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Chain of Command

Originally, the ADL Initiative reported to the OSD Director for Readiness and Training Policy and Programs in the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) chain of command. Until April 18, 2021, the ADL Initiative reported to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training (DASD(FE&T)), who reported to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness (ASD(R)), who in turn reported to the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Today, the ADL Initiative reports to the Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA), under the Director, DHRA.

ADL Initiative Leadership

The program is organized into key functional areas, which include Research and Development, Outreach, and Operations. The following individuals comprise the program leadership team.

Sae Schatz, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Sae Schatz is an Army civilian and an applied human-systems scientist, with an emphasis on human cognition and learning, instructional technologies, adaptive systems, human performance assessment, and modeling and simulation. As the ADL Initiative Director, Dr. Schatz oversees the program’s comprehensive execution, guides its strategy, and ensures it aligns with US DoD and Federal government priorities.

Laura Milham, Ph.D., Director of Innovation (USAF Liaison)

Dr. Laura Milham is an Air Force civilian and an applied human-systems scientist, with an emphasis on individual and team training and assessment. As the ADL Initiative Director of Innovation, Dr. Milham brings over 25 years of experience to oversee the program’s comprehensive execution, guiding its strategy, and ensuring it aligns with US DoD and Federal government priorities.

Karen Cooper, Ph.D., Research Scientist (USN Liaison)

Dr. Karen Cooper is a Navy civilian with over 33 years in both technology and learning sciences. Dr. Cooper’s research interest includes emergent technologies - virtual environments, LVC, mobiles, serious games, gamification, adaptive learning, crowd sourcing, digital story, social networking architectures - and their impact on our 21st century learner, worker and service person. As a scientist and engineer, she holds several computer and network certifications and is a graduate of several DoD leadership and technology programs.

Research and Development

Brent Smith, R&D Principal (SETA Contractor)

Mr. Brent Smith is a Software Systems Architect with over 20 years of experience in designing and developing learning technologies for government stakeholders, defining R&D roadmaps to meet organizational objectives, and establishing chains of research that align with strategic goals. As the ADL Initiative R&D Principal, Mr. Smith helps ensure the ADL Initiative research agenda is aligned with its overall strategy.


Karen Murgas, PMP, Outreach Principal (SETA Contractor)

Ms. Murgas has over thirty-five years of diversified expertise in project management for education and training programs as well as performing all aspects of outreach/event and meeting management for academic, industry, and government stakeholders. As the ADL Initiative Outreach Principal, she oversees the planning and execution of all outreach efforts domestically and internationally.