The Military Science program at Omaha Central High School predates the JROTC program. It began in the 1892-1893 school year. It became the most popular activity at the school. At one point, all male students were required to participate.
The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. The focus of JROTC was on secondary schools. Under the provisions of the 1916 act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active or retired military personnel as instructors on the condition that they followed a prescribed course of training and maintained a minimum enrollment of 100 students over 14 years of age.
The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) is a Federal program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces in high schools across the United States. The program was originally created as part of the National Defense Act of 1916 and later expanded under the 1964 ROTC Vitalization Act.
According to Title 10, Section 2031 of the United States Code, the purpose of JROTC is "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."
Section 524.5 of the CFR National Defense title states in part that JROTC should "provide meaningful leadership instruction of benefit to the student and of value to the Armed Forces. ... Students will acquire: (1) An understanding of the fundamental concept of leadership, military art and science, (2) An introduction to related professional knowledge, and (3) An appreciation of requirements for national security. The dual roles of citizen/soldier and soldier/citizen are studied. ... These programs will enable cadets to better serve their country as leaders, as citizens, and in military service should they enter it. ... The JROTC and NDCC are not, of themselves, officer-producing programs but should create favorable attitudes and impressions toward the Services and toward careers in the Armed Forces."