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JROTC History (unofficial)

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NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTER

     Forming a partnership with the National Science Center (NSC) was another initiative undertaken by Cadet Command in 1992 that had the purpose of promoting the education of American youth. The NSC concept itself originated at the U.S. Army Signal Center and School at Fort Gordon, Ga. Its developers aimed at enhancing the quality of science and mathematics education and improving the general understanding of communications and electronic technologies in the secondary school population of the United States.

     The national Science Center initiative was a cooperative arrangement between the NSC Foundation, the private sector and the U.S. Army. A memorandum of understanding signed in 1984 formalized the relationship between the Army and the Foundation. This understanding was amended in 1988 and again in 1991, so that evolving requirements of the project could be more effectively met. The legal basis for the joint venture was Public Law 99-145, which lent official sanction to the U.S. Government’s relationship with the national Science Center.

     In August 1992 the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Gordon Sullivan, expressed his support for the center’s outreach program and directed the National Science Center task force to explore ways to expand it within the fiscal constraints imposed by the base force. Gen. Sullivan approved a pilot program for program expansion in October 1992, and directed the task force to brief the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Senator Sam Nunn, Chairman of the Senate Armed services Committee, on the Army’s plans.

     The program had two principal facets, the Preview Discovery Center (PDC) and the educational outreach programs which supported the goals of the America 2000 program. The Army had operated the PDC since 1989. The Center hosted exhibits and presentations designed to stimulate interest among young people in mathematics, applied science and technology.

     Of more immediate concern to Cadet Command was that facet of the joint educational venture involving educational outreach programs. Those programs managed by the Army were implemented by the National Science Center task force, a committee consisting of two military and 27 civilian members that included the National Electronic Educational Distribution System, a computer data base that electronically distributed electronics training information; the National Program for Electronics Training, which shared information on electronics training with vocational educators through workshops, seminars, and instructional materials; a science-by-mail program, interactive satellite teleconferencing programs; summer and special workshops; and a Mobile Discovery Center van program.

     By virtue of its close ties with the nation’s secondary schools developed through the JROTC program, Cadet command was destined to play a leading role in the NSC project. The command established a formal partnership with the NSC on Aug. 10, 1992. A more extensive use of the Mobile Discovery Center was an initiative the command decided to pursue. Housed in an eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer rig, the Mobile Discovery Center was essentially a miniature version of the Preview Discovery Center at Fort Gordon. Like its parent, it contained exhibits and hosted demonstrations intended to increase public awareness of and interest in science, mathematics and technology. The JROTC program, embedded as it was in school systems across the country, was the primary medium through which this command publicized the Mobile Discovery Center.

     The Army chief of Staff’s pilot program for educational outreach also included several provisions that fell almost exclusively within Cadet Command’s domain. One provision directed the inclusion of mathematics and science workshops into five 1993 JROTC summer camps. These math and science modules are now included in every summer camp training schedule. Another prescribed the inclusion of these workshops into the JROTC curriculum and in the Cadet Command sponsored Career Academies.


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