What can history teach us? a comparative historical analysis on the Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Department of Homeland Security
Banker, Thomas A.
Kleykamp, Meredith A.
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This thesis examines an institution that has been educating, providing leadership training and commissioning the vast majority of U.S. military officers for nearly 100 years, the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). This program was formed and shaped over nearly a century through conflict, military necessity, and political maneuvering. Through the incorporation of a historical comparative lens, this program’s mechanistic and temporal conditions are captured to provide lessons learned for other entities searching for an educational identity. One such organization that is struggling to establish a preparatory program and identity is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). When looking at the two case studies side by side, it is easy to see that they do indeed share commonalities in organizational structure, need, and mission. The findings from this thesis offer evidence that the DHS is growing in educational parallel to ROTC, while suffering from many of the same growing pains the Department of Defense did while trying to establish its educational roots. This thesis tracks conditions that shaped the ROTC we know today, while simultaneously highlighting the deficiencies the DHS is facing. It also lays the path for future work that could call for a similar analog as the ROTC for the DHS.
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