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ROTC Cadets’ Training Affected by Government Shutdown

University of Tampa ROTC cadets prepare to perform troop leading procedures in a lab. | University of Tampa ROTC Facebook

As the U.S. entered the second week of the government shut down, a solid solution still hasn’t been found. As time goes on, there are more and more people, including students, being affected. At UT, the shutdown has started to take a toll on R.O.T.C. [Reserve Officer Training Corps] program.

The government shut down on Oct. 1 for the first time in nearly two decades when the House of Representatives and the Senate couldn’t come to a consensus on the government budget.

This shutdown caused several landmarks, monuments and museums along with the nation’s 400 national parks to be shut down. I.R.S tax refunds have also been suspended, and new home loans from the federal government housing administration have stopped processing. Almost all of NASA has been shut down, and the E.P.A has also lost about 94 percent of their workforce according to The New York Times, The Washington Post and several other news outlets.

“The Government shutdown has had some minor effects on our program,” said Kevin Kelly, professor of military science. “Luckily it does not impact our academic process at all. All classes are being conducted as usual with no impact to the Cadets or students. We have had to cancel one field Training Exercise due to no funds authorized.”

Some students were upset because this was the first time a training exercise had been cancelled in years.

“As a member of the ROTC for three years, we have never canceled any training until this past week,” said senior and sports management major Russell Wagner. “We have spent the last six weeks training vigorously for our field training exercise but due to the government shutdown, we were unable to come up with the necessary funds that the training required.”

Two R.O.T.C employees, the supply technician and the human resources liaison, haven’t been able to work. The rest of the R.O.T.C program is made up of army active duty soldiers.

“Our civilian employees who deal with our equipment supply and human resources haven’t been able to work since the government shutdown,” Wagner said. “Some cadets’ pay will be pushed back now until our civilian employees can return to the office.”

Some students, though not in R.O.T.C, had very strong opinions on the government shutdown and were less than impressed with the way the government has handled this situation.

“When I heard about the government shutdown, I was disappointed that the people we elect to be our leaders could not come to a mutual agreement. I think it makes our government look weak. That’s just my take on it,” said Tyler Barrett, UT sophomore and Government and World Affairs major.

While the R.O.T.C. program has faced minor struggles, so have members concerned with graduation. Some seniors are scared of how this will affect them after graduation if the shutdown continues.

“If we were in a government shutdown after I graduate and commission in the U.S. army, it would definitely affect my development as a leader,” Wagner said. “Funds would be scarce and getting the proper training that a second lieutenant needs could possibly be hindered.”

According to Kelly, R.O.T.C has gotten word that the two civilian employees who were furloughed this past week have officially been called back to work.

“As of now there should be little impact except our ability to train,” Kelly said. “Once the government is back up and running we will be able to reschedule these events and get our cadets back on track.”

Khadijah Khan can be reached at khadijah.khan@spartans.ut.edu

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