The ADL Initiative’s internal organization includes an overall leadership team and three functional-area teams, each overseen by a principal.

  • ADL Initiative Leadership:

    • Sae Schatz, Ph.D., Director (Army Civilian)

      Dr. Sae Schatz is 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 U.S. DoD and Federal government priorities.

    • Jennifer Vogel-Walcutt, Ph.D., Director of Innovation (OPM Human Innovation Fellow)

      Dr. "JJ" Vogel-Walcutt is a research psychologist, with an emphasis on learning efficiency and effectiveness, instructional technologies, adaptive systems, human interaction and development, and modeling and simulation. As the ADL Initiative Director of Innovation, Dr. Vogel-Walcutt oversees the program’s focus area of learning science and design, guides its strategy, and ensures it aligns with U.S. DoD and Federal government priorities.

    • Nick Armendariz, Chief of Staff

      Mr. Nick Armendariz is experienced in training and education, particularly adult education, Instructional Systems Design in the public and military sectors. As the ADL Chief of Staff, Mr. Armendariz oversees the management of the ADL Initiative program, under the guidance of the Director.

    • Brent Smith, R&D Lead

      Mr. Smith is a Software Systems Architect with over 20 years’ 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 R&D Lead, Mr. Smith helps ensure the ADL research agenda is aligned with its overall strategy.

      The R&D team manages all R&D activities. The R&D team lead provides holistic oversight, and helps coordinate across the two R&D subteams:

      • Internal R&D, Team Lead

        The IR&D team conducts in-house research and engineering, including monitoring and reporting on the latest learning science and learning technologies, developing software applications, developing and maintaining technical specifications, conducting empirical studies, maintaining stakeholder requirements, and providing recommendations for distributed learning policy.

      • External R&D: Van Brewer, Ph.D., Team Lead

        The ER&D team manages science and technology projects that are contracted with outside vendors; from a technical perspective, they also help manage the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) process.

    • Farzana Nabi, Ph.D., Strategic Outreach Director

      Dr. Farzana Nabi is an applied researcher with a socio-psychological background focused on human behavior, policy analysis, and strategic organizational planning. Her most recent experience includes a 1-year deployment to Afghanistan as a Sr. Social Scientist with the U.S. DoD, where she was successful in integrating social science theory and research to support analytic methodologies and operational planning processes across the range of military operations (ROMO). As the ADL Initiative Strategic Outreach Director, she oversees the planning and execution of all outreach efforts via consultation and technical program management.


      The Outreach team manages engagement plans and formal messaging to external stakeholders. They design strategic messaging and create communication artifacts, such as videos, infographics, and handouts. The Outreach team also designs and executes technical workshops, tutorials, and other public events, and manage ADL’s public-facing informational websites, social media presence, and technical help desk.

    • Warren Bizub, Operations Lead

      Mr. Warren Bizub is an experienced program manager and systems engineer, with extensive experience in education, training, operational systems (C2, aircraft carrier fleet, naval aviation) and live, virtual and constructive modeling and simulation environments. As the ADL Initiative Operations Principal, he provides support to the entire organization and is responsible for IT infrastructure and cybersecurity.

    • Chain of command

      Originally, the ADL Initiative reported to the OSD Director for Readiness and Training Policy and Programs, in the USD(P&R) chain of command. Over time, these offices have been reorganized. Today, the ADL Initiative reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training (DASD(FE&T)), who reports to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness (ASD(R)), who in turn reports to the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.