ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 16, 2021) — The Army is helping workforce members pursue advanced degrees and gain skills to more effectively support warfighter mission requirements.
The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – a component of the Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – employs the Science and Technology Reinvention Lab (STRL) Personnel Demonstration Project to allow flexibility in its hiring practices and to assist its employees in obtaining higher degrees.
The STRL aims to improve the effectiveness of Department of Defense laboratories through flexible, tailored personnel systems that enhance the recruitment, motivation, and retention of a high-quality workforce.
Through STRL, “approval to participate in academic degree training for a government-paid degree is granted on a local level, which is a huge benefit for our workforce,” said Victor Carrozzo, the C5ISR Center team lead for workforce development and human capital. In exchange for being selected for the program, participants must agree to sign a Continued Service Agreement that is usually 15 weeks for each class taken for part-time students.
Industrial engineer Eduardo Lopez jumped at the opportunity to obtain an advanced degree using the benefit, just months after receiving his undergraduate degree and being matrixed to C5ISR in July 2019.
Lopez, who is currently enrolled in an online master’s program for project management with the Florida Institute of Technology, often takes on tasks involved with his work with Project Manager Electronic Warfare and Cyber (PM EW&C) such as configuration management, risk management, and cost savings analysis. The selection of his degree program was inspired by his daily work.
“A lot of what we do is project management. We have a program, and we have to make sure it meets costs, schedule, and performance,” Lopez said. “I felt like getting a degree in project management would make me more valuable to the government and would help me advance my career as time goes on.”
Lopez, who will be finishing his degree in December, sees his academic opportunity as a path toward advancing his career.
“I want to be in a leadership position where I can directly talk to Soldiers and make sure their requirements are met in the most efficient way possible,” he said.
Another participant, Frank W. Bohn, is already in a leadership role as acting lead for the C5ISR Center’s Energy Informed Operations team, which researches and develops tactical microgrids.
Bohn joined the C5ISR Center in 2007 as an intern, worked with the Center through college, and became an employee in 2015. In 2019, Bohn decided to obtain his master’s degree in systems engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.
“I have gained valuable tools in finance and project management, in systems design and system modeling that I’ve been able to bring into my project,” he said. “We’ve been able to move forward and become more efficient as a team and in supporting the Soldier.”
Bohn, who will complete his degree in the spring of 2022, said a master’s degree will give him high-level tools to lead and guide projects from inception to completion. He added that he often recommends the program to colleagues.
“I always tell them the same thing – go for it. It’s worth it. If you invest in yourself, C5ISR Center will invest in you,” he said.
Bohn’s supervisor, Marnie Bailey, the C5ISR Center Power Management Branch chief, agreed and noted that Bohn’s academic work has benefited the organization.
“He’s been able to apply what he’s learned on the job in terms of managing a complex system, managing the project, and working with other people,” Bailey said. “If our mission is to develop and put the best technologies into the warfighters’ hands in order to win the fight, you’re going to get the best technologies by investing in your people.”
The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM). 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 lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.