Armament Graduate School ensures specialized education need
The Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal was established to develop personnel who are broadly trained and well-versed in armaments engineering and research. No comparable institution with such a specialized curriculum is believed to exist. In the most recent graduation ceremony, Master of Armament Engineering degree certificates were presented to, from left, Kevin E. Tevis, Mario J. Rivero and Logan S. Bagarozy. The fourth graduate, Brian M. Colotti, was unable to attend. The graduates are with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center. (Photo Credit: Todd Mozes) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – During its seventh graduation ceremony, the Armament Graduate School here added not only four new names to the growing roster of graduates but also furthered a commitment to retain specialized armaments knowledge for the benefit of a stronger, enduring national defense.

The largest organization on the installation, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center, plays a vital role in the research and development of more than 90 percent of the Army's armaments and munitions.

While the traditional academic dress of participants at the Oct. 13 ceremony may have evoked comparisons with similar civilian ceremonies, the significance of the ceremony at Picatinny was starkly shaped by the opening remarks of Anthony J. Sebasto, the Acting Director of the Armaments Center.

Sebasto reminded the audience that the Armaments Center’s slogan of “Always a Step Ahead” serves as a reminder that the center’s mission is to keep American armaments unequalled.

“Consider the consequence if we were just a step or two behind …. or we weren’t quite as good as our enemies,” Sebasto said. “In short, it would be really bad -- bad for Soldiers, bad for the missions and bad for the nation.”

“There are workplaces where what the employees do has incredible significance, real-world consequences, and this is one of those places,” Sebasto added.

Later in the ceremony, Master of Armament Engineering degree certificates were presented to Logan S. Bagarozy, Mario J. Rivero, and Kevin E. Tevis. The fourth graduate, Brian M. Colotti, was unable to attend.

The new graduates join 29 previous master’s grads and two previous Ph.D. grads.

The Armament Graduate School received statutory authority to grant graduate degrees from the U.S. Congress and President. AGS is undergoing an accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, its federally designated accrediting authority, and by the U.S. Department of Education.

Col. F. John Burpo, a professor and head of the Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, delivered the commencement address.

As a mechanical engineering cadet at West Point, Burpo recalled tours of both Picatinny and Watervliet Arsenals. “What I did not fully appreciate at the time,” he said, “is that small army of professional scientists and engineers who worked so hard to develop many of the platform technologies that I would later use during my time in the operational Army.”

Burpo pondered whether, given its importance, research and development should also be considered one of the domains of warfare.

“In every possible nuance, R&D is an ongoing steady state, strategic-shaping operation,” Burpo said. “It is the daily manifestation of warfare that allows Soldiers like me to enter the fight with a technological advantage and win.”

Burpo noted that the research and development personnel on each side of opposing armies are engaged their own struggle to outperform their counterparts. “Our collective efforts in the lab, test chamber, demolition range … represents a daily fight between scientists and engineers as to who can prepare their militaries for future fights,” he said.

“When we conclude today’s ceremony, our graduates will … return not just to a job but to the fight, slow and deliberate as it may be. It will require all your talents to both innovate and lead in real time, to set the conditions for future fights.”

The Armament Graduate School has 66 faculty who work for the Armaments Center as scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Two of them, George Fischer and Laurie Florio, were recognized with the first presentation of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Faculty Service. The recipients were selected by Donald E. Carlucci, senior research scientist in computational structural modeling at the Armaments Center, who also serves as the graduate school chancellor.

Fischer was recognized for several achievements, including his role as a critical member of several core courses, active participation in several faculty committees, and never missing an opportunity to improve the educational experience of the students. Fischer was further cited for working constantly to improve the school’s function as well as the quality of life for students, faculty, and staff.

Florio was one of the original faculty members and instrumental in the development of courses in advanced math, thermal-fluid science, and computational fluid dynamics for armament systems. She was also noted for her energy and versatility as an instructor, as well as always striving to improve the educational offerings of the school, the learning environment, and the stature of the Armament Graduate School in the scientific community.

The Armament Graduate School was established to support the Armaments Center mission by developing personnel who are broadly trained and well-versed in armaments engineering and research. No comparable institution with such a specialized curriculum is believed to exist.

The Armament Graduate School’s graduate-level curriculum is unique in that it integrates chemical, electrical, software, systems, biomedical, and mechanical engineering disciplines while encompassing statistics, applied mathematics, material science and scientific methods.

The Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal is part of the larger U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), which reports to the Army Futures Command.