WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 7, 2014) -- From tactical radio projects to working on a budget analysis tool, Lt. Col. Luis Solano said he is excited about the range of assignments he has as the Army's first officer in a fellowship with the non-profit MITRE Corporation.

Solano, an engineer with two master's degrees, began working in the Virginia office of MITRE in July. MITRE, which was charted by Congress and does extensive work with the military, operates research and development centers sponsored by the federal government. MITRE is not an acronym; it is the name of the corporation.

The year-long program, Solano said, is a win-win for both the Army and MITRE.

As an officer with the Force Management Functional Area, known simply as FA50, Solano is an expert at providing solutions as an executive manager for change in critical aspects of the force management process.

The objective of the fellowship is to demonstrate the work of FA50s to MITRE and bring back to the Army a new perspective on analyzing problems, decision making, and finding solutions, he said.

Just like the Army, said Solano, MITRE provides training and seeks to develop its people.

"I've taken advantage of a few things that I think I can transfer and use when I come back to the Army," he said. "One thing a FA50 needs is a lot of education."

His favorite project so far, he said, is working on the Future Narrow Band tactical radio standard that is under development.

"It's a game changer, I think. I'm glad to be a part of it," said Solano, in an interview at the Pentagon.

MITRE has placed him in an important role as a liaison in the project, he said. The responsibilities include bringing government and industry together for consensus and demonstrating what they can gain from the system and how they can help the Soldier.

"It's just been a fabulous experience," he said.

In addition to collaborating with civilians at MITRE, another important aspect of his assignment, he said, is working with members of other military branches. That environment, he said, broadens his insight on how things are done outside the Army.

The FA50 chief for personnel development, Lt. Col. Stephon Brannon, said Solano was an exceptional candidate and his application demonstrated exactly what the Army was looking for in its inaugural MITRE fellow.

"Lt. Col. Solano became the best fit where we can provide a seasoned and experienced FA50 to go into that organization, someone who already has ties within the military to learn from and to demonstrate to them what an FA50 does," said Brannon. "This is only one of many broadening opportunities FA50 offers officers."

The fellowship is about giving the Army and MITRE perspective into each other and how each organization provides expertise to solve problems, he said.

"FA50s are about change. We're the architect of change," Brannon said. "Looking at the background of what MITRE does, that goes hand-in-hand in what we do as FA50s."

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Page last updated Fri February 7th, 2014 at 00:00