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Seven months ago, Col. Michael McGinnis accepted the position of executive director of Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) pending his retirement from the Army and from his faculty post at the U.S. Military Academy. Next week, when he reports to VMASC, he will be a brigadier general (retired), and the recipient of the Army's Distinguished Service Medal.

He received the grade advancement and medal at his retirement ceremony at West Point on June 2 and will assume his duties at VMASC on Monday, June 12.

"During the past 29 years, Col. McGinnis made important contributions to the United States Military Academy and the United States Army as a leader, soldier, analyst and scholar," said the memorandum recommending his advancement to brigadier general.

ODU President Roseann Runte attended the ceremony. "Mike McGinnis will bring to Old Dominion new energy, fine academic qualifications and a truly impressive set of leadership skills," she said. "I was honored to participate in his retirement ceremony at West Point on Friday. The high regard in which he is held by all his colleagues speaks very well, indeed, about his capacity for innovation and his perceptive nature. I am proud that he has chosen Old Dominion for the next chapter in his career and I know that he will lead us well in our efforts to double the size of our program and to increase dramatically the economic impact VMASC has on the region."

McGinnis was the head of the systems engineering department at West Point for the last seven years, and during that time was a regular member of official U.S. delegations to international symposia involving computer simulations. In 2002-03 he directed a task force for the secretary of the Army that used modeling and analysis to revamp the way the Army builds its combat brigades.

As director in 1997-99 of the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Analysis Center in Monterey, Calif., McGinnis built a reimbursable research program and gained an international reputation in advanced computer simulation. He gave a keynote speech on "Emerging Trends in Modeling and Simulation Technologies" at a conference of 400 engineers and scientists in Australia in 1998.

Under his leadership, reimbursable research in systems engineering at West Point increased from $300,000 in 1999 to $3 million in 2005, and he was credited with expanding the institution's research partnerships both with the Department of Defense and private industry.

The memorandum recommending the advancement to brigadier general is a five-page, single-spaced account of McGinnis' achievements submitted by Lt. Gen. William J. Lennox Jr., superintendent of the military academy. The memorandum noted McGinnis's "reputation within DOD as one of the Army's foremost experts on modeling, simulations and analysis."

Another memorandum that Lennox wrote recommending the service medal for McGinnis, identifies him as "one of the military's leading contemporary authors on the applications of operations research and systems engineering methods to solve military problems."

McGinnis' wife, Tracy, received an award of her own at the retirement ceremony. She got the academy's Black and Gold Citation for her seven years of volunteer service to the West Point community.

Since 1997, when it was founded, VMASC has been an integral part of a Hampton Roads modeling and simulation complex that focuses on military applications. Many of the applications involve training under simulated conditions, but also include the development and testing of strategies, policies and equipment. VMASC serves businesses and industries apart from the military, as well, and is a catalyst for $500 million per year in economic activity in Hampton Roads

This article was posted on: June 6, 2006

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