Army withdraws plan to close ROTC program at ASU


LITTLE ROCK — The Army has withdrawn its proposal to close the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Arkansas State University, members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

The Army now plans to keep the program open for another year while it re-evaluates its program criteria, Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John Boozman, R-Ark., and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said in a joint news release.

The Army announced in October that it planned to close the ROTC program at ASU at the end of the 2014-15 school year. After Pryor, Boozman and Crawford failed to get what they considered a sufficient response to questions about how the program was chosen for closure, Pryor on Friday put a hold on a nomination for an undersecretary position at the Department of Defense.

“Thanks to numerous phone calls, community support, and an administration hold, we were able to keep A-State ROTC’s doors open for another year,” Pryor said in the release. “Now, we have the opportunity to prove our case and show the Army why this program is invaluable to our state and nation.”

Boozman said the decision to continue the Arkansas State ROTC program “offers an opportunity to demonstrate its value and meet the criteria established by the Army. I am confident that once we understand the evaluation methodology, Arkansas State will be able to excel and surpass the Army’s requirements.”

Crawford said the Army’s initial action was conducted without proper input from local leaders, lacking opportunity for congressional oversight and without a clear rationale for closing the program.

“Arkansas has spoken loud and clear that this program is an important part of our community,” the congressman said.

ASU Chancellor Tim Hudson said he was grateful to Pryor, Boozman and Crawford for fighting to save the program.

“A-State will continue to work with Col. (Cecil) Clark and his staff to provide scholarship and military service opportunities to our students,” Hudson said.