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Artwork Honors Military Women PDF Print E-mail
“Honor knows no gender,” artist Steve Alpert said at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, June 13.

Alpert spoke following the unveiling of a triptych titled “Portrait of a Woman.” His work depicts a female soldier seen from three directions -- both profiles and from the back. She is saluting the U.S. flag.
 
A triptych is a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.

The subject of Alpert’s work is a warrior wearing the combat patch of the storied 101st Airborne Division on her sleeve. “She looks fierce,” said one of the women veterans who attended the unveiling.

That was the idea, Alpert said during an interview.

“Courage is what an ordinary person does in an extraordinary situation,” he said. “’Portrait of a Woman’ honors the girls next door who went and signed up, volunteered for the armed services. They took the oath to protect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the pursuit of the American Dream. I define that as courage, and I see them as heroes.”
 
2 BCT commander heads to the Pentagon PDF Print E-mail
For most of the past two years, Col. Joseph Ryan was on standby, waiting for the Army to send him and his 4,200 troops from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team across the globe to respond to crises or pitch in aid after a natural disaster.

As the unit on status as the Global Response Force, he knew he would have to recall and deploy his paratroopers in as little as 18 hours.

"The experience of being on the Global Response Force, it revalidates the notion that the paratrooper and 82nd Airborne Division can do anything," he said. "We give them training that challenges them and pushes them to prepare for deployment. We work very hard, train very hard, challenge ourselves on a daily basis."
 
Ryan will leave the 2nd Brigade Combat Team as he heads to Washington, D.C., to serve as the executive officer to the Army's chief of staff at the Pentagon. He'll be working directly with Gen. Mark Milley, the former commander of Forces Command who is currently the Army's chief of staff.

"It's a great opportunity," Ryan said. "It's a challenge, and I'm looking forward to it."

Ryan's path to the Pentagon began when he was accepted into the United States Military Academy. He grew up near West Point and knew he wanted to pursue a military career.

"My family had a lot of pride," he said. "Being in the Army and leading people was something I really enjoy."

Ryan graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1991 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry.
 
Speaking Frankly, at West Point PDF Print E-mail
Drew Faust gave one of the signal speeches of her Harvard presidency at West Point this past March. The subject was education in the humanities—and in leadership. Her talk brought to the fore common Faust themes: immersion in the arts and humanities and learning to think critically about values. The venue and format (a formal address, rather than the occasions where an interlocutor poses questions, and Faust’s answers are briefer) made a difference.

At the United States Military Academy (USMA), as Faust noted, “the humanities are resources that build ‘self-awareness, character, [and] perspective,’ and enable leaders to compel and to connect with others.” She identified three ways in which that occurs. “First,” she said, “leaders need perspective”—the historical and cultural lenses that clarify a situation through “empathy: how to see ourselves inside another person’s experience. How to picture a different possibility.” Second, “leaders need the capacity to improvise. I often point out that education is not the same thing as training for a job.…Circumstances evolve. Certainly, soldiers know…that our knowledge needs to be flexible, as we grapple with complexity in an instant.” Third, she emphasized how leaders like Churchill and Lincoln “use the persuasive power of language.”

Two broad applications to Harvard come to mind. One concerns transitions. West Point, Faust noted, was “the nation’s first college of engineering.” Now, even as “other institutions drop liberal-arts requirements, military academies have been adding them. Over the past 50 years, West Point has transformed its curriculum into a general liberal-arts education, graduating leaders with broad-based knowledge of both the sciences and the humanities, and the ability to apply that knowledge in a fluid and uncertain world.” The College, grounded as it has been in the traditional liberal arts, is very much tilting the other way, expanding engineering and applied sciences, and inspiriting entrepreneurship. That prompts anxieties about waning student interest in humanities and adults’ responsibility to assure that their charges are broadly, not merely vocationally, educated.
 
Fallen West Point cadet honored PDF Print E-mail
Hundreds of Family, friends, comrades and supporters attended a memorial held for Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21, at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel, June 9.

Winey, of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, was one of nine victims when flood waters took his life, and the lives of eight Soldiers, while conducting convoy operations with 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, June 2.

"We are here on a solemn day, to pay tribute to a fallen comrade," said Maj. Gen. J.T. Thomson III, 1st Cav. Div. commanding general. "Today's ceremony allows Mitch's fellow cadets to honor him.

"To Mitch's Family," he added, "thank you for being here, and more so, thank you for allowing Mitch to serve our nation."

Winey's memorial was held ahead of the other eight fallen at Fort Hood as post officials wanted Winey's brothers- and sisters-in-arms to be able to attend. The cadets returned to New York Saturday. The memorials for Fort Hood's eight Soldiers will be held today at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel.

More than 100 cadets from West Point have been at Fort Hood since late May for their Cadet Troop Leadership Training -- a course all West Point cadets go through during their time at the academy.
 
USMA Cadets Shooting Down Drones With Cyber Rifles PDF Print E-mail
Tall grass hid the advancing cadets from my perch in building 7. The tall grass hid nothing from the drone the defenders flew over their position, a Parrot AR 2.0, a common model used by civilian fliers. A minute later, after the drone pilot filmed the crawling cadets, instructors called in mock artillery fire. The cadets' position was compromised, and while the rest of their platoon advanced to take the buildings, these 10 cadets instead spent an hour in the sun contemplating what they could have done about the drone.
 
The answer was standing right behind them. As the smoke grenades denoting artillery landed nearby, a supporting electronic warfare officer aimed a rifle-shaped antenna at the drone. The drone crashed to the ground instantly, its camera going fuzzy and then only showing the pilot a close-up of asphalt.
 
The rest of the battle was a success for all involved: the defending squad of cadets successfully retreated, that attacking platoon took and held the buildings, and the Army Cyber Institute gave the Army’s next generation of leaders a taste of the complexity that cheap commercial technology can bring to modern war.
I, a non-combatant, am here at this rural training site near the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, on this June Thursday at the invitation of the Army Cyber Institute.
 
Part of the Army’s larger cyber complex, the Institute is a sort of internal think-tank at West Point, trying to figure out what the cyber component of warfare looks like in practice. “Cyber” is a broad term, and it mostly brings to mind people sitting at desks slinging code across the internet.
 
“Cyber electromagnetic activities,” says the definition in an Army field manual on the same, “are activities leveraged to seize, retain, and exploit an advantage over adversaries and enemies in both cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, while simultaneously denying and degrading adversary and enemy use of the same and protecting the mission command system.”
 
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