Mark Pryor Holding Nominee to Get Answers About ASU's ROTC Program

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said Friday that he'll hold a U.S. Department of Defense nominee until "Arkansas State University receives the justification for the Army’s abrupt decision to shutter its Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program."

Pryor's move comes about a month after the U.S. Department of the Army officially informed the university that it would end the 77-year-old Army ROTC program at ASU.

"This action is not a reflection of either the quality of your program or the outstanding Cadets you have produced," Thomas R. Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, wrote in a letter to ASU Chancellor Tim Hudson, according to a news release from ASU in October.

From Pryor's news release:

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor this week said he will hold a U.S. Department of Defense nominee until Arkansas State University receives the justification for the Army’s abrupt decision to shutter its Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program.

“Despite our repeated requests, the Army has yet to provide its justification for closing ASU’s ROTC Program,” Pryor said. “This lack of information is completely unacceptable. I refuse to release this nominee until the Army fulfills its promise and provides a reasonable explanation for its decision. This is a successful program, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep it open.” 

In October, the Army announced that ASU’s ROTC program would be discontinued at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Following the announcement, Senators Pryor and Boozman, along with Representative Crawford demanded justification from U.S. Army officials. Despite the Army’s commitment to turn over data and materials, the delegation has yet to receive any information. This week, Pryor placed a hold on the Army’s nomination of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to ensure ASU receives the answers it deserves.

At the time of the annoucement, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford's office told The Jonesboro Sun that ASU was one of several campuses losing the program for not meeting "viability standards." ASU administrators said they would work with Arkansas' congressional delegation in hopes of reversing the decision.