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Geographic and Demographic Representativeness of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps


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The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) is the largest youth training and development program in the United States, with more than 500,000 participating students. All five service branches maintain JROTC programs, which are operated through cooperative agreements between the services and high schools. The program includes classes covering such topics as leadership, civics, U.S. history, geography and global awareness, health and wellness, and life skills. The program also includes extracurricular activities, such as drill teams, color guards, orienteering, cybersecurity teams, and rifle teams. Recently, there has been congressional interest in the representativeness of JROTC units. This report responds to these interests and motivations by exploring the representativeness of JROTC units in terms of geographic area (with a special focus on rural areas) and demographics (including race, ethnicity, and income) at the school level. This report also explores the laws and policies that affect the expansion of JROTC and the potential for the similar (but not federally funded) National Defense Cadet Corps to expand participation opportunities within current resource constraints. This report also offers suggestions for policies and practices that may promote or improve representativeness. Although this report grew out of congressional interest in the representativeness of JROTC units, the findings and policy recommendations pertain to a wide audience, including JROTC service headquarters, JROTC regional directors, JROTC instructors, high school and school district administrators, policymakers, and the interested public.



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