NATO invites students to present project

JMU Headlines

by Eric Gorton


Three JMU students will tavel to Croatia this weekend to present their solution for helping NATO improve its efficiency in deploying troops and supplies to hot spots around the globe. 

Anne Uitvlucht, Elizabeth "Cole" Thomas and Danielle Kratowicz were part of a five-member team of undergraduates that developed a “Decision Forcing Exercise” for NATO during a Hacking for Diplomacy course at JMU X-Labs in fall 2018. 

The students will make their presentation Monday, March 25 in Split, Croatia at a TIDE Sprint meeting. TIDE is an acronym for Think-Tank for Information, Decision and Execution Superiority. TIDE Sprints are held to promote developments and innovation, and to rapidly evolve concepts and specifications to improve interoperability between NATO and its partner nations. 

The Decision Forcing Exercise developed by the students is a computer-based application designed to press participants into making decisions where they may otherwise desire to wait for more actionable information. “Through the DFE, people will eventually be able to shift the prejudice from delaying to that of taking action,” the students state on their project website. “The main goal of First ACT’s DFE is to replicate scenarios in which many relevant facts cannot be ascertained with certainty in a timely manner, and force participants to rapidly but responsibly hasten the process by which they make decisions that ultimately get the logistical ball rolling.” 

Bernd Kaussler, one of the professors who taught the class, said, “I am proud of them as this is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their work and share how they suggest to apply their concept and ideas into improved decision-making.” Kaussler, a professor of political science, will attend another NATO meeting with the students April 12 in Norfolk, where the students will present their project to senior officers. 

Uitvlucht is a senior majoring in international affairs, Thomas is a senior majoring in political science and Kratowicz is a sophomore majoring in accounting. 

Other members of the team were Colin Cahill, a senior double majoring in intelligence analysis and economics, and Ian Dunton, a junior double majoring in intelligence analysis and geographic science. 

The students will return to JMU on Tuesday, March 26. 

To schedule interviews or get additional information, contact JMU X-Labs Director of Communications Kim Fisher at 


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Published: Friday, March 22, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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