Top-tier schools should aim to have top-tier ROTC programs. In so doing, they would help ensure that the American officer corps reflects America as a whole—thereby allowing ROTC to fulfill its original purpose. No less important, returning ROTC to elite university campuses will restore a proud tradition of military service. When the first ROTC units were established at the land grant colleges, students at Harvard, Yale, and other prominent schools petitioned for their own programs so they too might have the chance to demonstrate their patriotism. And serve they did. Yale’s Memorial Hall is covered from floor to ceiling with the names of students and faculty who fought from World War I through the Vietnam war, while Harvard boasts the highest number of Medal of Honor recipients outside the service academies.
Not everyone agrees with the decision to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But its repeal does provide an opening for repairing relations between some of the nation’s top universities and the military services—a rift that has been unhealthy for universities, their students, and the armed forces. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t go to waste.
—Gary Schmitt & Cheryl Miller