Matthew J. Reed
Graduate, Master of Defense and Strategic Studies
Matthew J. Reed is originally from York, PA (a small city in Southern Pennsylvania). He is currently serving in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Command Sergeant Major. He has a strong interest in national security policy and defense strategy which stems from his service in the Army.
Prior to starting the Master of Defense and Strategic Studies (MDSS) program, he earned an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Maryland University Campus (UMUC). Mathew graduated from the MDSS program in May 2019.
Note that when Matthew attended the program it was not online, but was instead taught by DSS faculty in the evenings at the Sergeants Major Academy.
Why he enrolled in the program:
I was attracted to the program due to its being a comprehensive examination of national security and defense challenges facing the United States now and, in the future, with particular attention placed on the development of strategies to address defense-related problems. The program’s structure, analyzing the historical backdrop and contemporary issues facing each Geographic Combatant Command before closing with an assessment of emerging threats on modern battlefields and their implications for future National Security Strategies, was particularly appealing to me as a senior enlisted leader in the Army.
His experience with online learning:
This program was not online when I attended. The content of this program [UTEP’s MDSS] was delivered in the evenings by Dr. Ashby at the Sergeants Major Academy. In the past, I’ve experienced online instruction in a variety of formats. First, through UMUC where I gained an undergraduate degree in Business and Management. Secondly, there are many touch points where the U.S. Army leverages technology to deliver course content to student/soldier learners.
On how this degree has helped him in his job:
I’ve found tremendous value in the degree as I continued my professional career in the Army. The MDSS program equipped me with the tools to better understand contextual issues facing the strategic landscape. Additionally, as I look ahead to private sector employment, I strongly wish to operate at the intersection of national security and sustainable economic development in emerging economies; the MDSS program has provided substantial value in shaping my thoughts for the future.
On the support he received as a student:
I thought we were well-supported while in the program. If there is one aspect I would improve upon, it would be a more concerted effort to bring local students on-campus and integrate them into campus activities and life. Bridging full-time students with USASMA students will only increase the value proposition and ensure a more enriched learning environment.
On whether he would enroll in this program again if he had to do things over:
Without a doubt, I would enroll in the program again. Not only was the support team at UTEP wonderful to work alongside, but the program’s content was both interesting and relevant. [The MDSS program] is taught by incredible professors such as Dr. Ashby, who are engaging, hold high standards, and are able to effectively bridge the theoretical-practicum divide. Put simply, the MDSS program equipped me to be a better leader in the national security space and armed me with relevant knowledge to succeed in future endeavors.
What he would say to prospective online students:
If you’re considering the program, especially for colleagues attending USASMA, do not hesitate to enroll. It will add value to your professional career. It’s not always easy to balance program requirements with the Academy and family life; however, the reward at the end is worth the time invested.