December 18, 2014  

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Southern Miss to Appeal Proposed Closure of ROTC Program by U.S. Army

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Graduates of the Southern Miss ROTC program are commissioned as lieutenants in the U.S. Army. (University Communications photo)

Officials at The University of Southern Mississippi have initiated steps to appeal a decision by the U.S. Army to close the University’s Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) program.

Southern Miss administrators received an official notice from the Department of the Army stating that the closure would be effective at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. The Southern Miss ROTC program, which dates back to 1950, is one of 13 nationwide targeted for closure and the only one among six such programs in Mississippi.

In the letter to Southern Miss, Army officials indicated that the action was not a reflection of the University’s program, but was reached “after careful consideration of how to best accomplish its mission with a reduction of resources.”

Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett made it clear that the University intends to utilize all channels available in an effort to have Southern Miss removed from the closure list.

“We intend to participate in any appeals process that may be available to us,” said Bennett. “We are disappointed with this decision because we know our Army ROTC students to be bright, engaged, and patriotic citizens. The University’s ROTC program has a long history of demonstrating excellence while producing military leaders for our country, including 16 general officers from our 1,555 graduates.”

Other universities included on the ROTC closure list per the Army’s official announcement:

Arkansas State University
University of South Dakota
Northern Michigan University
North Dakota State University
University of Wisconson-La Crosse
University of Tennessee-Martin
University of North Alabama
Georgia Regents (Augusta State) University
East Tennessee State University
Morehead State University
Tennessee Technological University
University of California-Santa Barbara

Southern Miss currently has 87 cadets participating in the ROTC program. Of that total, five are scheduled to be commissioned as lieutenants in December with another 12 projected for commission next May.

In its official notice, the Army referenced a production-based model that was used in the decision-making process. The methodology included considerations for market potential, the Army’s academic discipline needs, the program’s historical production and proximity to other Army ROTC units.

For more information about the Southern Miss ROTC program, call 601.266.4456 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/army-rotc