Choosing MITRE, an Officer Continues Serving the Public Interest

August 2016
Michael Joiner
Michael Joiner

Every year about 250,000 personnel separate from the military and return to civilian life. Where do they go? Michael Joiner came to MITRE.

As the operator of seven FFRDCs chartered to work in the public interest, MITRE often appeals to military personnel looking to continue serving their country in a different capacity.

"MITRE's mission reflects what I believe in and why I joined the military after college," Joiner says. "And I like how focused we are on supporting our sponsors' missions."

Military Training Valued

Joiner gained a wealth of training and experience during his seven years in the Navy. He was in nuclear power school and training the bulk of his first two years. Then he spent three years assigned to the USS Tucson, a nuclear submarine based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Joiner's next Navy assignment brought him to the Pentagon where he was a submarine requirements officer in the Office of the Chief of Navy Operations. He oversaw acquisition efforts, resource allocation, and developing technical engineering specifications for the Navy. While stationed at the Pentagon, he learned about MITRE and the role we play in supporting our sponsors.

When he decided to leave active military service, Joiner looked into the company's career opportunities and workplace environment. He liked what he saw. It made for an easy transition personally and professionally.

According to Mike Brock, former director of MITRE's Navy Portfolio, it's been mutually beneficial. "Michael's combination of technical expertise and operational knowledge creates added value for our sponsors. Coming to work at one of our FFRDCs allows officers to continue to serve in the public interest."

Testing and Integrating Advanced Technologies

During his first couple of years at MITRE, Joiner supported two simulation experiments (SIMEXs) for his sponsor. These experiments tested new technologies set to be incorporated in existing military platforms by simulating real-world tactical anti-submarine warfare.

After analyzing large amounts of positional communications and sensor data, the SIMEX team found the proposed advanced capabilities provided a noticeable improvement in threat submarine detection. "It was a nice blend of acquisitions work and technical engineering," Joiner says.

Most recently his work has focused on managing requirements and capabilities for adding new technologies to existing military platforms. He works with subject matter experts to determine physical and performance-based specifications of next generation hardware.

"I work very closely with our government sponsors and selected industry partners to ensure that the capabilities being delivered to the Navy meet the fleet operator's requirements and perform as expected."

Continuing to Serve—and Learn

For Joiner, there have been many benefits to coming to MITRE after transitioning out of the military.

"When people ask me what I like about MITRE, I tell them the staff is very smart and very competent," he says. "People here really believe in serving in the public interest. Plus, we're doing really cool work.

"And I like that we have close working relationships and are trusted advisers to our government sponsors."

He also likes the option of continuing his education—whether through a formal graduate school program or MITRE's wide variety of in-house training programs and classes. "I'm thinking about pursuing a master's degree in cybersecurity. But I also recognize that there are many good opportunities for training and classes right at MITRE's main campuses."

In addition, the company supports Joiner's desire to continue serving in the Navy Reserves.

"MITRE has been very accommodating. Many of the people in my office—including the site leader—are ex-Navy, and are incredibly supportive of my time in the Reserves. One of my coworkers at my site is even the commanding officer of another DC-based unit."

Is he happy with his decision to come to MITRE? "Absolutely!"

—by Kay M. Upham

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