Employing Human Performance Optimization Initiatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities: The Case of the U.S. Military

G.L.A. Harris 1 , Ayanna Shivers 2 , and Patricia Deuster 3
  • 1 Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University, United States of America
  • 2 Human Performance Resource Center, Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), United States of America
  • 3 Ph.D., Director, Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), United States of America

Abstract

To preemptively respond to the ever changing battlefield and in light of growing threats to national security, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and by extension the U.S. military, have developed human performance optimization (HPO) initiatives to improve warfighter performance for increasing mission readiness. African American officers, by way of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), have long been and continue to be an important constituency for this strategy.

Using the results of an online search via the Internet of HPO-like academic offerings at HBCUs, this paper proposes that the U.S. military could enhance its war fighting capability, and specifically that of its African American officers, for increased preparedness, increased performance and sustained and increased readiness by modeling HPO like programs at HBCUs. The authors examine similar efforts around the world, offer the potential benefits to be derived from expanded collaborations between the U.S. military and HBCUs and discuss the implications for the U.S. military and militaries within international communities, HBCUs and future research.

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