ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Partnerships with academia are vital to APG's continued success as it becomes the Army's hub for science and technology, senior installation commander Maj. Gen. Nick Justice said Sept. 14.

Justice discussed the needs of APG's future workforce with six University of Maryland-Baltimore County deans and vice presidents for engineering and research.

Universities and the military both benefit from their expertise in similar research and development areas, Justice said.

"If I can get my people into your facilities, and you can get your students into our facilities, we're going to build a great nation and state of Maryland," he said.

Justice urged UMBC to take a leading role in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

"Help those young kids get high-tech skills. Our country desperately needs it," Justice said. "When you see what we're doing here, you'll understand.

"Helping your university is going to develop my workforce for tomorrow. I want to be a partner."

Systems engineering is an area for growth in the Department of Defense that universities should explore, Justice said. DoD has partnered with 20 schools, including the University of Maryland-College Park's Clark School of Engineering, as university-affiliated research centers to develop systems engineering programs.

"Systems engineering at UARCs is a tremendously powerful organization in DoD," he said. "Ten years from now, those 20 universities are going to be feeders for almost all engineering into DoD."

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on designing and managing a complex engineering project during its life cycle.

The group also toured Army Research Laboratory's Rodman Materials Research Laboratory and Communications--Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's prototype integration facility at APG.