The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a university-based program through which students are trained and, upon graduation, commissioned as officers in the US military. The program’s primary mission is to train and develop professional and competent leaders. Around 30 percent of active duty officers and 22 percent of reserve officers in the Department of Defense (DoD) were commissioned through ROTC in 2010 (source: U.S. Department of Defense, Population Representation in the Military Services, Appendix B, Table B-30).
Why Should CPP Be Taught to ROTC Cadets?
Cultural Property Protection (CPP) is legally mandated and ethically obligated in U.S. military operations. A Government Accountability Office report from 2011 identified significant shortfalls in the culture training and readiness of U.S. forces.
While the DoD tends to focus on behavioral and ideational concepts of culture and heritage, cultural property is an essential element of the total culture package, and protecting it during military operations is a legal requirement.
ROTC is an entry-level training program for America’s officer corps, and must be included in the culture training strategy.
Like all ethical and legal obligations, CPP should be hard-wired in our military leaders from the beginning of their professional development, so that awareness of CPP issues and sound decisions will be second nature during full spectrum operations overseas.
By imparting CPP principles and techniques to future officers during a formative period in their careers, CCHAG assists in preparing tomorrow’s leaders to meet future challenges.
Our CPP training products for ROTC have minimal impact on current program structures, are focused on military interests and concerns, employ recent case studies, and are available free of charge.
CCHAG offers two complementary approaches to this training:
1. We collaborate with the individual ROTC branch commands to integrate elements of CPP training into current curricula where appropriate. For example, Army Cadet Command has tentatively adopted slides about legal drivers for CPP into its “Law of Land Warfare and ROE” class, which is delivered to all Army ROTC cadets nationwide.
2. We provide stand-alone training that presents all relevant CPP material at once. Ideally, this material will be delivered in-person by a volunteer Subject Matter Expert (SME).
3. To facilitate SME involvement in CPP training for ROTC, we have developed various support products. For ROTC programs without access to a local SME, we are also developing free, downloadable 50-minute webinars for each branch of service that will cover much the same material.