USARAF hosts Academic Development program for West Point Cadets
By Sgt. Terysa M. King, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy – U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) hosted a three-week internship with two cadets from United States Military Academy in conjunction with the Advanced Individual Academic Development program sponsored by West Point to help implement cadets’ knowledge from course work to enhance leadership, decision and problem solving skills.
The internship, a first for USARAF, helped cadets analyze a problem by creating a senior leader decision-making process that would increase efficiency of information flow from directors to the commanding general and as well as optimize the battle rhythm for the current challenge with facility separation between Caserma Ederle and Caserma Del Din.
Maj. Bradley Kinser, USARAF strategic intelligence research officer, said this training familiarization was important because both parties were able to reap benefits.
“Cadets were here to solve a problem for USARAF, and we put time, money and resources into them coming here. Providing 48 hours of familiarization training, it maximized those resources and time we already put into these young men and the project,” said Kinser, a Fayetteville, N.C. native.
In addition to cadets working to solve problems for their USARAF project, they were also provided an opportunity to witness a training familiarization with 6th Alpini Regiment, a mountain infantry regiment of the Italian army. During their visit, cadets participated in a rock climbing exercise and toured Alpini training facilities.
Kinser said the training familiarization exposed cadets to current, young leadership in the Italian army, learn about alpine operations, and gain knowledge about how 6th Alpini Rgt. are trying to incorporate motorized and mechanized vehicles in an urban setting combined with mountain operations.
“This training familiarization strengthens the relationship with our Italian NATO partners by allowing us to experience how we each approach problems,”said Kinser. “As a result of it, the Alpini are writing their own doctrine to understand how to approach the problem, and they got a little input from two cadets who are trained in problem solving.”
Both cadets were excited to go out into the real world and apply what they’ve learned throughout the semester at West Point, and gain cultural experience by working with a NATO partner military.
Cadet Nolan Anderson, Chicago, Ill. native, said he felt the internship was a rewarding experience, as it allowed him to use real world applications to help support USARAF and the Alpini.
“I really wanted to get out there and apply what I learned and see what lies ahead in the Army for me. One thing I can take away from this is not necessarily the activities we partook in, but mainly relationships we built. Overall, I feel it’s great for both our nations to publicize the bond we have,” Anderson said.
Cadet David Blum, El Dorado Hills, Calif. native, said even though he worked with the Alpini for only two days, he feels the investment of time will potentially forge a lifetime relationship with the Alpini officers.
“It was amazing to me how quickly we built relationships. I think in the future amid budget uncertainty, these coalitions will play an even greater role in our foreign policy,” Blum said. “I think the relationship starts by building personal relationships, and hopefully we will continue these relationships, build on them, and create a chain of events where we can continue to schedule joint events like this. I think if we do that we’ll be able to build a better relationship with the armies as a whole.”
Kinser said along with building personal relationships, this training familiarization is important for cadets because gives them diversity their peers do not have.
“The cadets are getting an experience before they’re commissioned as lieutenants, which is already diverse from U.S. doctrine and U.S. training. They’re going to have outside perspective to problems they’ll face as young lieutenants that their peers and counterparts are not going to have. It will help them decide how to lead their Soldiers,” Kinser said.