‘You’re joining an Army that is both supremely competent and supremely agile in dealing with the myriad of challenges of the 21st century.’
-- Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
Army Chief of Staff
Addressing Marshall ROTC Award Seminar Dinner
Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell has been around the Army for 35 years.
His journey started as an Army ROTC cadet at the University of Michigan.
After being commissioned as a second lieutenant of field artillery, he served an initial tour of duty as a forward observer in Korea.
He subsequently served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield with VII Corps Artillery. Other key assignments included service in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy and as the chief of staff of the 10th Mountain Division during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
|Prior to his present assignment, he served as the deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
In November 2008, Bartell assumed command of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, headquartered at Fort Monroe, Va.
In this capacity, he is responsible for producing 80 percent of the commissioned officers for the United States Army.
He is the eighth soldier to lead this command since its establishment in 1986.
In addition to the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, since October 2008, Cadet Command also has responsibility for the federal Officer Candidate School (OCS).
The United States Military Academy at West Point is the third primary officer accessions sources.
The Army National Guard remains responsible for each state’s officer candidate program.
Interviewed by AUSA NEWS at the 32nd Annual George C. Marshall Army ROTC Award Seminar at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., Bartell said, "This command is responsible for the bulk of the Army’s officer corps. The quality of our product is at an all-time high. And, that doesn’t happen by itself."
An Army ROTC cadet navigates terrain in chemical protective gear during the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Wash. Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command, said the quality of students entering the ROTC program has not been sacrificed for quantity.
The ROTC program has units at 273 colleges and universities across the country and in U.S. territories – with another 1,296 partnership schools of higher education affiliated with the 273 host schools.
There are currently nearly 31,000 cadets in the college-level program.
The federal Army OCS program is conducted exclusively at Fort Benning, Ga., the service’s infantry training center and school.
To paint the complete command picture, "we also have the responsibility for Junior ROTC program which has the mission to motivate young people to be better citizens," Bartell said.
The Junior ROTC program has units on 1,645 high school campuses around the world to include Germany, Japan, Korea, Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.
There are over 280,000 high school students in this program that promotes good citizenship and develops leadership skills.
Senior ROTC grows with the Army
To meet the demands of the Army as it fights two wars – Iraq and Afghanistan – the mission to commission second lieutenants has increased.
For example, in 2005 Cadet Command’s mission was to commission 3,900 lieutenants. That was the year the Army began to "ramp up," that is increase in overall troop strength.
As the Army grows larger, there is a greater requirement for officers.
Beginning in 2006, the ROTC annual mission grew to 4,500 officers. Commencing in 2010, a total of 5,100 lieutenants are to be commissioned through ROTC. And in 2011, the Army’s goal is for the ROTC program to commission 5,350 new officers.
For three years – 2006 to 2008 – the 4,500 mission was not accomplished. "But," Bartell said, "it takes four years to make an officer, so we will make our mission this year. As a matter of fact, we will exceed mission this year."
During this time, the Army did not "go short of officers" since it was possible to mitigate this shortfall through the OCS program.
"We are now on the glide path to making mission in 2010 and 2011 – so we are in good shape now and in the future," he said.
To assist in reaching the recruiting mission, the Department of the Army has provided funding for scholarships which, Bartell said, "is a great recruiting tool," especially during these economic times.
Quality of cadets
As the number of cadets to be commissioned grows to meet the Army’s needs, Bartell said the quality of students being recruited and entering the ROTC program has not been sacrificed for quantity.
"If anything, our standards for admission to the ROTC program have increased – our quality has increased."
Emphasizing that this program is all about leader development, Bartell said, "We look for the scholar-athlete-leader. We look for talent. We look for potential. We look for quality."
Adding, "We are producing the highest quality officers – agile, adaptive warriors" – to lead the soldiers who have volunteered to serve."
"We want officers coming out of the ROTC program who have the intellectual capacity to solve complex problems – and lead others through the solution. That’s the agile and adaptive component."
The scholarship money for deserving cadets also allows Cadet Command to be more selective when recruiting candidates for the program.
"We carefully review the qualifications of each applicant before offering a scholarship. We must not only recruit quality cadets, but also retain these cadets in the program until they are commissioned," he said.
The Cadet Command’s leader development motto is: "Recruit – Develop – Retain – Commission."
In his opening remarks at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics to the top senior ROTC cadets from each college or university having the program and selected for the Marshall award for their academic and military achievements, Bartell underscored this fact by saying: "You are the best of the best. With quality at an all-time high, the fact that you cadets were selected [for the Marshall award] speaks volumes about your individual record of accomplishment."
Adding, "Among your ranks are class presidents, fraternity and sorority leaders, and student government leaders. That fact, coupled with your impressive academic credentials, tells me that you have the intellect and the strength of character necessary to face the complexities of the world you are about to enter."
The majority of cadets at the seminar held in mid April were commissioned second lieutenants in a matter of months.
"They are recruiters. They are teachers. They are trainers. They are role models. They have to fill a lot of shoes that most assignments in the Army do not demand or require."
Speaking of the officers and noncommissioned officers who make up the cadre, Bartell said, "The caliber of our cadre is the highest it has ever been."
Adding, "It’s very competitive to be selected as a PMS (professor of military science) and we are finding that more officers and noncommissioned officers are requesting ROTC duty – and this is gratifying."
On average, cadre members are veterans of a least two deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait or the Horn of Africa. They bring to the college or university campus first-hand knowledge and the leadership experience that needs to be instilled in the Army’s future officers.
Bartell also noted that these combat veterans – officers and noncommissioned officers alike – know what they want from the Army’s future leaders, and they want to "come back and become part of the process that produces them" – the ROTC program.
"I’ve said many times," Bartell emphasized, "that I love to go out and talk with cadets, well I also love going out and talking with our cadre."
Noting that this year has been designated by the secretary and chief of staff of the Army as The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, Bartell said NCOs play an indispensable role as members of the ROTC cadre.
"First and foremost, we look for NCOs who can provide a good example for our cadets – since many of the young men and women entering the ROTC program do not have a military background and often know very little about the Army."
Establishing a "linkage with noncommissioned officers, early on," is an invaluable tool that is "really being highlighted during the Year of the NCO," he said.
This linkage is extremely important not only for cadets, but also for the future officers, so when he or she gets to their first platoon – their first command – "they’re going to meet that sergeant first class who is their platoon sergeant and who is going to teach them how to be a platoon leader."
And, no matter how far you go in the Army, Army officers agree that you will never forget your first NCO.
That NCO – the teacher, the mentor, the role model – "is the kind of NCO we want in the program."
Today, noncommissioned officers in the ROTC program are able to also expose cadets to a wider view of the total Army.
In the past, NCOs selected for ROTC duty were solely from the combat arms – but now, because of the ever changing climate of war and missions, noncommissioned officers are selected from other branches of the Army that deal with combat service support, "because we’re finding a lot of these NCOs have been deployed more than the combat arms folks," Bartell said.
Many of these NCO cadre members – both male and female sergeants first class or master sergeants – who teach and train cadets have been in "dicey areas," and have been awarded Combat Action Badges and Purple Hearts.
Bartell praised his command sergeant major, Hershel L. Turner, for spending a "large part of his time going around the college and university campuses and talking with cadets, noncommissioned officer cadre members and school faculty members."
Turner, also in an interview with AUSA NEWS at the seminar, said, "The Year of the NCO explains to the cadets how important it is to know that the NCO is the backbone of the Army – they get the cadets where they need to be as lieutenants at their first duty station." (See Page 17.)
According to the Army, the ROTC program "enables a traditional American college experience" while training the cadet "to lead in the Army and in society," while attending a broad spectrum of educational institutions, across the length and breadth of the nation.
"The college campus," Bartell said, "is ‘the face of America,’ and, by and large, the atmosphere [toward the military and, in particular, the Army] is great."
Bartell recalled that when he was a student at the University of Michigan and a ROTC cadet in the early 1970s in the wake of the Vietnam War, "I wasn’t allowed to wear my uniform on campus when I was a freshman. Fortunately, there is nothing like that now."
He attributes this attitudinal change as a "reflection of the nation."
He said, "Whether or not people agree with the war, they are not taking it out on the military, and this is reflected across the nation. We get great support, by and large, across our campuses."
Having the ROTC program on college and university campuses exposes the soon-to-be Army leader to a variety of opinions, attitudes, beliefs and points of view that the cadet would not receive in a more cloistered environment.
It also benefits the school because it gives the campus student leaders and athletes, scholarships, role models, and a well-trained, well-educated military science faculty.
"Our bumper sticker is: ‘Exposure to the Culture of Ideas,’ so the cadets are comfortable with society in general," Bartell said.
Adding, "We talk about diversity a lot – ethnic diversity, gender diversity – and ROTC provides diversity on a lot of other levels – geographic diversity and educational diversity.
"It’s truly the reflection of the fabric and face of America, and this really helps our cadets grow into competent, well-rounded lieutenants and professional leaders."
As America sleeps
"I can tell you, even after just five months on the job," Bartell said, "I couldn’t be more proud of the product that is coming out of this great command."
Adding, "The American people can sleep soundly at night knowing that their sons and daughters who are coming into the Army are going to be led by the best and the brightest.
"The cohort of leaders that we are producing from our colleges and universities are the best in our history for what we believe is the best Army in the world."
At the Marshall seminar closing ceremony, held in the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University, Bartell reminded the award-winning cadets of the inscription over the Jackson Arch leading to the barracks at VMI.
The inscription’s words, from Maj. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson who taught at the institute, are, Bartell said, "eight of the most powerful words ever written by a leader: ‘You may be whatever you resolve to be.’"
In the days to come, "as you prepare to pin on the gold bar [of a second lieutenant in America’s Army] and begin your service as an officer, I urge you to keep these words in the forefront."
Reminding the cadets that they will soon be standing in front of their first platoon, those soldiers – who volunteered to serve – are looking "to you for guidance and strength."
Adding, "Lead from the front and … be willing to embrace responsibility … as you are entrusted with the lives of soldiers – the most precious resource of this mighty nation."