National Defense Cadet Corps Program

The National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) is similar to the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) except that it is fully funded by schools that choose to pursue a JROTC unit without financial assistance from the Department of Defense.

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OVERVIEW: National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) program is the initial designation for a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program. The program is built upon the Army’s “7 Values” of “Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Personal Courage and most importantly Integrity”. The program is designed to “… prepares Cadets for leadership roles, giving practical lessons that help them develop into active and engaged learners and leaders, promotes academic achievement, leadership development, and provides Cadets with skills that will expand opportunities to gain the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. The Leadership Education & Training (LET) progressive program’s curriculum is based on the principles of performance-based, learner-centered education and, promotes the development of core abilities in teaching cadets critical thinking techniques through a series of equitable and challenging academic authentic lesson content. It gives cadets learning experiences in physical fitness, health, wellness, first-aid, team building, financial planning, geography, American history, government, communications and develops their emotional intelligence in having “… the ability to recognize different emotions, label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

Cadets will be taught to be positive, accountable, and responsible for their actions and choices and, show respectful treatment for others. Every classroom will be equipped with leading-edge technologies to teach, assess, and report student progress. Teacher(s) are trained to utilize a range of technologies and academic content to engage students in purposeful simulations. 

1st year LET I NDCC (JROTC)
Prerequisite:  NONE  (Traditionally for a 9th Grader or 1st-year cadets)

All initial year students will focus on the foundations, fundamentals, and skills of Army leadership, knowing yourself- Socrates, “Be-Know-Do”, learning to learn, communication skills and, conflict resolution. The course teaches the 7 Army Values to gain knowledge and experiences in team building, self-respect, community service, honor, loyalty, thinking concepts, American government, military history, and geography. Cadets are graded using the  Army’s “5 Quality Indicators” categories of: “Attendance, Graduation, Discipline, Drop-out rate, and GPA. Cadets receive knowledge base tests on the Cadet Creed, Army Values, the Constitution, the Preamble, demonstrate knowledge, maintain good attendance and discipline to earn a promotion to a cadet rank based on either current or prior year JROTC leadership performance, sustain at least an overall GPA of 2.0 or above and, must also participate in at least one “Extra-Curricular Activity: (e.g. Open House, Community & Service-Learning projects and, attend the military Ball to advance to LET II.

2nd year LET II NDCC (JROTC)
Prerequisite: Successfully completed NDCC (JROTC) LET I (Typically for 2nd year/10th graders)

The LET II course is split into units including Techniques of Communication, Leadership, Cadet Challenge, Leadership Lab, First Aid, Map Reading, History, Your American Citizenship, Career Opportunities, and Role of the U.S. Army. The course focuses on demonstrating proficiency in leading and directing others in exhibiting their ability to follow drill commands with proficiency in all classroom, formal ceremonies, and other activities appropriate for 2nd-year cadets.  Cadets must demonstrate knowledge, maintain good attendance and discipline, properly wear the uniform to earn a promotion to Non-Commission Officer (NCO) or higher which is also dependent upon either current or prior year JROTC leadership performance.  Cadets must sustain at least an overall GPA of 2.5 or above and, participate in the same degree of “Extra-Curricular Activities as a LET I in order to advance to LET III.

3rd  year NDCC (JROTC)
Prerequisite: Successfully completed NDCC (JROTC) LET II (Typically for 3rd year/11thgraders)

LET III course is designed to provide more advanced leadership situations in which students will perform as teachers, leaders, trainers, and mentors within the cadet unit. Cadets will engage in more independent studies and projects (e.g. Robotics, Technology, Cyber Awareness, and Communications) first aid, history, map reading, and career awareness opportunities.  The course provides a higher degree of instruction and experiences preparing cadets for further study at the college/university level or entrance into the military profession. Cadets must demonstrate knowledge, maintain good attendance and discipline, properly wear the uniform to earn a promotion to Non-Commission Officer (NCO) or higher which is also dependent upon either current or prior year JROTC leadership performance.  Cadets must sustain at least an overall GPA of 2.75 or above and, participate in the same degree of “Extra-Curricular Activities to advance to LET IV.  (If a cadet doesn’t advance to LET IV, joins the Army after graduating, may receive a higher rank during basic training.)

4th year LET IV NDCC (JROTC)
Prerequisite: Successfully completed NDCC (JROTC) LET III (Typically for 4th year/12th graders)

The senior course is optional and is designed for cadets who hope of earning a 3 or 4-year ROTC scholarship up to $50,000 in valued to a public or private college/university that offers the senior ROTC program and/or, seek to qualify for an appointment to the US Military Academy West Point, Naval Academy Annapolis, or Air Force Academy Colorado Springs, resulting in either case earning a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. To qualify for a scholarship, Senior cadets must sustain at least a GPA of 3.0 or above. All senior cadets must perform duties as commanders, staff officers, act as assistant instructors in some subject-areas, be responsible for daily cadet administration, plan special events, projects, serve as leaders for several Leadership camps, demonstrate proficiency in leadership knowledge and skills, maintain good attendance and discipline, properly wear the uniform to earn a promotion higher rank and leadership which is also impacted by either current or prior year JROTC leadership performance and, participate in the same degree of “Extra-Curricular Activities. (If a cadet chooses to go directly into the military, a cadet is also eligible for a higher rank in basic training.)


JROTC units are designed "to expand students’ opportunities to gain the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment."

Like JROTC, the Army NDCC was founded following the National Defense Act of 1916. The National Defense Act of 1916 authorized Senior ROTC for colleges and Junior ROTC for high schools. The Army was to supply uniforms, equipment, and instructors (active-duty members for colleges and active or retired members for high schools). At the time, JROTC graduates would earn certificates making them eligible for a reserve commission at the age of 21.

The National Defense Cadet Corps came into being as a rival to JROTC. Unlike JROTC, which is funded by the federal government, the individual schools pay most of the costs for the NDCC. Following World War II, when peacetime funding became tight, JROTC suffered from a lack of support. In 1963, the Secretary of Defense cut JROTC funds and converted some units to the cheaper NDCC. Lawmakers, however, rose to defend JROTC, and Congress passed the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964. NDCC units then declined.

Until recently, Federal law authorized the Secretary of the Army to "issue arms, tentage, and equipment that he considers necessary for proper military training, to any educational institution at which no unit of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps is maintained, but which has a course in military training prescribed by the Secretary and which has at least 100 physically fit students over 14 years of age." Other laws gave the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Air Force similar authorization, but with different standards. As of 2012, the previous laws were rescinded and the requirements for all NDCC branches (Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force) became standardized.

Army Junior ROTC Program Overview

The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is one of the largest character development and citizenship programs for youth in the world. The National Defense Act of 1916 established organized JROTC programs at public and private educational institutions. In 1964, Congress expanded the program to all military services and changed from active duty to shared support from the services and schools. As congressionally mandated by Title 10 United States Code, Section 2031, each military service must have a JROTC program to "instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment." JROTC’s mission, "To Motivate Young People to be Better Citizens", is the guidepost for the program’s success.

The JROTC Curriculum

Since 2005, the U.S. Army JROTC program has been accredited as a Special Purpose Program by the national accrediting agency known as AdvancED ( JROTC curriculum provides equitable and challenging academic content and authentic learning experiences for all Cadets. All lessons are designed using a four-part model to motivate the Cadet, allow the Cadet to learn new information, practice competency, and apply the competency to a real-life situation. Moreover, the four-part model requires Cadets to collaborate, reflect, develop critical thinking skills, and integrate content with other disciplines. JROTC curriculum includes lessons in leadership, health and wellness, physical fitness, first-aid, geography, American history and government, communications, and emotional intelligence.

The curriculum is rigorous and relevant to a 21st-century education. In fact, many high schools grant core credits for some of the subjects taught in JROTC. Our curriculum meets the standards of Common Core State Standards and in many states, it aligns with Career and Technical Education clusters. Cadets learn and apply the curriculum using technology in the classroom.

Instructors use technology in the classroom as an instructional strategy to engage Cadets in their learning. Examples of instructors using technology can be observed at the schools when they use our learning management tool, the Curriculum Manager (CM) which houses the instructors’ lesson plans, classroom management strategies and techniques, references, and a myriad of other teacher help aids. Our partnership with Turning Technologies enables Cadets to engage in JROTC lessons using an interactive student response system (clickers) and a mobile interactive whiteboard (MOBI). Cadets use these technologies to complete summative and formative assessments, present presentations and play educational games to promote learning. Outside the classroom, Cadets can extend their use of technology. When Instructors register their Cadets with the Conover Company using Conover Online, Cadets are able to assess their emotional intelligence and complete skill enhancement lessons using any mobile device. Cadets must participate in co-curricular activities to reinforce what is learned in the classroom.

JROTC Co-Curricular Activities

Cadets participate in a myriad of co-curricular activities to demonstrate their attainment of lesson outcomes. Some of these activities include precision and exhibition military drill competitions, air rifle competitions (optional), Raider Challenge competitions, JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Camp, and a physical fitness competition known as JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC). Cadets who complete 4 years of JROTC co-curricular activities and its challenging curriculum will be more college and/or career ready.

College Opportunities

With assistance from an organization working independently of JROTC, the College Options Foundation can help Cadets locate colleges offering credits for completing JROTC. Additionally, Army ROTC (not JROTC) offers college scholarships to Cadets who qualify for their scholarship program. For more information, visit or

National Impact

Arguably, JROTC is one of the most successful and significantly impactful youth-oriented programs in American history. As educators and others measure success, we have identified five Quality Indicators used to measure the effectiveness of the program in high schools. These five Quality Indicators are attendance, graduation, discipline, drop-out rate, and GPA. JROTC exceeds schools’ averages in each of these categories.