West Virginia University President Jim Clements has been selected to attend the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, a U.S. Department of Defense program for some of the nation’s top leaders.

Clements is joining 38 other participants for the program, which began Sunday and lasts until Friday. It is designed for “civilian public opinion leaders interested in growing their knowledge of the military and national defense issues.” The conference is the oldest existing Pentagon outreach program and has been held more than 76 times since 1948. Clements was selected from more than 350 candidates.

“This program will be very helpful as WVU continues to conduct research and build curriculum in information assurance, biometrics, intelligence and national security and other related fields,” Clements said. “In addition, getting this kind of up-close and personal insight into military issues will help our University’s already strong understanding and commitment to educating, hiring and serving veterans.”

Through scholarly activities sponsored by various Department of Defense agencies, WVU is training new generations of engineers and scientists.

“Algorithms created in our labs, such as face and gait recognition at night, have been tested in military exercises and are making their way into practice,” said Bojan Cukic, professor of computer science and the director of the Center for Identification Technology Research. “Comprehensive understanding of national defense policies and programs will enhance WVU’s ability to meaningfully contribute to national security.”

According to the JCOC website, the program’s purpose is to:

  • “Acquaint participants with the strength and readiness of the U.S. armed forces through personal observation of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard activities.
  • “Facilitate the candid exchange of information on defense matters between the Secretary of Defense and JCOC participants.
  • “Help the American public obtain a better understanding of national defense policies and programs through opinion leaders who return to their communities and share firsthand observations and knowledge gained during the Conference.”

WVU has been designated a Military Friendly School for the last two years by GIJobs magazine, and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited WVU and Morgantown last spring in recognition of the area’s support of veterans



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