The United States Army JROTC all started with the passing of the National Defense Act of 1916. Under the provisions of the Act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active duty military personnel as teachers. In 1964, the Vitalization Act opened JROTC up to the other services and replaced most of the active duty teachers with retirees who worked for and were cost shared by the schools.
Title 10 of the U.S. Code declares that “the purpose of JROTC is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.”
The JROTC Program has changed greatly over the years. Once looked upon primarily as a source of enlisted recruits and officer candidates, it became a citizenship program devoted to the moral, physical and educational uplift of American youth. Although the program retained its military structure and the resultant ability to infuse in its student cadets a sense of discipline and order, it shed most of its early military content.