Aptima announced on 8 January that it has won a five-year contract from the US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) to conduct innovative research to enable the Army to acquire, develop, employ, and retain professional Soldiers and enhance personnel readiness.
Valued at up to $19 million, the programme supports the army’s ‘Talent Management’ system, needed for the emerging era of new and asymmetric threats. In response to rapidly evolving threats and new missions, the army envisions developing leaders capable of anticipating change, understanding systems, mitigating risks, solving complex problems and devising innovative strategies under conditions of uncertainty.
Under this contract, Aptima will pursue a progressive ongoing research agenda that includes developing tools to effectively measure, assess and develop soldier and leader competencies, focused on building the agile and adaptive skills for personnel to succeed in any environment or situation. The research and development programme will emphasise development of higher-order cognitive and social skills, equipping individuals and teams with the advanced problem-solving and critical thinking to contend with myriad emerging threats and future missions.
“Personnel across the DoD face constant change, and learning and development must keep pace. The army’s goal is to measure, manage, and deliver learning experiences tailored to the needs of personnel anytime/anywhere, to support their total readiness,” explained the company’s Director of Learning and Training Systems, Dr. Krista Ratwani. “Whether training in a live or simulated exercise, or on a post halfway around the world, Aptima’s measurement capabilities combined with our learning analytics and adaptive training technologies can provide a foundation for this talent management framework.”
Recognising that learning occurs inside and outside of the classroom, as well as formally and informally, an overall focus of the work is to leverage data from these different environments to inform competency development and talent management. “By continually identifying needs, filling gaps, and building competencies, these advances will ensure that the right person has the right skills at the right time for mission success,” added Dr. Ratwani.
To aid ARI in its research initiatives, Aptima will extend and build upon past work with the army and other military services. Task orders under the ARI contract encompass a variety of areas. including improving the measurement and assessment of soldier and leader skills and capabilities; developing a lifecycle approach to competency development over a career; and developing the tools and technologies to facilitate the total cognitive, social, and physical readiness of personnel.