Cadets swearing the Oath of Commissioned Officers
Rounding out his day-and-a-half stay in Aggieland, the 10-year Army veteran said he was impressed not just with the “high quality of cadets” and “great crop of officers” produced each year at A&M, but also the Corps of Cadets’ facilities and a major nearby campus associated with the university.
He toured the RELLIS Campus, which is run by the Texas A&M System and includes research and technology facilities, as well as testing sites and classrooms.
RELLIS and A&M researchers will have a role in helping the Army Futures Command center, which Esper announced last year as being the Army’s “most significant reorganization effort since 1973.” Based in Austin, the center also is working with The University of Texas System and its flagship, as well as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Army Futures Command is expected to modernize the armed forces through collaborating with academia, innovators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to solve complex problems and create technological advances.
“I’m investing a lot of time and effort into making sure we assess, educate, train, graduate and commission the best our nation has to offer,” Esper said, adding that one of the cadets on the stage next to him very well could — in the next 30 or so years — become a Chief of Staff of the Army, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or a combatant commander.
“We have to take great care with who we bring into the service, and make sure we train, educate and cultivate all along the way,” Esper said, adding that good leaders build trust and confidence from the start. “We’re getting great quality folks from Texas A&M.”
The ROTC is a program offered at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the United States. Texas A&M has more ROTC members than any other university outside the U.S. military academies, and it is one of a handful of senior military colleges.
“I’ll leave here in a few hours with a great feeling, and good experiences,” said Esper, commenting to the media following the ceremony.