Strategic Planning Tools for the Army Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program

by Nelson Lim, Bruce R. Orvis, Abigail Haddad, Christopher E. Maerzluft, Kenneth Kuhn, Henu Zhao, Sung-Bou Kim

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Research Questions

  1. Can planning tools using easily understood objectives, a transparent methodology, and easily-inspected code help the Army meet its near-term Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) officer commissioning goals?
  2. Can the tools help the Army ROTC meet longer-term strategic objectives involving issues such as production, academic quality, diversity, efficiency, cost, and quality of commissions?
  3. Can the tools help the Army evaluate current ROTC hosts and affiliates and choose new ones to meet its near-term production goals and longer-term strategic objectives?
  4. Can the planning tools help the Army ROTC to develop mitigation strategies that improve efficiency yet minimize adverse impact on strategic goals?

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program currently accounts for about two-thirds of Regular Army officer production. As student populations shift and resources tighten, both the productivity and location of ROTC units must be monitored to ensure that the Army attracts and commissions highly-qualified officers.

This report presents research on the development and application of two new strategic planning tools. Using the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program Evaluation Tool (ROTC-PET), planners can evaluate existing ROTC programs by simulating scenarios that include up to six strategic objectives and their relative priorities, as well as the degree to which current programs can expand the number of commissions. To help guide selection of new hosts or new participants in existing programs, the ROTC Selection Evaluation Tool (ROTC-SET) allows planners to evaluate the production potential of schools not currently hosting or those not participating in ROTC programs. The ROTC-SET also gives users the ability to specify a variety of possible objectives and constraints. The authors recommend that the Army use these new strategic planning tools to help meet near-term officer production goals and longer-term strategic objectives for its ROTC program.

Key Findings

Two Strategic Planning Tools Can Help the Army Meet its Reserve Officers' Training Corps Strategic Objectives

  • Using the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Program Evaluation Tool, planners can simulate scenarios in order to evaluate existing ROTC programs on six strategic objectives: production, academic quality, demographic diversity, efficiency, cost, and quality of commissioned officers. Planners can prioritize objectives and apply filters as well.
  • The ROTC Selection Evaluation Tool also gives planners the ability to specify a variety of possible objectives and constraints in order to select new schools for participation in ROTC or to expand existing sites with cadets. The possible objectives to be optimized are related to potential production, demographic diversity, academic quality, and efficiency. Planners can apply filters as well.
  • The new tools give planners the ability to assess the implications of alternative strategies for commission mission allocation across sites, increases or decreases in unit size, and expansion sites in order to meet the Army's near-term officer production goals and longer-term strategic objectives for its ROTC program.
  • The tools give planners the ability to develop mitigation strategies that improve efficiency yet minimize adverse impact on strategic goals.

Recommendation

  • The Army should use the new strategic planning tools to evaluate existing ROTC programs and explore new market opportunities; keep up with changes in the college student population; enhance the capability of the ROTC program review process to accomplish U.S. Government Accountability Office — recommended actions; and help meet the near-term officer production goals and longer-term strategic objectives for its ROTC program, the largest commissioning source for officers, including the optimal use of its resources.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program Evaluation Tool (ROTC-PET)

  • Chapter Three

    The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Selection Evaluation Tool (ROTC-SET)

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Methodology of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program Evaluation Tool

  • Appendix B

    Data Used to Construct the Measures in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program Evaluation Tool

  • Appendix C

    Data Used to Construct the Measures in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Selection Evaluation Tool

  • Appendix D

    Methodology to Construct the Measures in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Selection Evaluation Tool

  • Appendix E

    Regression Results for Modeling Variables Used in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Selection Evaluation Tool

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1; and U.S. Army Cadet Command and was conducted by the Personnel, Training, and Health Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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