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ROTC command merges at MIT, BU

By George Ipe

In a move to streamline its organizational structure, the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at MIT and Boston University recently merged some of their administrative duties, Executive Officer David C. Finch of the BU NROTC said.

Finch, however, stressed that the battalion billeted at MIT would remain operationally distinct from the BU battalion. The merger is largely limited to a "consolidation of position," especially in command structure.

For example, both the MIT and BU battalions are headed by one commanding officer and eventually will also share an executive officer.

The administrative merger is scheduled to be completed by September of next year, Finch said, and will probably include the combining of posts such as storekeeper and quartermaster from both corps. Instructors for both battalions will stay separate.

The regrouping of the staff of the two units came in response to spending cutbacks mandated by the the Department of Defense. Consequently, the Navy is reducing the number of scholarships offered to would-be student cadets nationwide.

Wellesley ROTC cancelled;

MIT likely to avoid same fate

According to some MIT sources, Navy cut-backs have, for instance, caused the cancellation of the NROTC program at Wellesley College this year. Although the two current Wellesley students will continue their military training there, they will be the last NROTC cadets from their school. MIT is unlikely to suffer a similar fate, Finch said.

Finch rationalized that the scale back in scholarships would create a more competitive pool of cadets with higher average Scholastic Aptitude Test scores than those of previous years. "A prestigious school like MIT will probably experience no large-scale cutback in its [NROTC] complement," he said.

The NROTC is perhaps more prone to scale-backs than Army ROTC, Finch said. As a rule, the Navy guarantees full tuition and a commission to every cadet who completes NROTC, whereas the Army does not always award full tuition and only commissions 55 percent of its ROTC recruits.

The Army can control spending to some extent by decreasing tuition awards, but the Navy must scale back in other areas, like administration, to maintain its level of service and the quality of its ROTC.