ADELPHI, Md. -- For researchers looking to the future is in the job description. For one Army scientist, the future has always been on his mind.
Meet Dr. Troy Alexander, chief of the Technology Forecasting Office at U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory–the Army’s Corporate Laboratory.
Alexander drives a leading-edge program dedicated to projecting future development cycles for critical Army technologies.
“We’re looking far out into the future, maybe 40 years, to make recommendations to senior leaders on investment strategies to enable the Army of the future,” Alexander said.
Before assuming his current position, Alexander served as the director of strategy and acting director of basic research at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. Over the past 20 years, Troy has held multiple leadership positions in the Army Science and Technology Enterprise, garnering a broad array of awards, publications, patents, and book chapters focused on defense research. In addition to these roles, his career has focused on pioneering a broad range of technologies–including novel spectrochemical analytical approaches, biosensors, and fundamental nanomaterials characterization methodologies–that have led to realization of numerous innovations critical to the Army’s mission.
“It’s important to embrace and recognize the diversity from across the workforce, because it’s really the diversity of thought,” he said. “One of the strengths of the Army science and technology community, as well as the nation, is the fact that we are a diverse nation. By leveraging those diverse problem-solving approaches, we’re able to develop novel solutions to very difficult problems.”
In February, the Army celebrated Black History Month with the theme: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
“It is critical that we put our people first and continue to grow a team that is elite in talent, representative of the diverse nation that we serve, and that embodies a culture of inclusivity and equity,” said DEVCOM ARL Director Dr. Pat Baker. “As we cement our commitment to fostering a diverse and elite workforce, let’s increase our understanding and awareness of the differences that make ARL a powerful Team, celebrate historical achievements, and build irreversible momentum within our renewed commitment to diversity as a competitive advantage for our Army."
The laboratory participated the Army Research Opportunity Forum for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The event hosted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology and the Army Futures Command, included remarks from the Acting Secretary of the Army, Hon. John E. Whitley.
The forum included presentations by Army senior leaders and featured Army-funded HBCU success stories and interactive small group discussions. This event began a series of Army S&T engagements with HBCUs, designed to build relationships and identify research opportunities.
The time taken to reflect on the contributions of African Americans is important to moving forward as a society, Alexander said.
“I believe the future holds great promise if we fully embrace and leverage diversity to address the long-standing challenges to the Army,” he said.
During his career, Dr. Alexander has contributed to several forward-leaning efforts that are expected to influence defense research for many years to come – including the Department of Defense Long Range Research and Development Program Plan.
Alexander is a native of south-central Louisiana. He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Louisiana State University in 1995 and a doctorate in chemistry from Marquette University in 2000.
Since joining the laboratory in fall of 2000, Alexander has led numerous high impact technical projects. He has also provided technical advice to the highest levels of the Department of the Army and Department of Defense.
“I think we as an organization have made significant strides; I believe that we can address some of the challenges of diversity, equity and inclusion, if we face this together,” Alexander said. “I’m optimistic about the future. I think we can achieve significant change with sustained and concerted effort. It’s all about inclusion.”
DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.