 15 to 20 students stopping by the booth. Half were interested in the officer training programs and the other half expressed support. Two to three people expressed anti-military or anti-war opinions but were intrigued by the notion of academic engagement of the military as a method of moderating the military. The Hamilton Society talking points focused on "presenting military opportunities" and "advocating a stronger academic-military tie". During this time, a member of the university administration asked for the identity of the club and whether the Hamilton Society representatives were students, but did not press the issue further.

At approximately 2 pm, three to four members of the Spartacus Youth Club (SYC) came over and began marching, waving signs and chanting in front of the Hamilton Society table. The SYC members made no attempt to directly converse with the Hamilton Society representatives. Stefan Hasselblad, Riaz Zaidi, Sarah Clarke, Eric Chen, and Mark Xue were present. By this time, the MilVets table was next to the Hamilton Society table but the SYC focused on Hamilton Society, most likely due to the cadets’ uniforms. The protest activity lasted for approximately 20 minutes before petering out. Ironically, the protest helped draw supporters to the Hamilton Society table. Approximately 20 to 30 people came by to express their support, some of whom showed interest in the advertised events. The Activities Day Fair ended around 3 pm. In total, approximately 50 to 60 students approached the Hamilton Society table during the course of the day. Hamilton Society signed up 15 new members.

There were no problems from the university administration before, during, or after the event, and the DADT controversy was not raised as an issue.

Notes: Mark Xue, President Emeritus (2005-06) of the Hamilton Society, is a Marine officer candidate and is currently attending Officer Candidates School at Quantico, Virginia. Account edited by Eric Chen.

The Movement to Restore ROTC at Columbia: Historical Background

By Sean Wilkes (CC/AROTC 06), Chairman, Advocates for Columbia ROTC
31 August 2006

The rise of the ROTC advocacy movement at Columbia began in the fall of 2001 and spring of 2002 following the September 11th attacks. The attacks brought to light a severe lack of understanding within the Columbia community for the nature of the military, both in its use as a foreign policy tool and the internal mechanisms by which it operates. The great amount of ignorance that was displayed by many otherwise well-educated people struck a nerve with many veterans and military family members, who felt that members of the Armed Forces were being misrepresented and portrayed in a very negative light. On campus, students formed an organization, Students United for Victory, in order to combat these views. At the same time, a campaign for a “Call to Service” was begun in order to encourage Columbia students not only to support the Armed Forces, but also to join the ranks as the leadership of our military. Columbia military alumni mobilized to appeal to the university administration. These efforts subsequently heralded the calls for the return of ROTC to Columbia after its 30 odd year hiatus. Starting in the fall of 2001, Eric Chen was one of the first to raise civil-military concerns and advocate for ROTC as a campus organizer and Columbia Spectator columnist.

Students United for Victory (SU4V), renamed Students United for America (SU4A) in the fall of 2002, led the charge for much of the first phase of the movement. After discussing the ROTC issue with alumnus Phil Bergovoy in the spring of 2002, Eric organized the first gathering of ROTC advocates and discussion of ROTC at the end of the semester (see April 28, 2002: Forum: Should ROTC Return to Columbia?). A number of USAF ROTC cadets who were also Columbia upperclassmen took part. In the fall of 2002, I began my Freshman Year at Columbia and enrolled in the Army ROTC program at Fordham. At the start of the semester, Eric wrote his second ROTC-related Spectator article (see September 17, 2002: Changing Times at Columbia), which attracted the attention of much of the campus community, including mine. We formed the Independent Committee for ROTC Advocacy (ICRA), the forerunner of Advocates for Columbia ROTC (ACR), which we created in order to expand ROTC advocacy beyond SU4A’s organizational constraints. Over a series of meetings, Eric and I outlined a short-term and long-term plan for the campaign to return ROTC to Columbia. The plan consisted of three main thrusts – the Students, the Administration/Institution, and the Alumni. The focus of the first thrust was an appeal to the student body - to educate them about ROTC and military service (e.g. the difference between Officer and Enlisted) and to spread the word about their ability to participate in the program through Fordham or Manhattan College. The second thrust on the Administration was broken down into a few areas - to find ways to improve quality of life for Cadets (such as granting “R” credit for courses, having knowledgeable advisors, etc), to find ways to better inform the student body via official channels (e.g., the website, and to explore the procedures and steps necessary to bring about the return of ROTC. The third thrust, targeting Alumni, focused on galvanizing them into action in order to bring about external pressure on the University and to establish a broader community of support for our efforts. The Alumni effort was taken on by Adm. Jim Lowe (CC/NROTC 51) and Mr. Phil Bergovoy (CC/NROTC 51), and soon after by Capt. Ted Graske (CC/NROTC 59).

Once Eric and I formulated a workable plan, we immediately moved to act, beginning with an aggressive advertising campaign. Also involved was Jennifer Thorpe, the President of SU4A and a dedicated proponent of ROTC. Other notable student ROTC advocates included Eric Gutman and Shane Hachey. Flyering was a heavily used technique early on and was very effective in making students aware of the issue. Weekly tabling on College Walk also raised awareness and facilitated new contacts. The Columbia Spectator was another means to bring ROTC to the popular front as the issue was broadly discussed in the opinion page of the newspaper. Pro-ROTC Spectator contributors included me, Eric Chen, Megan Romigh, Jen Thorpe, Yoni Appelbaum, and Brian Wagner. (I encourage reading very thoroughly through the articles at, starting from 2002; they will provide a detailed overview of the progression of the ROTC campaign.) With the tabling, flyering and newspaper editorial campaign fully mobilized, we also organized a number of discussion and panel events to present our ideas to the student body in more formal settings. Student organizations such as the Columbia Political Union and College Republicans, led by SU4A, provided key support. Some events were more successful than others, but over-all attendance was generally substantial for a Columbia undergraduate group (generally between 20 and 40 attendees). We also presented the ROTC issue to the undergraduate student councils.

The Alumni thrust took more time to get going. Much of the first part of that thrust involved simply contacting them. Important initial contributors were, of course, Dr. Michael Segal, Admiral Jim Lowe, (Navy) Captain Ted Graske, and (Army) Colonel Jonathan Newmark, a graduate of Columbia’s medical school. The alumni supporter base has fluctuated over time, but is now stabilized under the leadership of Ted Graske and organized as the Columbia Alliance for ROTC (CAR). CAR produces the pro-ROTC newsletter, the Wounded Lion.

The Administration thrust took off in the spring of 2003. Student ROTC advocates met and consulted with a number of Deans and Assistant Deans. Initially, the most useful help came from Dean Colombo who indicated that the best way to gain the support of Student Affairs and the Administration was to demonstrate student support for the issue. After much planning and analysis, and consultation with members of the Columbia College Student Council (including now-USAF LT Robert Wray), we devised a plan to include a non-binding referendum in the student elections to gauge student opinion on the ROTC issue. The 2003 Columbia College Student Council elections had the highest turnout in years. The results of the referendum on ROTC turned out very much to our advantage, with 65% of students in favor of ROTC (see April 17, 2003: High Turnout Decides CC Student Council Election).

There was some trouble with the wording of the referendum, and we feel this should be explained. ICRA presented a list of possible questions for the referendum to David X. Cheng, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Research and Planning, in the Office of Student Affairs. He is considered Columbia’s polling expert and his approval as an independent authority provided important legitimacy to the ROTC poll. Dean Cheng modified our questions and then submitted them to the CC Student Council. Rather than using our list of questions, however, the council decided to pick only one question and subsequently miscopied the question so that, rather than ask whether ROTC should return, it asked whether ROTC should be prohibited. It is a slight semantic difference, but it made a difference later when ROTC opponents argued that students were apathetic to or ignorant of the issue rather than displaying overt support for ROTC. Nevertheless, over-all, the results of the poll worked very much in our favor.

The following year, 2003-2004, ICRA was reorganized as the Advocates for Columbia ROTC. With proof of student support in hand, our efforts were focused on “working the system”, that is, finding administrative means and avenues to bring about institutional support for ROTC and the program’s eventual return to Columbia. Our first set of successful actions with the Administration resulted from our meetings with various Deans in the undergraduate colleges and Student Affairs. Two key people at the start of this phase were Dean of Academic Affairs Kathryn Yatrakis and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, David Charlow. I met with Dean Yatrakis in order to explore ways in which cadets could be recognized officially for their participation in ROTC – an academic program that requires a great amount of time and effort. While academic credit would be impossible, since the program is not within the auspices of Columbia's administration and since it would not fit within any academic department, she suggested the possibility of using Registration Credit (or “R” credit) to note students’ participation on their transcripts. Subsequently, a proposal was written by ACR and sent to the Committee on Instruction through Dean Yatrakis. They convened a month later and approved our request. As a result, students may now submit R-credit forms and have their ROTC courses listed on their transcripts, though this form must be submitted each semester that the student participates in the program. The meeting with Dean Charlow focused on ways in which the Financial Aid department might be able to display information about ROTC to prospective students, particularly those with ROTC 4-year scholarships who may be considering applying to Columbia. We wanted to counter the widely held misconception that one could not participate in ROTC if one attended Columbia. After much discussion, Dean Charlow and his department agreed to display a note about the availability of local ROTC programs in the on-line Financial Aid FAQ and in the Columbia viewbook, and to assist us in publishing a small informational website detailing these programs and their contact information (

Over the course of the next few months we were able to meet with a number of Columbia officials, including Dean Zvi Galil at SEAS and Dean Austin Quigley of the College, to discuss ROTC, until the coup de grâce in December of 2003, when we were granted an audience with President Lee Bollinger. The meeting lasted perhaps a half an hour and was attended by Jen Thorpe, as President of SU4A, and me, as Chairman of ACR. We presented to him our proposal for the return of ROTC, the reasoning behind our efforts, and evidence of the vast amount of support that had been accrued through our grass-roots campaign. President Bollinger took note of the evidence of support, to say the least, and was interested in seeing the issue explored further. He explained to us that he felt it would not be appropriate for his office to make a determination on the issue, since the University Senate instituted the ban on ROTC during the Senate’s inception in the late 1960s; therefore, the responsibility and authority fell to the Senate to revoke the ban. President Bollinger did, however, put his full weight into granting us the resources of the Senate office and its Secretary, Mr. Tom Mathewson, in order to bring this issue to the Senate’s attention. We met with Mr. Mathewson that day, and with his help, we were able to contact the various Senate committees to notify them of our intent and to request to meet with them. While Mr. Mathewson remains a neutral party, as his position requires, he is very helpful and very knowledgeable on the history of the Senate and the history of ROTC’s downfall at Columbia, and has often gone out of his way to grant us assistance. The Student Affairs Committee and Executive Committee were our two primary administrative avenues, the latter led by Professor Paul Duby of SEAS who to this day remains a staunch supporter of ROTC. Professor Eugene Galanter, a decorated WWII vet, is also a member of the Executive Committee and also has been a strong supporter of our efforts. Professor Michael Adler, another university senator, provided support as well.

We presented the Senate committees with an extensive and well-researched written proposal for the return of ROTC to Columbia University ( This proposal garnered the support of a number of faculty members and students. We continued to meet with the Student Affairs Committee, which agreed to propose the establishment of a special task force to study the issue. On March 26, 2004, their resolution was presented to the University Senate and approved (see and April 1, 2004 “Possible Return of ROTC to Campus Sparks Controversy”). The members of the task force were appointed later that spring in a somewhat politically charged process. It was eventually decided that the task force would consist of six students, five faculty members, and one alumni representative. I was selected as one of the student members. The ROTC Task Force began its deliberations in the fall of 2004.

The Task Force deliberations were long and arduous with much of the initial focus on researching the issue on a variety of fronts. Problems that were subsequently presented included the potential need to appoint an officer as a “Professor” or “Assistant Professor” (later shot down by the Princeton example, where the Professor of Military Science holds the official title of “Director of Military Training” rather than “Professor”), the various costs of instituting the program (again shot down, the only costs would be the small amount of office space needed, and this would be overshadowed by the immense amount of scholarship money brought in per contracted cadet), the inability of students to leave the program if they so choose (again shot down, since ROTC can be tried out for two years, and even 4-year scholarship recipients can quit the program after one year), the necessity of providing credit for a program that is outside the direct control of the University (again shot down via the Princeton example, where students do not receive academic credit), and the incompatibility of military training with an academic institution (arising out of ignorance about officer education). The main problem area was, of course, the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy arising out of 10 USC 654. DADT ended up as the focus of much of the debate, though interestingly not until late in the Task Force proceedings. The members of the Task Force deliberated for a number of months and presented one interim report to the Senate. They sought the views of the Columbia community by holding a town hall meeting on February 15, which was attended by many ROTC supporters, and by inviting e-mail submissions to the task force, at rotc-taskforce @ They collected ROTC-related e-mails in two batches, one set received between February 9 and 24 and the second between February 25 and March 28. ROTC advocates who joined the ROTC campaign in the spring of 2005 included Professor Allan Silver, Professor Jim Applegate (co-chair of the ROTC Task Force), Lt Col Stephen Brozak (GS 82), and students Scott Stewart and Matt Sanchez.

Immediately after the conclusion of the Task Force deliberations, opponents of ROTC held an anti-ROTC “teach in” that included anti-military Columbia professors and counter-recruiters invited from outside Columbia. The teach-in was organized by Law Professor, and ROTC Task Force member, Kendall Thomas and held in the Law School (see April 6, 2005: Panel Examines ROTC Conflict: Clash Between CU Non-Discrimination Policy And Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Stressed). Thereafter, ROTC advocates and opponents carried out competing public relations campaigns meant to influence the Senate vote on ROTC. Both sides utilized heavy flyering and the Spectator opinion page. Opponents of ROTC tabled on College Walk. Debates took place in various campus forums, such as Teachers College, Journalism and Barnard. The Senate devoted a special meeting entirely to the subject of ROTC on April 15, 2005, which unfortunately, was poorly attended. (Other Senate discussions of ROTC and the work of the Task Force over the past year are recorded in minutes of the following meetings: March 26, 2004, April 30, 2004, January 28, 2005 and February 25, 2005.) Following the April 6 anti-ROTC teach-in, multiple requests were made by student and faculty ROTC advocates to hold a formal debate in the Law School in order to provide a balanced discussion to the Columbia community. After repeated rejections by the opponents of ROTC, we held our own panel event, Advocates for Columbia ROTC hearing: Perspectives on the Future of ROTC at Columbia on April 25, 2005. The panel included students, alumni and professors, and included an anti-ROTC professor, Lewis Cole, who had spoken at the April 6 teach-in. Substantial support for the event was provided by the Military in Business Association, a business school veterans group. On the same day, April 25, the ROTC Task Force submitted a resolution on ROTC to the Senate Executive Committee, which then substituted its own resolution, which was intended to offer the Senate a clear, unambiguous choice. The Executive Committee resolution called for the establishment of an ROTC program on campus "as soon as is practicable".

At the May 6 plenary meeting, the Senate decided to conduct a record vote (with signed ballots) on the Executive Committee resolution. The ROTC proposal was defeated 53-10, with 5 abstentions. The ROTC advocates present at the Senate vote observed that the majority of the Senate seemed to have a limited understanding of the issues surrounding the ROTC debate. Statements by university senators revealed they had failed to seriously engage the ACR Case for ROTC at Columbia. As a possible indication of the actual degree of opposition to ROTC within the Senate on May 6, two votes to postpone the final vote on ROTC were conducted, the second of which required President Bollinger to cast a tie-breaking vote.

While the defeat of the ROTC proposal in the Senate was disappointing, the deliberations of the Task Force have, as expected, proven to be essential for building support among faculty and administrators for improving relations with the ROTC programs at Fordham University and Manhattan College. The Task Force recommended developing stronger ties with existing area ROTC programs in lieu of instituting a native program at Columbia. For a more detailed account of Senate deliberations on ROTC, see the May 5, 2005 final report of the task force.

Since the Senate vote, we have regrouped to study the situation and formulate new strategies. Over the course of the 2005-2006 year, the ROTC issue continued to be analyzed at lower levels and remained a topic for student discussion in many organizations on campus. In the spring of 2006, the US Military Veterans of Columbia University (MilVets) under MilVets President Oscar Escano, working with ROTC cadets, led a successful campaign to amend the university discrimination policy with the addition of “military status” as a protected category (see March 24, 2006: Discrimination Policy Amended: New Policy Wording Adds Military Status to Protected Group List). The Columbia cadets and officer candidates group, the Columbia Military Society, was renamed Hamilton Society under group president Mark Xue, in honor of Columbia military alumnus Alexander Hamilton. On March 24, 2006, the Columbia Spectator published its 4th consecutive staff editorial in favor of ROTC. Also, during this period, the Supreme Court upheld the Solomon Amendment (Supreme Court Upholds Solomon Amendment), which had been challenged by FAIR, an association of American Law Schools that included Harvard Law and Columbia Law (see This national event was a boon to our efforts, though unfortunately late in coming. It has been speculated that the upcoming Supreme Court vote motivated President Bollinger to resolve the ROTC issue in the spring of 2005 rather than risk the Senate vote occurring in the same time period as the Supreme Court decision. On May 19, 2006, an Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony was held in the rotunda of Low Library. It was the first officer commissioning to take place at Columbia in over 30 years, and came about as a result of close cooperation between the Administration, alumni ROTC advocates and graduating cadets.

In the summer of 2006, three leaders of the 1st stage, Eric Chen, Shane Hachey and I, sat down together to develop a basic strategy paper that outlines the next steps. Borrowing from Winston Churchill, the May 6, 2005 Senate vote on ROTC was not the end nor was it the beginning of the end. It was merely the end of the beginning. As of the writing of this history, our teammates in the movement together with our successors on campus are moving forward to carry out new strategies for the 2nd stage of the movement.

Eric Chen edited and contributed content to this document.