WISE Challenge

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Welcome to the WISE Challenge

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM Soldier Center, is honored to be the organizer and host for  the Warfighter Innovation in Science & Engineering (WISE) Challenge, our Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) competition. 

Now in its third year, the WISE Challenge includes competitors from the United States Military Academy (USMA), the United States Naval Academy (USNA), the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).

The WISE Challenge is designed to showcase undergraduate science and engineering solutions aligned to real world challenges faced by our military. For this challenge, the focus is on innovative approaches or technologies that offer potential operational impact to either Service-specific or joint missions areas. From the Soldier Center’s perspective, our Service Academy partnerships have consistently supplemented our work with fresh ideas, offering innovative approaches that can be adapted or transitioned to ongoing efforts or to even jump start new programs. I am really excited to see all of the ideas that come from this competition.

1st PLACE: U.S. Military Academy; Adaptive RF Emitter
CDT Samuel Della-Santina, Zachary Wolsborn, Sebastian Wilkinson

A low cost and reproducible RF emitter is designed to meet a variety of Electronic Warfare training and force protection missions, allowing users to generate signals with various properties including frequency hopping, and to better prepare forces for the modern battlefield.

2nd PLACE: U.S. Air Force Academy; COSMIC
CDTs Andrew Hancock, Wesley Park, John Cook, McKenzie “Mac” Steiner

Model-Based Validation of U.S. Military Scenarios with Digital Threads

3rd PLACE: U.S. Naval Academy; Covert Radiation Anomaly Bomb Sensor
Midn Mary Brackett, Doug Gologorsky, Ben Werve, Brant Purcell, Matt Niichel

The CRABS team has developed a system of portable and stationary covert radiation sensors to be used in publicly trafficked areas such as sports venues. This system is directional and integrated to allow the identification and localization of illicit radiation sources.

HONORABLE MENTION: U.S. Coast Guard Academy; CubeSat
1/c Alyssa Burns, 1/c Rebecca Emerson, 1/c Godwyn Piang Nee

Establishing operating procedures for the Mobile CubeSat Command and Control (mC3) ground station, located at the USCGA. Paving the way for its use in educational, research, and military future CubeSat missions by CGA and its partner institutions.

The Warfighter Innovation in Science & Engineering (WISE) Challenge is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) competition among all five prestigious U.S. Service Academies. Cadets/Midshipmen from the United States Military Academy (USMA), the United States Naval Academy (USNA), the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) will present their innovative solutions to Service-specific or joint-mission challenges in a virtual format on 25 April 2023.  

Projects will be judged for innovation, technical approach/analysis, operational impact to the Warfighter, and how well their idea is communicated to the judges.

The WISE Challenge was designed in partnership with all Academies with the intent of DEVCOM Soldier Center hosting annually. The goal is to showcase innovative, undergraduate research and development achievements in both science and engineering.  In addition, the WISE Challenge will serve as a conduit to expand networks between Academies and DoD stakeholders. 

Competition Format 

  • Each Service Academy can send up to 3 teams to compete.
  • Academies determine their own challenge problems or areas deemed relevant to their unique missions, and/or the joint Warfighter.
  • Each team will provide a poster of their project for viewing by the public before 25 April 2023.
  • Competing teams will present their projects and answer questions to the WISE Challenge panel of judges on 25 April 2023.

 Winning Projects

Judging Criteria for Projects 

  • Innovation (20%): Is the approach creative?  Is there potential for disruptive or breakthrough innovation?
  • Technical (35%): How rigorous was the team’s technical approach and analysis?
  • Impact (35%): What is the degree/breadth of operational impact to the Warfighter? Does it offer a solution to a capability gap or create a new capability in our mission?
  • Communication (10%): Has the team effectively conveyed their project’s objective, background, approach, and outcomes to the audience? 

Prize money will be awarded as follows to the top four teams

  • 1st Place: $1200 per team member
  • 2nd Place: $900 per team member
  • 3rd Place: $600 per team member
  • Honorable mention: $300 per team member
  • Brigadier General William R. Glaser
    Director, Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team
  • Ms. Anjanette S. Knappenberger, SES
    Executive Director, Pacific Fleet
  • Captain Daniel P. Keane, USCG
    Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center
  • Dr. William J. Sembler, P.E., Ph.D.
    Captain, USMS (Ret.), Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine Engineering, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
  • Dr. Craig T. Narasaki, Ph.D.
    Colonel, USAF (Ret.)., Air and Space Biosciences Division Chief, Human Effectiveness Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing, Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Ms. Kanesha Humose
    Lead Engineer, S&T Next Generation Effects, USSOCOM
  • Dr. Robb Wilcox (Panel Chair):
    Chief Research Officer, DEVCOM Soldier Center

United States Military Academy (USMA)

It is an honor to participate again in the Warfighting Innovation in Science and Engineering Challenge!  We are proud of the research and projects that our Cadets undertake each year to address important issues facing the Army and the Nation. Our teams are excited and honored to represent West Point on this much larger stage in front of senior leaders from across the Department of Defense. Here at West Point, nine teams volunteered to compete and began the journey toward the WISE Challenge finals.  The three West Point teams that you will see in the finals excelled through West Point’s internal quarterfinal and semifinal competitions.  I am personally excited to see all of the projects that each Academy will present.  Thank you to Mr. Douglas Tamilio and his team at DEVCOM Soldier Center for hosting this event. And thank you to the West Point faculty and staff that educates and inspires our Cadets to seek out solutions to these significant problems. Best wishes to all of the Teams and Go Army!​

Brigadier General Shane R. Reeves​
Dean of the Academic Board​
United States Military Academy, West Point

United States Naval Academy (USNA)

The United States Naval Academy is very grateful to participate in its next WISE Challenge.  As the undergraduate university of our country’s Naval Service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character and compassion within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Naval Academy prides itself on providing its graduates a top-ranked liberal arts education with a strong focus on engineering and technical disciplines. Competitions like this provide a great opportunity for friendly competition that motivates the Midshipmen to excel and enhance the science and engineering knowledge and skills they have learned in class.  Being able to work and innovate on Warfighter challenges, provides not only potential solutions but also gives invaluable experience in solving problems that will benefit them for the rest of their careers. 

CAPT Rob Wolf  
Dean, School of Engineering and Weapons  
United States Naval Academy 

United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA)

Welcome to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s WISE site. We are honored to once again be a part of this Service Academy STEM competition. This year the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s WISE teams feature the Marine and Environmental Sciences major. These entries showcase just a few of the service related projects Cadets complete as part of their capstone research experience in Marine and Environmental Science. We are extremely proud of the work our students do every year to advance Coast Guard missions and address Coast Guard needs. Thank you for supporting our Cadets and good luck to all the teams.​

CAPT Gregory J. Hall, Ph.D.​
Vice Provost of Research​
U.S. Coast Guard Academy

United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)

We, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, are extremely pleased to be competing in this event with our fellow Academies. We are extremely proud of the scientific and engineering education we provide to our Cadets, and the ingenuity and hard work of the entire Cadet Wing are represented by these projects teams. As we prepare junior officers to embark on their careers in the Air Force and Space Force, events such as the WISE Challenge provide an opportunity for them to apply the knowledge they have accumulated in their education and training to a real world problem. It also underscores the importance of collaboration and teamwork in solving any difficult challenge. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Cadets’ projects, and encouraging their success. ​

Dr. Mike Anderson ​
Director, Capstone Design Program ​
Department of Mechanical Engineering ​
United States Air Force Academy

United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA)

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is ready to compete in our 2nd year with the WISE competition. Our blend of theory, design and practical hands-on education and training has served our nation well, in peace and war. The projects presented are the result of our Kings Point Scholar program participants. This is a 9-credit independent research project, guided by a faculty advisor that students voluntarily take on in addition to their nominally 170-credit programs. This challenge provides our students with an opportunity to highlight the depth and breadth of the education, their personal interests, as well as their capacity to do more with less – a hallmark of our service. As the only academy who is able to put their graduates to work in the industry the day of graduation with a USCG license in their hands, our focus is on large commercial ships, military support ships, and smaller intercoastal commerce. Projects from our Academy go through proof of concept and prototype construction with limited resources available. We are proud to present our student’s project in this year’s competition with our other federal service academy family members. Thank you for supporting our midshipmen and we are looking forward to seeing all the projects submitted this year.​

CAPT Anthony Nigro, USMS​
Head, Department of Marine Engineering ​
United States Merchant Marine Academy

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