Army Secretary, DARPA Chief Visit Texas A&M
Pentagon leaders visiting Aggieland today discussed future military needs with leaders of The Texas A&M University System, members of the Corps of Cadets and other potential partners in national security innovation.
U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth spent the day in a series of discussions both on the main university campus and at Texas A&M RELLIS, where the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) recently opened to help government, universities and industry accelerate high-tech military modernization.
Stefanie Tompkins, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was also on hand, along with Douglas R. Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and Rob McHenry, DARPA deputy director.
As the day ended, Wormuth expressed confidence in the innovation efforts she learned about here:
“To tackle pressing high technology national security challenges, it is essential that we work together with partners like DARPA and the Bush Combat Development Complex at Texas A&M. I was delighted to see the research being conducted at BCDC on critical capabilities that our military will need to win the future fight. The future of American defense innovation is bright.”
Wormuth has roots in the region. She graduated from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station. As army secretary, she is the senior civilian official within the Department of Defense responsible for all matters related to the Army.
Her visit coincided with Texas A&M’s “DARPA Forward” conference this week that included nearly 400 in-person participants and another 400 virtual attendees. The conference was among six being held nationwide this fall at what the agency describes as “leading research and development universities.”
DARPA officials are using the conferences to connect with academic researchers and private-sector executives and to identify projects that can fuel breakthroughs in emerging technologies.
Wormuth spoke at the DARPA conference and had lunch with a dozen ROTC members.
“It was wonderful to spend time with the Texas A&M (Army) Corp of Cadets,” she said. “Recruiting and training the next generation of military leaders is critical to our national security, and I was deeply impressed by the professionalism, enthusiasm and discipline of A&M’s Corps of Cadets.”
Wormuth also met with Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks, Corps of Cadets Commandant Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis and BCDC Director Tim Green.
“We are pleased to welcome Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth to our campus,” Banks said. “Texas A&M is committed to serving and protecting our country through our extensive expertise in national security, research and development partnerships with the Army, Department of Defense and DARPA, and by commissioning record numbers of officers into the military through our Corps of Cadets. We stand ready to find solutions and develop technologies to better secure our nation and protect our military.”
Michaelis, who recently retired from the service, said it was an honor to have the Secretary of the Army take time to interact with the cadets.
“I had an informed discussion with Secretary Wormuth about potential partnerships between the Army and the Corps of Cadets,” Michaelis said. “I know there are some unique opportunities available only to Army ROTC cadets at Texas A&M. If we have the ability to expand those opportunities, the impact could be significant.”
At the Texas A&M-RELLIS Campus, Wormuth, Bush and Tompkins discussed modernization with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ross Coffman, deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Futures Command; John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M System; John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M’s College of Engineering; and Joe Elabd, vice chancellor for research.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to host these distinguished leaders,” Sharp said. “Now they have seen firsthand what so many in the Pentagon have heard: that Texas A&M University and Texas A&M-RELLIS are ready to serve the nation’s needs.”