Countering Junior Recruitment
Mar.-Apr. 2003/ Nonviolent Activist Magazine - War Resisters League
Asif ullah -
Ostensibly a training program, JROTC—the U.S. Army’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps—is actually a recruiting device for the Army. Unlike the college ROTC program, which actually trains participating cadets to be officers when they graduate, JROTC “trains” high school students only to be privates, exactly as they would be if they never joined the program at all.
In the winter of 2001/2002, ROOTS (Revolution Out Of Truth & Struggle), the War Resisters League’s youth program, decided to launch a major campaign to counter JROTC. Chosen after many meetings and discussions, the campaign, as members of ROOTS saw it, would serve as one of the most concrete and grassroots forms of doing antiwar work.
To begin with, ROOTS focused on researching the ins and outs of JROTC: the history, the players involved, the demographics of those being targeted, the number of established and prospective units, and the costs. Since then, ROOTS has worked across the country to reduce the effectiveness of JROTC as a recruiting tool in the hope of some day ending the program entirely.