Thank you for attending!

On behalf of the 2008 UARC Administrative Challenges Meeting organizing committee, thank you for attending this year’s event. CASL welcomes your feedback on the program, facility, and speakers so that we can make future meetings better.

To view the presentations from this year’s meeting, please visit to the Conference Presentations page.

Speaker Profile: Richard Brecht

Richard Brecht

Richard Brecht is currently the Executive Director of the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language. Having received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in Slavic Languages and Literatures, he is currently professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Maryland at College Park and visiting professor at Bryn Mawr College. Dr. Brecht has been a principal in the founding of a number of national organizations and projects: American Councils for International Education/ACTR-ACCELS (for which he serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees), the National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages, Project EELIAS (Evaluation of Exchange, Language, International and Area Studies), LangNet (the Language Network), and Project ICONS (International Communication and Negotiation Simulations). Dr. Brecht has authored numerous books and articles on language policy, second language acquisition, and Slavic and Russian linguistics; and he has received awards from a number of national and international organizations in the language field.

Speaker Profile: Erica Kropp


Erica serves as the Director of Research Administration at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). She is responsible for UMCES pre- and post-award research administration, research compliance in general (including human subjects, animals use, conflict of interest, technology transfer and export controls) and development of related policy and procedures and training programs. Ms. Kropp is the UMCES representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership. She holds a B.S. degree in Technology Management from the University of Maryland, University College. In the research administration field for over 34 years with a broad range of experience, Ms. Kropp was with the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) for 32 years starting her career with seven years at the department level before moving to the central research administration. Ms. Kropp served as the Director of Research Administration and Advancement at the University of Maryland College Park 1994-2004. Her leadership at College Park was during a period of tremendous growth in their research programs and included early involvement in export control issues at UMCP and with other universities in general on a national level. Ms. Kropp has served on the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) Committees 1997-1999, as a COGR Board Member 1999-2004 and was Co-Chair of the first COGR Export Control Working Group. She is a current member of the COGR Export Controls Working Group and continues to work with the University of Maryland, College Park on export control issues. Ms. Kropp has been a member of NCURA since 1978 and has served as a moderator and/or presenter on numerous panels over the years at both regional and national meetings, including many on export controls and security matters.

Speaker Profile: Mr. Gary Bliss


Gary R. Bliss is currently the Deputy Director, Enterprise Engineering and OSD Studies in the office of the Undersecretary, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)).  His responsibilities include oversight of the five OSD-funded Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), the OSD’s university research program, as well as review and development of innovations to overhaul the AT&L enterprise management systems. 

He is perhaps best known from his recent position as the longstanding Director of OD(PAE) Weapon System Cost Analysis Division  (WSCAD).  WSCAD’s ten staff members constitute one of the two offices dedicated to OSD Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG) functions, and responsible for the preparation of independent development and procurement cost estimates for major systems that range from munitions (e.g., tactical missiles) through platforms (e.g., helicopters, submarines, fighter aircraft, tanks, etc.).  As such, Mr. Bliss has been a key player for more than twelve years in DoD’s most important system decisions by the Services, OSD, and the Congress.

Generally recognized in both industry and government as a leading authority on the economics of defense procurement, Mr. Bliss has also an established track record in institutional reform/reengineering including:

  •       Management information system reengineering helping to develop a broad-based re-definition of the core management systems used to coordinate the far-flung value chain of major defense program focusing on the key signals that individual decision makers face throughout the supply-chain — at both the prime and vendor.
  •       Manufacturing enterprise reengineering conducting studies of the potential for savings from enterprise reengineering reviewing in considerable detail the four basic enterprise-wide systems:  design/engineering; manufacturing shop floor performance; supplier-chain management; and overhead/indirect functions.
  •       Public/Private Competition acting as a principal economic advisor on the Source Selection Evaluation Boards for both McClellan AFB and Kelly AFB public/private competitions.
  •       CCDR Project Office as the architect of the initiative that reengineered DoD’s Contractor Cost Data Reporting (CCDR) system.

Ga  Gary has a BA, Mathematics and Economics (Highest Honors in Economics) from College of William and Mary and done PhD graduate work at School of Business, University of Chicago. 


Speaker Profile: Dr. John Parmentola

Director for Research and Laboratory Management, U.S. Army         

 John Parmentola has built a career as a pioneer, entrepreneur and innovator. His extensive background in science and technology spans three decades of fundamental research, technology development and acquisition, and manufacturing technology.  He has broad experience in the private sector, academia and has held many positions in the Federal government and Defense Community. Born in the Bronx, New York, Dr. Parmentola received his BS degree in Physics cum laude from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1971 and his PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1977.

He currently serves as Director for Research and Laboratory Management for the US Army, directing laboratory management policy for all Army laboratories, research, development and engineering centers—including the Army’s Basic and Applied Research programs spanning 12 basic research disciplines and 14 technology areas at the Army Research Laboratory, Army Research Institute, Army Corps of Engineers, and Simulation and Training Technology Center.  He also oversees Environmental Quality technology, Manufacturing Technology, Small Business Innovative Research, and Army High Performance Computing programs—with a combined annual budget of roughly $750M.  His responsibility encompasses policy for personnel systems, laboratory infrastructure, laboratory security, and Base Realignment and Closure.


Before coming to the Army, Dr. Parmentola was Science and Technology Advisor to the Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Energy, where he provided technical, budgetary, and programmatic advice to DOE leaders for more than $7B in science and technology investments—including Defense, Non-proliferation, Science, Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency, Nuclear Energy and Environmental programs. Prior to joining the US Department of Energy, he was co-founder of the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office of the newly formed Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), where he led a diverse group of 20 scientists and engineers in addressing major national challenges concerning the threat of weapons of mass destruction.    






Speaker Profile: Dr. Scott Weems

Scott Weems is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL). Scott has embarked on an academic career that has taken him from Boston University to the University of California, where he earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2003, and now, finally, to Maryland. He currently leads two research projects at CASL. 

Scott’s first project addresses how language analysts deal with missing information, with particular emphasis on the neurophysiological processes involved in dealing with textual ambiguity.  His second project examines deception in people from non-Western cultures.  Little is known about the verbal or non-verbal deception cues for this population, even though such knowledge is very important for security screening personnel.  Scott is also very interested in the laterality of language, particularly the important role of the brain’s right hemisphere in language processing.

Before embarking on his academic path, Scott had a short but successful career as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Stationed in Kodiak Alaska, his first tour was as boarding officer aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter YOCONA in the frigid Bering Sea, checking safety equipment on local fishing vessels.  His second tour was as a marine safety officer in New Orleans, where he was responsible for enforcing marine pollution laws.