Participants can join Junior ROTC as part of the Air Force, US Army or Marine Corps. The program is run as part of high schools and some middle schools. The mission is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. Cadets are never under any obligation to join the military. Junior ROTC is a citizenship training program that is designed to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship, promote community service, instill personal responsibility, character, and self-discipline.
In the Air Force Junior ROTC, for example, the program achieves this through classroom education in air and space fundamentals and hands on learning opportunities in a number of fun and challenging extra-curricular activities. Curriculum is comprised of Aerospace Science (40%), Leadership Education (40%) and Health and Wellness studies (20%). Aerospace Science includes the heritage of flight, principles of aircraft flight and navigation, human requirements of flight, development of aerospace power, aerospace vehicles, rocketry, space and technology programs, aerospace industry, cultural studies of major world regions and cyber technology. It is also supported by NASA and the Civil Air Patrol. Students who successfully complete the classes are granted credit toward graduation.
JROTC includes academic activities such as STEM curriculum and an Academic Bowl to help students better understand, improve critical thinking skills, and prepare cadets to be more competitive in the 21st Century. Leadership Education introduces students to military customs and courtesies, character education, citizenship in the United States, first aid, wellness, health and fitness, basic drill and ceremonies, critical thinking, effective communications, management, human relations, and college and career readiness. It also prepares students for life after high school. In addition, taking 3-4 years of JROTC allows cadets to rank higher if they join a military career.
There are more than 121,000 high school cadets in the programme. Students can rise through the ranks, and attend competitive programmes such as the CSAF summer aviation programme.
Equipment and associated costs can be expensive (boots, uniforms, field trips, extra training, transportation, food)
The activities build all required skills
Community service is a major part of the cadet experience and helps instill a sense of civic pride and citizenship. Projects range from working with national organizations like the March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy, the National Red Ribbon Campaign, and Special Olympics, to participating in local community projects such as cleaning and refurbishing cemeteries and building parks. Cadets also participate in events and programmes outside the classroom.
Students must be enrolled at a high school with a JROTC unit