DEVCOM Armaments Center celebrates its eighth Armament Graduate School ceremony

By Timothy L. Rider, Picatinny Arsenal Public AffairsOctober 31, 2023

Armament Graduate School holds latest ceremony
The highly specialized Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., held its eighth graduation ceremony on Oct. 5, 2023. The graduates met the requirements for Master of Armament Engineering degree certificates. Pictured from left, Chris J. Grassano, director of the DEVCOM Armaments Center; graduates Jerald Wesley, Steven Akdemir, Andrew Borchardt and keynote speaker William “Willie” Nelson, Army Futures Command Deputy to the Commanding General. Another graduate, Brian M. Collotti, was unable to attend. (Photo Credit: Todd Mozes ) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – The DEVCOM Armaments Center celebrated its eighth Armament Graduate School commencement ceremony here on Oct 5, 2023, when employees who recently satisfied curriculum requirements received their Master of Armament Engineering degree certificates.

This year’s graduates are Steven Akdemir, Andrew Borchardt, Jerald Wesley and Brian M. Colotti, who was unable to attend the ceremony. The graduates are employees of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center.

“Delivering the best capabilities takes the best scientists and engineers, which takes the best training and education, said Army Futures Command Deputy to the Commanding General, William “Willie” Nelson, during the keynote address.

“As our Army continues to transform, it is essential that we continue to develop the most knowledgeable and talented workforce that will stand on the shoulders of our current experts. This graduate school is a shining example of Army Futures Command, the United States Army and our nation.”

“Congratulations to this year’s graduates, along with a special recognition and appreciation to the families of these graduates,” said Armaments Center Director, Chris J. Grassano, to the attending graduates, family members and friends.

“The vigorous course work can easily absorb the many hours that our graduates would otherwise be spending with their families. That’s why the patience, support and understanding of families is so critical and so richly deserves our gratitude.”

Akdemir, Borchardt, Wesley and Colotti join 32 other Armaments Center employees who have met the requirements of the Master of Armament Engineering curriculum. Two other Armaments Center employees have met the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Armament Engineering.

Additionally, two PhD faculty members -- Catherine Florio and Eric R. Beckel -- were recognized with presentations of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Faculty Service, selected by Armaments Center Senior Research Scientist in Computational Structural Modeling, Donald E. Carlucci, a PhD who also serves as the school’s chancellor.

Both Chancellor’s Award recipients were cited for their teaching methods and enthusiasm. Additionally, Florio was also cited for work that has helped gun-launched electronics survive harsh environments with improved reliability, while Beckel was cited for noteworthy accomplishments on acoustic resonant mixing techniques used in explosives manufacturing.

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

The Armament Graduate School began operations in 2013 as part of an initiative to establish an accredited institution to support the Armaments Center mission by developing personnel who are broadly trained and well versed in armaments engineering and research. The Armament Graduate School has 65 faculty members who work for the Armaments Center as scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

In December of 2019, congress granted the Armament Graduate School a charter and federal authority to confer degrees, contingent on subsequently meeting Middle States Commission for Higher Education (MSCHE) and Dept. of Education accreditation requirements. The school is working with MSCHE and the Department of Education toward accreditation.

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

The Armaments Center’s mission is to lead research, development and engineering of systems solutions to arm those who defend the nation against all current and future threats, both at home and abroad.