Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Science of it All: A Conversation with ECBC Military Deputy COL Raymond Compton

In honor of May Military Appreciation Month, ECBC's current Military Deputy, COL Raymond Compton answered six questions about his service, working at ECBC and the economic road ahead.

1. How did you get started with the United States Military?
When I was in college, I knew that I wanted to pursue the military as an officer, so I interviewed for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at my university and received a scholarship for the Army. From there I’ve gone on to pursue a fulfilling and vast career with the United States Army that has taken me everywhere from Uganda to the Czech Republic.

2. How has your prior experience prepared you for your current role as ECBC Military Deputy?

My educational experience and interest has always been in Computer Science, but my role as Director of Military Operations and Acting Director of the Center at the RDECOM Simulation and Training Technology Center prepared me for my current ECBC job.

3. What do you think makes ECBC stand apart from other Army labs or U.S. military organizations?

I actually first heard about ECBC in the early 1990s in a Chemical Officer course, but there was a lot I did not know about ECBC when I first arrived. I had no idea that there were 202 buildings. I did not know the employees went on Temporary Duty Assignments or traveled abroad on a regular basis. It was refreshing to learn about all of the opportunities that ECBC employees take advantage of to maintain a direct link with the Warfighter. The most interesting thing that I was glad to learn about ECBC however, was how involved so many people are within the community. The time and effort put into planning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math presentations at local schools and the amount of people who participate in these activities is impressive. To me, that shows the biggest impact that ECBC can have, because they are not only taking care of the now, they are also helping to spread knowledge for the future.

4. What are the most common military misconceptions you have noticed among civilians?

It is surprising how confusing the promotion and ranking system seems to be to those outside of the military. The ranking system and general military culture are usually the biggest questions I get. My advice for anybody who is interested in learning more about military customs and
procedures would be: 1) do not be afraid to ask questions and 2) take advantage of the information available online to do personal research.

5. How have you seen the work done at ECBC impact servicemen and women abroad and stateside?

I think all of the projects at ECBC directly impact the Warfighter on a daily basis. For starters, every Warfighter needs a  protective mask and that is something tested and created here frequently. Some other specific ECBC projects that benefit the Warfighter include detection of homemade explosives, the smoke and explosives work, as well as some of the chemical demilitarization work done in the Directorate of Program Integration.

6. With the drawdown of the Armed Forces and shifting direction of the military’s focus, how do you see ECBC impacted as an organization? What are your suggestions on how to weather this climate change?

In order to weather this change, people must not be complacent. Usually, it is times like these, when people are placed under fiscal constraints that the best and most innovative ideas emerge. As long as we continue to think creatively and try to find new solutions to problems, I think this draw down will come and go just like any of the others. It reminds me of the broke college student who might only be able to afford Ramen to eat. That student will find ways to make each meal of Ramen different through adding ketchup or cheese, or whatever they have lying around. That same creative innovation can be applied to the work we do here at ECBC: find creative solutions with what you have. You never know what kind of lasting results can come of those moments of inspiration.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
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