The purpose is "to instill in students in secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment."
Department of the Army has declared those objectives for each cadet to be:
- Developing citizenship and patriotism
- Developing self-reliance and responsiveness to all authority.
- Improving the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing.
- Developing an appreciation of the importance of physical fitness.
- Increasing a respect for the role of the U.S. Armed Forces in support of national objectives.
- Developing a knowledge of team building skills and basic military skills.
- Taking 3–4 years of the course grants cadets the ability to rank higher if they pursue a military career