The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) began with President Wilson signing the National Defense Act of 1916. Although military training had been taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819, the signing of the National Defense Act brought this training under a single, federally-controlled entity: The Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
Army ROTC is the largest officer-producing organization with the American military, having commissioned more than half a million second lieutenants since its inception.
Women have been an integral part of the Army ROTC since 1972-73. The first group of females from ROTC were commissioned in 1975-76. Today, women constitute 20 percent of the Corps of Cadets and more that 15 percent of each commissioning cohort.
In April 1986, the U.S. Army Cadet Command was formed. With its headquarters at Fort Monroe, Virginia, Cadet Command assumed responsibility for more than 400 senior ROTC units, four regional headquarters, and the Junior ROTC with programs in more than 800 high schools. Cadet Command transformed the ROTC from a decentralized organization turning out a heterogeneous group of junior officers into a centralized command producing lieutenants of high and uniform quality. An improved command and control apparatus, an intensification and standardization of training, and improvements in leadership assessment and development helped produce this transformation of pre-commissioning preparation.
Today, Army ROTC has a total of 272 programs located at colleges and universities throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, with an enrollment of more than 25,000. It produces over 60 percent of the second lieutenants who join the active Army, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. More than 40 percent of current active duty Army General Officers were commissioned through the ROTC. Of even greater importance is that ROTC trained and educated officers bring a hybrid vigor to our officer corps by drawing on the strength and variety of our social fabric. Cadet Command accomplishes this by combining the character-building aspects of a diverse, self-disciplined civilian education with tough, centralized leader development training. This process forges a broad-gauged officer who manifests the strength and diversity of the society from which he or she is drawn as well as the quality of strong officer leadership.
Cadet Command is also responsible for the Junior ROTC. Today, there are over 1600 JROTC units and over 274,000 cadets. Both totals are historic highs. JROTC has an enormously positive effect on our youth helping young people from across the socio-economic spectrum. Cadets graduate from high school at a higher rate, have higher GPAs, and have less incidents of indiscipline than their classmates. Although the JROTC is a citizenship program, not a recruiting tool, JROTC graduates enter the armed forces at a much higher rate than their peers. The Junior ROTC is a great program, benefiting the Army, the nation, local communities, and above all, the JROTC cadets themselves.
Texas State University ROTC History
The concept of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in the United States began with the Morrill Act of 1862 which established the land-grant colleges. The federal government established the requirement for the inclusion of military tactics as part of the curriculum, forming what became known as ROTC. At many universities, participation in ROTC was compulsory for all male underclassmen and these ROTC graduates would form the Officer Corps in any future conflicts. ROTC expanded in the lead up to World War I and again prior to World War II. After the great wars, ROTC began to shift to a pre-commissioning training program for student seeking commissions in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1899, Southwest Texas State Normal School opened its doors in 1903. Over the years the Legislature broadened their institution's scope and changed the last part of its name to Normal College,Teachers College, College, and University.
Army ROTC has been a part of university life since 1976, when SWT signed across-enrollment agreement that allowed its students to take military science classes at the University of Texas. The agreement was an instant success. By 1977, with the establishment of the "All Volunteer Force" within the Department of Defense, ROTC became a merit-based scholarship program for students desiring to become commissioned officers. In 1982, SWT added Army ROTC to its own curriculum and the Bobcat Battalion was born. It remained cross-enrolled with UT until 1986, when the program was designated an extension center. In 1996, the Bobcat Battalion won the Genera Douglas MacArthur Award for the best battalion of its size in the nation, and in 2000 it officially became a host program in its own right, no longer affiliated with UT. Within a few short months, Texas Lutheran University in nearby Seguin became the first partnership school to join the Bobcat Battalion.
In 2003, the name finally changed to“Texas State University – San Marcos,” reflecting the university's growth from a small teachers school to a major, multipurpose university with a growing national reputation. Today, the name is Texas State University, and it offers 115 undergraduate programs, 84 masters programs and six doctoral fields of study and has a total student population of more than 39,000.
The Texas State University Army ROTC is rich in tradition and heritage. A lineage of accomplished Army Officers began their careers as a Bobcat. Today, cadets from Texas State and Texas Lutheran University make up one of the finest ROTC battalions in the nation. The Bobcat Battalion continues to offer a variety of scholarships to students seeking to commission in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. The Military Science Department also offers a Military Science Minor as a compliment to any academic major.