Army Secretary, DARPA Chief Visit Texas A&M

President M. Katherine Banks stands next to Christine Wormuth

Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks meets with Secretary of the U.S. Army Christine Wormuth on November 16, 2022 at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.

Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M Marketing and Communications Department

Pentagon leaders visiting Aggieland today discussed future military needs with leaders from the Texas A&M University System, members of the Corps of Cadets and other potential partners for national security innovation.

U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth spent the day engaging in a series of discussions at both the university’s main campus and at Texas A&M RELLIS, where the George HW Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) recently opened to help government, academia and industry , the high-tech military push forward modernization.

Stefanie Tompkins, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was also in attendance, along with Douglas R. Bush, Army Assistant Secretary of Procurement, Technology and Logistics; and Rob McHenry, DARPA Assistant Director.

At the end of the day, Wormuth expressed her confidence in the innovation effort, which she learned about here:

“To address urgent national security challenges at high technology, it is imperative that we work with partners like DARPA and the Bush Combat Development Complex at Texas A&M. I was pleased to see the research being conducted at BCDC on critical capabilities that our military will need to win the future battle. The future of American defense innovation is bright.”

Wormuth is rooted in the region. She graduated from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station. As Army Secretary, she is the senior civilian official in the Department of Defense responsible for all Army-related matters.

Her visit coincided this week with Texas A&M’s DARPA Forward conference, which was attended by nearly 400 in-person and another 400 virtual attendees. The conference was among six held this fall at what the agency calls “leading research and development universities” nationwide.

DARPA officials use the conferences to connect with academic researchers and private sector leaders to identify projects that can advance breakthroughs in new technologies.

Wormuth spoke at the DARPA conference and had lunch with a dozen ROTC members.

“It was wonderful spending 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 have been 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,” said Banks. “Texas A&M is committed to serving and protecting our country through our extensive national security expertise, research and development partnerships with the Army, Department of Defense and DARPA, and by serving record numbers of officers in the military through our cadet corps. We stand ready to find solutions and develop technology to better secure our nation and protect our military.”

Michaelis, who recently retired from the service, said it was an honor that the Secretary of the Army was taking the time to interact with the cadets.

“I had an informed discussion with Minister Wormuth about possible partnerships between the Army and the Corps of Cadets,” Michaelis said. “I know that only Army ROTC cadets at Texas A&M have some unique opportunities. If we are able to expand those capabilities, the impact could be significant.”

At the Texas A&M-RELLIS campus, Wormuth, Bush and Tompkins discussed modernization with US Army Lt. Gen. Ross Coffman, Deputy Commander General, US Army Futures Command; John Sharp, Chancellor of Texas A&M Systems; John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M’s College of Engineering; and Joe Elabd, Vice Chancellor for Research.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to host these outstanding leaders,” said Sharp. “Now they’ve seen firsthand what so many in the Pentagon have heard: that Texas A&M University and Texas A&M-RELLIS stand ready to serve the needs of the nation.”