The program has existed in nearly every California high school: public, private, parochial, and military, at some time since 1911. The original purpose of the program was to prepare commissioned officers for service in the United States Armed Forces. Over time, the program's purpose became more comprehensive.
Today, the program's objectives are to develop leadership, citizenship, patriotism, promote academic excellence, encourage personal health and wellness, and teach basic military subjects.
The CACC has trained more than a million young people since its inception.