The Army ROTC Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) is the premier leadership program of its kind in the United States. An intense four-week introduction to Army life and leadership training of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the aim of the course is to motivate and qualify Cadets for entry into the Senior ROTC program.
CIET, as it’s known, is designed for college students, typically between their sophomore and junior years. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates can take part in ROTC at their college as a third-year student in the four-year program.
While attending CIET at Fort Knox, Ky., Cadets gain an experience that runs the gamut of Army life and the responsibilities of being an officer. The course instills confidence and decision-making abilities to become a leader, in the Army and in life.
Cadets spend their first few days learning Army basics under the tutelage of drill sergeants. They also take their first Army Physical Fitness Test, which consists of sit-ups, push-ups and a two-mile run.
Shortly after the course begins, Cadets are introduced to working in a small-group team-based dynamic in activities such as an obstacle course to accomplish set goals.
Each Cadet takes on a leadership role among his or her peers while at CIET. Senior officers and newly commissioned second lieutenants coach and mentor Cadets throughout the process, offering daily feedback and recommendations for improvement. As CIET progresses, Cadets’ leadership responsibilities grow as they lead peers through simulated combat scenarios using paintball guns in a field training exercise and on urban-based squad tactics missions.
Personal strength to overcome fears is also part of the confidence-building aspect of training. Fear of heights is confronted on the high-ropes course and at the top of the 31-foot rappel tower. Fear of swimming is tackled during combat water survival training, where Cadets jump blindfolded off a 3-meter high dive while holding a rifle over their heads.
The four weeks of CIET are mentally grueling and physically taxing. But the reward of graduation and meeting ROTC standards is the opportunity to enroll in the world’s greatest leadership program and to receive college tuition assistance.
Graduation from CIET has been the first step in many successful officers’ careers. Graduates have gone on to lead America’s sons and daughters in fighting to preserve American democracy and freedoms or in civilian life in the boardrooms and offices of American business.
Important Note: Slots for CIET are limited. Undergraduate students should start the process during the first semester of sophomore year to ensure that they are eligible to earn a slot in the summer before they start their final four semesters in college. Graduate students should start the process at least 6 months before the summer ahead of their final four full-time semesters in college.