JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (June 16, 2017) – U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command presented the 2017 Army Warfighting Challenges Award to 2nd Lt. Samuel Ruppert May 25, for his project titled “Chinese Perspectives on Operating in Dense Urban Areas.”
The TRADOC AWFC Award is presented to the United States Military Academy cadet whose project best demonstrates potential solutions to support the future warfighter. The project must directly support one or more of the 20 Army Warfighting Challenges, ranging from Security Force Assistance to Maneuver Warfare.
Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, acting director of TRADOC’s Army Capabilities Integration Center, along with other senior officers from TRADOC, Army University and centers of excellence, traveled to West Point May 4 for Projects Day 2017. Dyess said their goal was to find the project that would best address the Army Warfighting Challenges.
The winning entry was selected from more than 300 projects. The candidates for the award were first narrowed down by relevancy of topic, and then each academic department at USMA was asked to nominate its top two from the resulting list. The final projects on the list were evaluated by the TRADOC team members, who attended the project presentations. They used the following set of criteria while evaluating the projects, rating each on a 1-5 scale: (1) Project supports one or more AWFCs; (2) Project demonstrates or develops potential solutions to support future warfighters; (3) Quality of work/research; (4) Quality of presentation and/or poster; (5) Ability of cadet to clearly communicate/present/explain research; and (6) Ability of cadet to answer questions related to research.
According to Col. Tina Hartley, ARCIC Studies and Analysis division chief and one of the evaluating team members, Ruppert’s project stood out because of the high quality of his research.
“Particularly impressive was the fact that he traveled to Taipei personally and conducted multiple on-site interviews and performed extensive terrain analysis of the city, giving him a great depth of knowledge of the issues involved in operating in that environment,” Hartley said.
“I set out to do something useful for the Army,” Ruppert said on why he competed. “I’m glad it was helpful.”
Ruppert graduated first in his class from USMA in May, with a double major in Defense Strategic Studies and Chinese. He also won a Marshall Scholarship, which is currently the most selective graduate scholarship for Americans – only 40 winners were selected this year from over 1,000 applicants across the country. This fall, he will attend King’s College London to earn his master’s degree.
“My goal is to try to excel and to stay in the operations track, so I can apply the knowledge I’m gaining to help solve problems at whatever level I can,” he said.
During the ceremony at USMA, Ruppert was recognized with a plaque that will be displayed at USMA’s Jefferson Hall Library. He was also presented a coin by Dyess, when the lieutenant gave his presentation at TRADOC June 15.
“While we do hope to be able to use and learn from the research done in these projects, the other major purpose is to foster cadet interest in working on problems that are relevant to the Army,” Hartley said. She added that the competition also helps build connections between TRADOC and the community of scholars and researchers — both cadets and faculty at USMA — to help facilitate research efforts.