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(Enlarge) Karl Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs), speaks to Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein at The Conference Center at Fort Meade on Monday. Schneider briefed administrators of the University System of Maryland about Soldiers and veterans. (Photo by Nate Pesce)

Fort Meade hosted the University System of Maryland's monthly meeting of the university system's presidents on Monday at The Conference Center.

It was the first time Chancellor William E. Kirwan conducted the meeting on the installation and provided an opportunity for Fort Meade to build a partnership with the University System of Maryland.

"My colleagues and I feel a very strong obligation to partner with Fort Meade in helping it carry out its critical mission," Kirwan said.

Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein invited the chancellor and university system presidents to the installation to brief them on Fort Meade as the nation's preeminent center for information intelligence and cyber and to form partnerships with the respective colleges and universities.

"Team Meade is all about a much larger community outside that fence line, and you are a part of that," Rothstein said in his opening remarks.

During his briefing, Deputy Garrison Commander John Moeller said the administrators should consider internship and volunteer opportunities at Fort Meade for their students.

The University System of Maryland, which comprises 12 institutions, two regional higher-education centers and a system office, has an enrollment of more than 100,000 undergraduate students and nearly 45,000 graduate students.

Karl F. Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs), was invited to speak to college administrators about how educational institutions can better serve Soldiers and veterans.

Schneider said that the Army is responsible for 3.3 million people -- 1.1 million in uniform, as well as dependents, retirees, surviving spouses and families, Department of the Army civilians and contractors.

He noted that those who serve live by the Army's values, which make them a valuable resource as prospective students.

"These are the values that, hopefully, you would like to see in people coming to your schools," Schneider said.

More than 90 percent of Soldiers are high school graduates and more than 80 percent of military officers have a college degree, Schneider said.

As veterans, these prospective students "bring the Army values -- they're resilient, they're self-disciplined and they know how to work as a team."

This year, Schneider said, about 130,000 Soldiers will be leaving the Army (as retirees and as Soldiers who have finished their enlistment) and many will qualify for the Post 9/11 GI bill.

"They're coming with money to spend on tuition and they're coming with skills," Schneider said, noting that many Soldiers have skills as lab technicians, combat medics, mechanics and computer programmers.

To better serve veterans, Schneider said the Army encourages educational institutions to work on non-degree programs that will enable Soldiers to translate their skills to earn credentials and certifications. He said it would also be helpful for educational institutions to work toward translating military skills for academic credit.

In addition to flexible schedules and online education, Schneider said veterans can be better served by targeted academic and peer counseling to ensure they enroll in academic programs that suit their interests.

Schneider also noted that the Army is a "great career" for college graduates.

"Everyone thinks the Army is not hiring, but nothing could be further from the truth," he said, noting that the Army needs both active-duty Soldiers and Department of Army civilians.

For example, next year the Army is projected to recruit 69,000 Soldiers, including 4,000 officers, Schneider said.

Schneider said the Army needs people who have skills in cyber technology, science, engineering, math and behavioral health.

Dr. Evelyn Goldman, of the Combined Action Group at U.S. Cyber Command, briefed the group on the mission of U.S. Cyber Command and the required skill set for its employees.

Steven LaFountain, distinguished academic chair for Information Assurance and Cyber at the National Security Agency, gave a briefing on the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security's National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program, which promotes information assurance education at colleges and universities.

Mickey L. Burnim, president of Bowie State University, called the briefings "enlightening."

"I came away with a much greater appreciation for the employment opportunities for our graduates," Burnim said. "I tended to think of the Army as a place for Soldiers, but I learned there are great opportunities for civilians."

After the briefings, the educators were given a brief tour of the installation.

"We had a very productive meeting at Fort Meade," Kirwan said. "We will definitely follow up on the conversations we began at this meeting. Our presidents will be setting up individual meetings with the contacts they made."

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