MCINCR MCB Quantico, Va – Marine Corps University’s (MCU) Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity has now been open for a few years. But, until recently, few people were aware of the support provided by the center. That changed when Brig. Gen. William Bowers, president of the MCU, decided he wanted to put some muscle and manpower into making it what it was meant to be at its inception.
Relocating the Brute Krulak Center to a larger space within the Grey Research Center provided the opportunity for the center personnel and MCU foundation’s Bren Chairs to be co-located. Bringing the two together under one roof provides students, staff, and faculty a collaborative working environment that is designed to enhance learning across the university.
The re-imagined Brute Krulak Center could now focus on a two-fold mission. First, it aims to connect students attending MCU’s resident and non-resident colleges, and schools with one of the MCU Foundation’s Bren Chairs; experts who act as repository of experience across six fields of study– Conflict and Security, Insurgency and Terrorism, Great Power Competition, Non-Western Strategic Thought, Creative Problem Solving, Armed Politics, Strategic Studies, and Strategic Communications. According to Maj. Tim Riemann, operations officer for The Brute Krulak Center, “Each Bren Chair is ready, available, and willing to help, guide, and mentor students as they conduct research throughout their educational experience at the University.”
The second goal is to encourage and foster creativity and innovation. The philosophy is to provide an environment for students of all ranks across schools and colleges who are researching topics of similar interest to discuss, collaborate, and cross-pollinate ideas on imaginative and novel solutions to challenges faced by the warfighter.
The Energy and Innovation Scholars Program (E&ISP) is one way the university fosters creativity and innovation. It is a pilot program that seeks to provide students the opportunity to discuss energy as a national security issue and as an area for potential improvement and modernization. Dr. Mike Baskin, professor of energy studies, can be credited for pioneering the pilot program that is the first to bring the scholars program across MCU. Today, thirty-two resident and non-resident students meet monthly, while off duty, to brainstorm and discuss energy usage, policies, and solutions. According to Baskin, “There is a lot of value in bringing students from different schools together, working on the same thing they are all interested in.”
The pilot program kicked off in October of 2018 when 24 E&ISP students traveled to Denver, Colorado. Students attended several briefings, toured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Research Support Facility, the Energy Systems Integration Facility and the Defense Energy Forum Conference. Dr. Baskin used the trip as an opportunity to provide “a shot of adrenalin to the program. It left us energized knowing what the center could do for the university.”
As they plan for the 2019 MCU Innovations Summit, the Brute Krulak Center staff and the Bren Chairs will continue to seek out ways to support and encourage students to explore new initiatives, policies and solutions. Whether it is through simulated war gaming, collaborative discussions, workshops and classroom presentations, or mentoring students through launch pad initiatives, the end state, according to Riemann is solely to “make the student better and more knowledgeable; to encourage them to do things they haven’t thought yet to do.”