Dec 17 2001


WASHINGTON, DC --- U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby’s (R-AL) legislation that would enhance the military's ability to recruit and retain qualified junior officers has been included in the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2002 Conference Report.

Senator Shelby's "Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Eligibility Reform Act of 2001" reforms the college level Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) by expanding eligibility for those programs. The bill contains two primary provisions that will alter the way in which ROTC determines eligibility.

First, it will allow active duty enlisted personnel who have been selected for an officer commissioning program to participate in ROTC training. Currently, these enlisted personnel do not begin their formal officer training until after earning their degree when they attend their respective service's officer candidate school. This legislation would permit these personnel to complete their officer training at the ROTC unit which serves the college or university they are attending, which would decrease the time and cost associated with training.

Second, Senator Shelby's legislation would increase the maximum age for participation in ROTC scholarship programs. This provision will expand the ROTC program and allow services to use scholarship money to cover the entire training for cadets or midshipman completing their degrees by the age of 31.

"Our junior officer ranks are depleted and there is an immediate need to rebuild the morale and readiness of our armed forces," said Shelby. "The ROTC scholarship program has been the backbone of our military's ability to train and commission high quality junior officers. My legislation expands this established program to regular active duty personnel and an older and more seasoned citizenry."

"This legislation will help our military to commission more junior officers-especially those with valuable prior enlisted service," added Shelby.

The legislation was included in the Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2002. Senator Shelby is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is also a member of the Defense Appropriations Conference Committee.