The 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) has partnered with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Training Center to design a Tool Developers Qualification Course.
The fourth class of the qualification course, which produces computer programmers for the Army, graduated July 13 at the Post Theater.
TDQC is an 11-month training program consisting of both formal classroom training and interactive class projects.
Soldiers enrolled in the program are tested at the completion of each of the 12 modules and are expected to achieve a grade of 80 percent or better. Additionally, the Soldiers are required to complete a capstone project at the end of the course.
The goal behind the development of the TDQC was to design a progressive education curriculum where students are evaluated based on how well they could complete individual programming assignments.
Col. Brian Vile, commander of the 780th MI, said that out of the thousands of Soldiers in the 780th and 704th MI brigades, the 12 TDQC graduates were joining only 56 others who had completed this difficult path.
“TDQC is a critical step in building one of the Army’s most specialized and critical positions — the tool developer,” Vile said. “[The graduates] are expected to operate independently on real-world projects, to develop solutions to some of the most challenging problems in cyberspace.”
According to the Brigade S-3 (operations) training section, tool developers create, develop and code computer applications, software or specialized utility programs. They conduct comprehensive technology research to evaluate potential vulnerabilities in cyberspace systems. They also detect, identify and describe vulnerabilities to network devices and operating systems.
Spc. Grant Ward, a cybersecurity specialist assigned to the 781st MI Battalion, 780th MI Brigade, was the 2018 TDQC distinguished honor graduate.
“I didn’t know a whole lot of programming before I started the course,” he said. “TDQC taught me everything I needed to know. It was a great pace, really great teachers. The assignments are very challenging. They push you to become a better programmer.”
A Challenging Journey
Sgt. 1st Class Joel Aguilar, Brigade S-3, said TDQC provides an education path to become experienced at 90 percent of the identified critical developer requirements.
Soldiers must be able to articulate and demonstrate these requirements, he said, through practical application in order to be certified as a cyberspace solution engineer.
Staff Sgt. Kirk David, C Company (Co.), 781st MI; Sgt. Jonathan Goodman, E Company, 782nd MI; Warrant Officer Jacob Harding, B Company, 781st MI; Spc. Elijah Harmon, A Company, 742nd MI; Spc. Devin Lee, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 780th MI; Sgt. Jeffrey Lu, D Company, 781st MI; Spc. William Marchant, E Company, 782nd MI Bn; Sgt. Nathaniel Muesing, A Company, 742nd MI; Sgt. Christopher Pandoliano, D Company, 781st MI; Spc. Mathew Reglein, B Company, 781st MI; Sgt. Jiseng So, HHC, 781st MI; Sgt. Aisha Umar, C Company, 781st MI; and Spc. Grant Ward, C Company, 781st MI.
Fort Meade was awarded the Raytheon STEM Centers of Innovation Grant on July 16.
The Boys & Girls Club of America partnered with Raytheon, an electronics manufacturer and defense contractor, for the grant.
The grant provides both Fort Meade and Fort Gordon, Georgia, with a one-year funding of $45,000, which includes a $30,000 programmatic award and $15,000 renovation award.
Both installations may also receive a $20,000 programmatic award the second year and a $15,000 programmatic award the third year, pending annual approval.
“Our initial reaction was euphoria,” said Francisco Jamison, Child and Youth Services division chief at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
“To be able to get a grant that you know you’re going to be able to use for an important topic like STEM … is very exciting.”
The grant, said Jamison, will be used to “test, refine and learn about a model for STEM excellence … and create exemplary STEM programming” throughout Fort Meade’s facilities.
Specifically, the installation seeks to expand projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to encourage more female participation, said Jamison.
Compiled by staff of the Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs office. For more information about what is happening on Fort Meade, visit www.ftmeade.army.mil and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ftmeade.