Commandant and Dean's staffs partner to produce future Soldier systems
May 11, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. (May 11, 2011) -- How does West Point tackle the Army's hardest problems' By getting smart leaders with diverse perspectives to intensely focus and work together on defining the issues.
During the week of May 2, a team of cadets, tactical officers and faculty members from both the Commandant and Dean's areas traveled to Indian Wells, Calif., to lead a workshop sponsored by California State University, San Bernardino.
The workshop, titled "The Future of Information Sharing with and among Soldiers and First Responders: A Focus on Solutions" brought together combat-experienced Soldiers, researchers from academia and the military, Department of Defense project managers, and representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement and the firefighting community.
"This was an intense workshop. In addition to providing a presentation, each of West Point's attendees became discussion leaders as we explored information sharing challenges with Soldiers and first responders," Department of Military Instruction's Maj. Thomas Donatelle said.
The workshop focused on how to blend technologies with organizational purpose. Too often, technologies are brought in to assist the front line leader, but that leader was not part of the developmental process.
In addition to the West Point team, representatives from the active Army from Fort Benning, Ga.; a group from the Kansas National Guard; and representatives from the Asymmetric Warfare Group at Fort Meade, Md., also provided insight to the assemblage.
Why California State University' Universities around the nation often set a theme for their research efforts.
"We are in the third year of this West Point-Cal State relationship. The goal of this joint effort is to develop technologies and policies that provide Soldiers with what they need in the battle space to come home alive." Dr. Clifford Young, Cal State professor of Public Administration, said.
Maj. Jeremy Ussery, a TAC, found himself in a mentoring role outside the formal workshop hours.
"I met 11 graduating California State students with advanced degrees focused on Army issues. I offered them my advice as well as my contact information as they move forward in their research careers," Ussery said. "If half of this intellectual capital continues working on these issues, it is a huge win for my Army and my future platoon leaders."
The collaboration is funded by the Army Research Laboratory. In addition to resourcing the workshop, their funding has supported a number of cadet research trips; a new relationship between Cal State, West Point and the French Military Academy at St. Cyr; a number of West Point faculty projects and even a part-time assistant to make all of the travel arrangements.
The joint academy effort proved to be very valuable to the entire process.
"I am glad that we had both USCC and Dean participation on this project. We brought more value together," Capt. Charles Levine, Department of Mathematical Sciences, said. "I am spending this summer as a platoon mentor at Camp Buckner where I know we will bring lessons on information sharing to the cadet training."