Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 9

branch, along with all other graduating cadets. The targeted to a STEM field of study and you complete criteria for branch assignment typically are unrelated your degree, you will spend your first four years in the to their field of study. A mechanical engineer could Army replacing your new technical knowledge with be assigned to the transportation corps, or a history training on tank gunnery, assembly area operations, or major could be assigned as an engineer. According to logistics. After four years, you will have forgotten most a report in the AUSA [Association of the United States of the technical knowledge you learned in college, or it Army] News, the Army has increased its emphasis will have become obsolete, or both. The Army will not on recruiting young men and women for ROTC with concern itself with this issue because it will continue backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and hiring contractors to run its computer systems and netmathematics (known as STEM).5 At the recruiting works. The Army pays lip service to the need to recruit website, the only evidence of this students with STEM expertise, but with the piecemeal is that potential students can find a link that allows way it manages their careers, the Army squanders the them to see the names of technical careers available in the Army.6 Several opportunities exist to earn advanced civilian education degrees while in the Army. These opportunities are through fellowships, broadening assignments, and functional area transfers. The Army expends great effort to make sure officers it selects for assignments in professional fields such as financial management, supply chain operations, or international affairs eventually gain the necessary academic preparation. Unfortunately, the first chance officers have to serve in, and study for, such professional disciplines typically is at the fouror seven-year mark of their careers. Romanian soldiers and U.S. Army ROTC cadets study a terrain map in preparation for land These opportunities are past the navigation training during the cadets’ 2013 CULP mission to Romania. service obligation for officers who earned undergraduate degrees with ROTC scholartalent it manages to recruit and the money it invests in ships, so any STEM graduates would have to extend scholarships. their service to use the skills the Army wants them to Instead, the Army should frame its targeted have.7 The Army’s model provides a disincentive to ROTC scholarships within a new career planning STEM students because it is at odds with the nature model. Rather than offering STEM scholarships isoof STEM careers. The model likely negates potential lated from any career plan, the Army should develop benefits to the students and to the Army. a career planning system with a continuous trajectory Imagine you are a computer science student at a starting from college. It should take into account a prominent U.S. university. Your skills will be in high cadet’s talents and interests years before commissiondemand as soon as you graduate, and your salary in ing to branch assignments. Instead of interrupting the the private sector could be substantial. You have an development of cadets’ expertise by placing STEM interest in military service, and you would also like graduates in typical roles for four or seven years, and some financial assistance with college. Under the then offering them technical opportunities, the Army current model, if you accept an ROTC scholarship needs to develop its STEM officers in a continuous MILITARY REVIEW  July-August 2014 7 Photo from U.S. Army Cadet Command Cadets in Strategic Landpower