By Dan Lafontaine, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering CommandSeptember 17, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 25, 2013) -- An exchange program participant has expanded the relationships between the U.S. and Chilean scientists and engineers.
Jasmine Serlemitsos, a U.S. Army environmental engineer, said her goal was to strengthen the countries' connections in science and technology. At the Chilean Army's Institute of Research and Control, or IDIC, she worked in surveillance for the safe storage of ammunition.
"I focused my goals primarily on building relations between the people in the U.S. who did work in the ammunition side and learning how to do international agreements. [The Chileans] seemed very receptive to that," said Serlemitsos, who served in Chile from September 2012 to July 2013 as part of the Army's Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program.
"In Chile, it's a lot about relationships," she said.
Serlemitsos linked the IDIC's Energetic Materials Laboratory, to which she was assigned, with its U.S. counterparts at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's armaments RD&E center, or ARDEC.
After two video teleconferences between the countries in which the Chileans described their research areas in ammunition surveillance, Serlemitsos helped facilitate their visit to ARDEC in July as part of a tour of U.S. Army facilities. She said there are many opportunities to work together.
"We had a really great visit at ARDEC. It's promising that collaboration in this field between the two technical communities will continue," she said.
The Chilean delegation included IDIC Director Col. Hernan Araya and Lt. Col. Enrique Quiñones, head of the chemical engineering department and a former Chilean exchange participant. They visited the Army Test and Evaluation Command and two additional RDECOM organizations -- Army Research Laboratory and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center -- to discuss areas in which the two armies can exchange personnel through ESEP or other long-term assignments.
This year's trip expanded on an earlier agreement between the countries.
In September 2012, Chilean Brig. Gen. Ricardo Martinez Menanteau and RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond signed a statement of intent to work together in areas such as unmanned aerial systems; vehicle performance; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; extreme environments technology; and modeling and simulation. The agreement is not legally binding but allows for proposals for science and technology cooperation under the 2012 U.S.-Chile Defense Consultative Commission.
In addition to Serlemitsos' assignment at IDIC, she also worked at the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission on national response plans following a radiation terrorism attack.
Working on a radiation response plan gave her a new perspective in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear S&T community. In the United States, she has worked for five years at RDECOM's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, where she supports the Joint Program Manager for Nuclear Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance.
Serlemitsos said the Chileans, during both of her assignments, were eager to learn from U.S. scientists and engineers. She encouraged her Chilean colleagues to collaborate with U.S. agencies.
"I got exposure to other Chilean government entities, such as health and environmental. That opened my view to outside the military and how the government on the homeland side is organized," she said. "It's such a small country, you get exposure [to all types of people]. They are very receptive to U.S. people.
"Technology-wise, there are a lot of similarities. It takes both sides working on something. There is a lot of potential; it's a matter of tapping into it."
Mid-career level Army engineers and scientists can apply through ESEP to work with an American ally for a year with the possibility of an extension. Applicants may arrange for an assignment from a list of 17 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Chile.
Jason Craley, a member of RDECOM's Global Technology Integration team, works with interested ESEP applicants and coordinates the packages before submitting them to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation. He said applications should be aligned to Army S&T objectives.
Craley said the ESEP application requires four elements: a resume, a list of career-broadening objectives, a well-defined and thorough position description outlining the assignment, and an endorsement letter signed by a Senior Executive Service member or general officer. Language capability and a cost estimate are also required for the desired country.
The next application opportunity will be ESEP Group 11, which is expected to be released in April 2014, Craley said. Packages would be due to RDECOM GTI in early October 2014, with deployments beginning in August 2015.
For more information on ESEP, contact Jason Craley at (410) 278-8591 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.