Military News

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hanscom captain chosen for prestigious doctoral program

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

9/15/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A Hanscom program manager found himself on a very short list of selectees when the Air Force announced its choices for the 2015 Chief of Staff of the Air Force Prestigious
Captains Ph.D. Program.

Capt. Jason Rathje -- who oversees the Advanced Tactical Command and Control program within C3I and Network's Special Programs Division -- is one of three hand-picked company grade officers who will be pursuing a fully funded doctorate degree at a top-tier civilian institution.

"I am a firm believer in the necessary and rewarding relationship between academia, industry and the Air Force," said Rathje.

However, Rathje is no stranger to academia. Holding both a bachelor's and master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he will now have the opportunity to apply from a list of 23 schools. MIT is among the institutions on the roster.

Selectees can choose from nine different degree options including: Asia Pacific studies, history, political science, international relations, economics, philosophy, international business relations, international security studies and political systems and theories.

It's still early in the planning stages for Rathje, as far as which school he wants to attend; however, the captain knows exactly what area of study he'd like to pursue -- international business relations with a focus in strategy and emergent technologies.

"This is huge, and I intend to make the most out of this opportunity," Rathje said. "By continuing my education, I hope to gain a broader and deeper understanding of industry and academia in relation to their entrepreneurial spirit within the technology space."

To be considered for the doctoral program, applicants have to be an active-duty captain with fewer than nine years of total active commissioned time. They must also have completed their bachelor's and master's degrees and earned the grade point average required by their preferred school.

Rathje attributes his selection to his efforts within U.S. Special Operations Command's Ghost program and the RATPAC, which is short for Revolutionary Acquisition Techniques Procedure and Collaboration, organization.

Through the Special Operations Research, Development and Acquisition Command's Ghost program, Rathje deployed to Afghanistan, where he was immersed in the tactics, techniques and procedures of SOCOM and its acquisition tenets.

"When I deployed to integrate a new capability, I had the honor of working side by side with our finest operators," Rathje said. "My acquisition work directly impacted operations, and I was hooked."

The RATPAC organization was later conceived from the Ghost experience when the CSAF asked Ghost participants to integrate SOCOM acquisition methods into all Air Force acquisition communities.

Rathje was one of the first to accept the challenge, and as a participant and co-founder of RATPAC, facilitated national and local events at both Hanscom and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

In under a year, he was able to organize more than 150 junior military and civilian acquirers with the goal of sharing acquisition TTPs and spreading the results throughout the Department of Defense community.

The first Hanscom RATPAC think tank took place in July, and the group plans to continue meeting and promoting crosstalk twice a year.

"In the several events that I have planned and attended, I have noticed marked improvements in our ability to share and discuss acquisition TTPs," Rathje said. "We have realized that as tactical threads of best practices are identified, strategic impact can be woven to effect Air Force-wide change."

His Ghost deployment contributions along with RATPAC efforts are a few examples of what propelled Rathje above the competition and solidified his selection for the CSAF Captains Ph.D. Program.

"To be one of three captains hand-picked across the entire Air Force says something special about Jason's extraordinary talent and commitment to serve," said Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer. "We're very blessed to have such an outstanding Airman and program manager on our team, and his selection for this prestigious program will enable him to make significant contributions to the Air Force and nation in the years ahead."

Rathje and the other two captains will begin their three-year doctoral program in fall 2016.

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