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An engineer, a neuro psychologist and an aviator walk into a room…

  • Published
  • By By Miriam A. Thurber
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – Randolph, Texas -- It sounds like the setup for a joke, but it’s really how every morning starts for the Arnold Group, Air Education and Training Command’s premier think tank. This lean team of six serves at a catalyst for innovation, pooling their wide experience to produce studies and answer the hard-hitting questions on Force

Development and the future of education and training. It’s their diversity of thought and expertise that makes the Arnold Group so effective.

To hear the team highlight their mission and walk through a few of their projects so far, listen to our podcast interview here. But, today, we’d like to introduce you to this incredible team of innovative thinkers who keep AETC on the cutting edge.

Ms. Melissa Garmoe serves as the Chief of the Arnold Group, AETC Analysis and Innovation Directorate. With a background in acquisitions and both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration, Garmoe brings a sharp sense of organization to the table. Her ability to plan and guide helps provide AETC with “over the horizon” information that shapes the future of force development.

“We have such a diverse team, and when you get all of these schools of thought together to answer questions, you get a really unique product,” said Garmoe. “This diversity of thought is the beauty of the Arnold Group.”

Mr. Roger Corbin is responsible for providing evidence-based decision support and managing strategic relationships with DoD, academia and industry. As a retired Air Force Col., Corbin brings a wealth of knowledge from his active duty assignments as a wing commander, Inspector General, instructor weapons system officer, Chief of the Personnel Programs Division and much more. 

Dr. Elizabeth Heron has over 42 years of experience in neuroscience and psychological research, 13 of which were as an Operational Psychologist with Air Force Special Warfare. Heron has developed psychological selection procedures and stress inoculation training programs, and, throughout her career, has focused on neuroscience applications to training, which gives her a unique perspective on learning and force development.  

Mr. Willie Harris III is a learning environment analyst specializing in health science, enlisted development, readiness and the health of the force. Previously, Harris served in the Army as the Senior Advisor to the Commander for the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research and the only Department of Defense burn center. In the Army, Harris optimized combat casualty care and developed training initiatives for medical providers.

“My favorite thing about the Arnold Group is the team!” said Harris. “I serve as a member of an agile, forward-thinking, interdisciplinary team designed to synthesize complex data, and then leverage the information for the greater good of the Air Force.”

Mr. Jackie McDowell is also a learning environment analyst, and his specialty is organizational design and strategy development. McDowell has over 20 years of service as a U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) officer and multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. McDowell also brings perspective on education and training from his time as a U.S. Army Cadet Command-Professor of Military Science at Middle Tennessee State University.

Capt. Stephen Katrein represents the youngest—and only currently active duty—member of the Arnold group. Katrein holds a Master’s in systems engineering human factors from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and, prior to joining the Arnold Group, he taught in the Air Force Academy’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership.

“I love the Arnold Group, and being a part of it has been great,” said Katrein, “Despite only having six members, we have a great depth of talent and experience. Together, we have over 170 years of service!”

Each member of the Arnold Group brings a unique perspective on education, training and the human experience to dissect large questions and analyze future environments. If you are wondering if the Arnold Group has conquered a topic you’re interested in, or if you’d like to read some of their recent findings, feel free to reach out to with your questions.

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