ROTC Cadets Learn About Leadership in DC

Duke, NCCU cadets learn how various legislative, executive and bureaucratic structures impact military operations

WASHINGTON -- With so much to see in Washington, D.C., a great amount of planning goes into a successful trip. Fortunately, detailed planning is nothing new for ROTC cadets.

Every year since 2014, junior and senior cadets from Duke University and North Carolina Central (NCCU), part of the Blue Devil Eagle Battalion (BDEB), travel to Washington, D.C., for their annual “How Washington Works” trip.

The purpose of the two-day visit is to learn about past and present government leadership so cadets understand how various legislative, executive and bureaucratic structures impact military operations and their future role as military officers.

This program runs on a two-year concept with even years focused on operations and odd years, such as this year, focused on leadership. The group of 20 for this year’s trip on Nov. 14-15 was made up of three staff members and eight cadets from Duke and nine cadets from NCCU. Schwarzman Scholar and Master Sgt. cadet Amy Kramer, a senior, served as the cadet-in-charge for this trip and coordinated the planning, including taking advance site visits to various locations.

“To achieve this year’s leadership focus, the group met with several principals and staff in the Pentagon and White House, while also studying past historical leaders through visits to the National Archives, Ford’s Theater and Mount Vernon,” Kramer said about the planning process.

Thanks to National Archivist David Ferriero, former head of Duke University Libraries, the Blue Devil Eagle Battalion cadets received a VIP tour of the National Archives from Special Assistant to the National Archivist Sam Anthony. Cadets also experienced Pentagon briefings and a White House meeting in the Old Executive Office Building. Other highlights included dinner at the Duke in DC office with alumni, an evening monument tour around the Mall with student-led presentations at each site and a tour of Mount Vernon.

“The alumni dinner at the Duke in DC Office enabled cadets to learn from alumni who are beginning to forge their own leadership paths in the defense, national security and foreign policy fields,” Kramer said. “Too often cadets enter the military without an appreciation nor firm understanding of how they fit into the greater defense establishment as young 2nd lieutenants. This trip facilitates that learning and appreciation.”