From left to right: Cadet Zavala, Cadet Ketcham and Brig. Gen. Ed Barker
From left to right: Cadet Zavala, Cadet Ketcham and Brig. Gen. Ed Barker (Photo Credit: Megan Paice, PEO IEW&S Public Affairs ) VIEW ORIGINAL

Building the next generation of Army leaders through mentoring programs and internships is one aspect of what Program Executive Office Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) is doing as part of its talent management efforts.

Project Manager Intelligence Systems and Analytics (PM IS&A) recently sponsored four West Point Cadets,  from July 17 to August 4, through the U.S. Military Academy’s Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program to broaden their background as future leaders and provide a better understanding of the Army’s acquisition process. The AIAD program provides Cadets global opportunities to engage with industry and government agencies and provides an avenue to build relationships and create bridges that lead to exceptional opportunities outside the classroom by being challenged in a real-world environment.

PEO IEW&S, Brig. Gen. Ed Barker, emphasized the importance of the AIAD relationship within the PEO and asserted that, “Through these unique summer experiences, the Cadets gain an expanded perspective of the Army and their responsibilities as future leaders for our military.”

PM IS&A interviewed the four Cadets after they completed their time to gain insights into what they got out of this experience:

Cadet Nicholas C. Zavala: Hometown - Tulare, CA

What did you do while supporting PM IS&A?

One of the highlights during these past three weeks would have to be taking a visit to Hunter Army Airfield located in Savannah, Georgia. There, Cadet Ketcham and I got to see the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in its hangar. I was impressed by the size of the hangar, the cranes used to move heavy pieces and all the soldiers actively working on their individual tasks. I can confidently say my interest in aviation was increased.

What was your takeaway?

I could likely sit here and fill pages about takeaways from this AIAD. This experience was so fruitful with knowledge from the Army’s leadership from both green-suiters and civilians. I was intrigued by the significant role contractors play in aspects such as prototyping, fielding and sustainment. Cadet Ketcham and I got to meet some really impressive folks, who were subject matter experts in fields like logistics, engineering, software, artificial intelligence and the list goes on. Now knowing that the Army possesses other bases like Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), White Sands, and Fort Huachuca, my interest in learning more about the Army from a holistic approach has peaked. I wish every Cadet got to experience something like what I did this summer. I’m so grateful for the staff over at West Point and APG for coordinating this AIAD for us cadets.

Cadet Leo Ketcham: Hometown - Reno, NV

What did you do while supporting PM IS&A?

During our time at APG and with the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) program we learned extensively about the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC), the projects located at APG and the army acquisition process. This enrichment was provided through meetings with many different programs like Centaur and Cross Domain Server Set, Intel Apps and finally TITAN. TITAN was our main focus and we got to see the project in depth down at Hunter Army Airfield (HAAF) where we got to see the DAT and the Gray Eagles.

What was your takeaway?

I personally loved the experience and got to learn about a side of the Army that I may have never learned about until being well into my officer years. The AAC has led me to understand more on how the Army constantly evolves and develops toward Army 2030 and Army 2040. The TITAN program has helped me to understand more how intelligence data is processed and how the Intelligence Community combines this intelligence into actionable Intel for commanders. Overall, I have loved this program and I truly believe through the understanding of the AAC and the mentorship of officers and civilians in the program I have become a better cadet and a better student.

Cadet Noah Anderson: Hometown - Acworth, GA

What did you do while supporting PM IS&A?

We witnessed Soldier Touch Points at Fort Cavazos where soldiers interact with potential new Army acquisitions and give feedback in order to produce a product that all soldiers can effectively use.

What was your takeaway?

There is so much more depth in the Army than I expected. Army Acquisitions Corps is a crucial piece of the Army as a whole, and I knew nothing about it before coming to APG and Fort Cavazos.

Cadet Ansh Velagapud: Hometown - Austin, Texas

What did you do while supporting PM IS&A?

I mainly observed the Soldier Touch Point for Intel Support to Targeting and All Source II and worked with the Intel Apps team that is providing game changing improvements for the Army’s initiative in implementing Intel-Ops Convergence to better support warfighters on the battlefield.

What was your takeaway? Getting a glimpse of the technical side of the army gave me a different perspective. It taught me that there's more to the Army than basic Infantry. I learned about the importance of the modernization efforts associated with Intel Apps and the modernization of Army Intelligence with the acquisition of next generation intel software applications.

PM IS&A Col. Chris Anderson said, “The Cadet summer visits have become a highly anticipated tradition within the PM and is an honor to have the next generation of Army Leaders supporting PM IS&A through the AIAD program as they broaden their experiences.”

PEO IEW&S was thankful for the Cadets support of two major PM IS&A Army programs: Intel Apps and TITAN, and cherish its ongoing relationship and future partnerships with the academy’s AIAD efforts.