Members of Arkansas' congressional delegation say the U.S. Army is withdrawing, for now, its proposal to eliminate Arkansas State University's ROTC program.
U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman made the announcement Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, whose district includes ASU.
The lawmakers said the Army will keep the program open for an additional year while it re-evaluates its program criteria.
The Army announced last month that it was ending ASU's ROTC program.
Wednesday's announcement came less than a week after Pryor announced he would hold up a Department of Defense nominee until ASU received answers about the decision to close the ROTC program.
The three lawmakers praised the Army's decision and said they hoped the 77-year-old program would be kept after its re-evaluation.
In a statement, Sen. Pryor said:
Thanks to numerous phone calls, community support, and an Administration hold, we were able to keep A-State ROTC’s doors open for another year. Now, we have the opportunity to prove our case and show the Army why this program is invaluable to our state and nation. This was definitely a team effort, and I want to thank Senator Boozman and Congressman Crawford for working with me to help maintain this critical program.
Senator Boozman said:
The decision to continue the Arkansas State ROTC program offers an opportunity to demonstrate its value and meet the criteria established by the Army. I am confident that once we understand the evaluation methodology, Arkansas State will be able to excel and surpass the Army’s requirements. I appreciate Secretary McHugh’s swift attention to this issue as the delegation works to protect this vital program.
Rep. Crawford said:
I am extremely pleased to receive word from the Secretary of the Army that he has delayed the Army’s decision to shutter Arkansas State’s historic and successful ROTC program. This initial action was conducted without proper input from local leaders, lacking opportunity for congressional oversight, and most importantly without a clear rationale explaining the program’s announced closure. Arkansas has spoken loud and clear that this program is an important part of our community, and I am proud to have worked with our two Arkansas Senators to reach this result. As an Army veteran and A-State alumni, I thank the Secretary for making the right decision and look forward to working with him in the future to preserve this valuable program for generations of A-State students.