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." Additional objectives are established by the service departments of the Department of Defense. Under 542.4 of Title 32 (National Defense) of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Department of the Army has declared those objectives for each cadet to be:
- Developing good citizenship and patriotism
- Developing self-reliance, leadership, and responsiveness to constituted 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 2 to 4 years of the course allows the cadets to instantly rank higher if they pursue a military career.