Beckley, West Virginia – In a joint effort with researchers and the United States military, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities and Development Command (DEVCOM) and the Civil-Military Innovation Institute (CMI2) awarded the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) a seed project within the Pathfinder Program. As an initial use-case, WVU Tech will conduct knowledge and discovery tasks critical to building a queryable skillset application concentrating primarily on the novel skills, education, experience, and certifications necessary to complete cybersecurity missions given to the West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG).
Designed to help the Army integrate innovative solutions to real problems into the total force, the Pathfinder program executed by DEVCOM aims to harness the creativity and technical skills of academic and government researchers. WVU Tech is the second West Virginia-based academic institution to receive a subcontract as a part of the Pathfinder program.
“Our West Virginia National Guardsmen and women bravely serve our nation and keep our communities safe, and I am pleased by this new collaboration with WVU Tech,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “The Pathfinder Program will strengthen cybersecurity, advance data technology and expand skill development and career training for our National Guard, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of the project for our entire state. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, I will continue to advocate for programs to protect West Virginians against any threat that our state and nation may face.”
Demand for qualified Soldiers with civilian backgrounds in cybersecurity has become increasingly prevalent in recent years as adversaries have become progressively hostile in the “Fifth Domain” of cyberspace. Ultimately, the project will collect and analyze data from Soldiers to help West Virginia National Guard leadership prepare Soldiers with cybersecurity experiences for a path to become qualified, experienced, and certified cybersecurity professionals the WVARNG and Army can depend on to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.
WVU Tech will develop an application tool to allow the WVARNG to effectively analyze the skillsets of their citizen-Soldier workforce that brings commercial experience into the battle against our nation’s adversaries. Broader applications across the Army including Soldier assignment, career tracking, skill development and transitions will also be explored.
“The Pathfinder Project brings academia and military initiatives together, but shines a light on the innovation and productivity that lives in West Virginia,” said Scott Fleming, dean of the College of Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences at WVU Tech. “This collaboration is a great opportunity for WVU Tech, as it advances the future of Soldiers and higher learning in the state.”
The Pathfinder Project is a collaboration between DEVCOM ARL and the Morgantown, West Virginia-based Civil-Military Innovation Institute Inc. CMI2 supports these partnerships to rapidly innovate high-impact, research-based technologies, providing a path to commercialization and rapid acquisition of products by the U.S. Army.
“Our relationship with WVU Tech is beneficial to not only students, but to Soldiers, and the state,” said Cody Clevenger, Pathfinder Program manager. “By partnering Soldiers and academia, we can take on real-world problems and solve them with a focus on the end user from solution conceptualization to commercialization and rapid acquisition specialized approach.”