U.S. Aid Blunted COVID-19 Impact, but Fall Semester Is Wildcard

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Federal relief has blunted the impact of COVID-19 on The Texas A&M University System so far, but a fall semester without students on campus could exacerbate the System’s financial condition, the Texas A&M System Regents were told Thursday.

The Texas A&M System’s 11 universities and eight state agencies would have lost $116 million through Aug. 31 without federal aid, according to a financial document presented at Thursday’s board meeting. The projections were made as of May 1.

Instead, $99.5 million from the federal government is projected to reduce the System’s expenses and lost revenue to about $16.5 million through Aug. 31. The federal money can be used to defray expenses such as refunds for housing and dining, technology costs to transitioning to distance education, faculty and staff training, payroll, lost revenue and student grants.

But the federal aid does not fall equally on the institutions in the Texas A&M System.

For example, the College Station campus is projected to have almost a $21 million deficit, and the System’s state agencies could see almost $31 million in lost revenues by Aug. 31. On the other hand, Prairie View A&M University is expected to have a $31.4 million net increase over expenses and lost revenue because of a special congressional allocation to minority-serving institutions.

The other nine universities in the System and the Texas A&M-Galveston campus could share a $3.9 million net increase, according to the financial document.

The wildcard is what happens in the fall, the Regents were told.

“Fall 2020 won’t look like Fall 2019,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “But it can’t look like this spring and summer without serious consequences. We have to be smart about how we re-open safely.”

In March, the System’s universities moved classes online and began refunding millions of dollars to students for housing and meals as they left to finish the semester from home. Summer courses largely remain online.

The System’s state agencies lost revenue because they had to cancel opportunities such as the summer fire training school taught in College Station.

To re-open in the fall, System leaders have been discussing a series of options, including reducing class sizes, expanding and staggering class schedules to maintain social distancing, as well as investigating the expensive proposition of testing and contact tracing.

The Regents made no decision Thursday, waiting until later to gauge the virus’ threat in Texas.

“We can’t wait until August to develop plans to re-open,” said Chancellor Sharp. “We have to prepare simultaneously for different scenarios.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Hypersonic Test Center for U.S. Army Speeds Ahead

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Regents approve $79.3 Million for Tech Innovation Complex at RELLIS

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Construction of the Bush Combat Development Complex is set to begin this fall after The Texas A&M University System Regents cast three votes to help transform how the U.S. Army prepares for future combat.

Regents voted to amend the system’s capital budget, adding $79.3 million to build the nation’s  biggest enclosed-tube hypersonic testing facility as well as testing grounds for both air and land combat vehicles at the RELLIS campus. The facilities are key to accomplishing the Austin-based US Army Futures Command’s modernization mission by allowing soldiers from Fort Hood and the A&M Corps of Cadets to test high-tech prototypes as they are being developed.

“This is a historic vote,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Today’s vote will not only transform Texas A&M and the RELLIS campus, it will transform Central Texas and the U.S. Army.”

The $200 million Bush Combat Development Center will support the U.S. Army’s desire to quicken its procurement process dramatically, accelerating it to something closer to tech advances in the private sector.

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, headquartered at the RELLIS campus, has already signed a $65 million cooperative research agreement with the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC)-Army Research Laboratory (ARL). In addition, the 86th Texas State Legislature appropriated $50 million to Governor Greg Abbott to transfer to Texas A&M Engineering Experimental Station (TEES) for Army Futures Command efforts.

“Texas A&M and the RELLIS campus will become a nexus for collaboration and high-tech testing in service to our nation’s security,” said Elaine Mendoza, chairman of the A&M System board. “Today’s vote will bring hundreds of millions worth of private investment to Central Texas as these facilities come to life. Simply put, this is where American defense contractors will want to set up shop if they want to work with the U.S. Army Futures Command.”

The complex will feature the nation’s only kilometer-long hypersonic facility to help determine the best design and materials for the fastest vehicles ever built. It will also have laboratories, runways, underground and open-air ranges and a resilient network of sensors and systems for experimentation, data collection, analysis and storage.

The Texas A&M System is perfectly positioned to accelerate Army modernization.

“Our culture of service grows out a rich military tradition,” said M. Katherine Banks, Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Laboratories at Texas A&M. “Through the A&M Corps of Cadets, our university produces more U.S. officers than any university besides the nation’s service-branch academies.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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From 9/11 to COVID-19: Chief Nim Kidd Answers the Call

From 9/11 to COVID-19: Chief Nim Kidd Answers the Call

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Though he spends night and day thinking about the devastation from hurricanes, wildfires and pandemics, Chief Nim Kidd somehow remains calm and deliberative.
Chief Kidd, the head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, shared his unique perspectives in a soon-to-be-televised interview about the successes and challenges facing the state as it tries to recover from the effects of the coronavirus.
Chief Nim Kidd answered questions from Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System for the latest episode of “COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds.” They touched on Kidd’s background, which includes a deployment to New York after 9/11 and responses to several hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.
Chief Kidd also offered his straightforward thoughts on issues including the reopening of Texas, struggles in assisted living facilities and the need for personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses.
Chancellor Sharp spoke on the show, which was taped at the headquarters of Texas A&M Task Force 1, about the trust Gov. Greg Abbott and top officials put in Chief Kidd in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When you talk to members of the Legislature, every single one of the 181 members will say, ‘If you have a disaster and you don’t have this guy, it’s a really big disaster,’” Chancellor Sharp said.
As chief of emergency management in the state that has more federal disaster declarations than any other, Chief Kidd stays busy leading the daily operations of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which last year became the eighth state agency under the umbrella of the Texas A&M System. But in times of disaster, his responsibilities expand. On March 23, when Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the White House requesting a disaster declaration in Texas, he designated Chief Kidd as the “Governor’s Authorized Representative and State Coordinating Officer,” which requires him coordinate with FEMA on all matters related to COVID-19.
Chief Kidd has overseen the increased production of PPE, the expansion of testing sites for COVID-19 and other coronavirus-related responsibilities, but there is still a looming threat that cannot escape his mind.
“We’re roughly 30 days away from the start of the next hurricane season,” he said. “We need to be ready for that.”
Chancellor Sharp’s conversation with Chief Kidd is the sixth in a special series of television shows. Chancellor Sharp is interviewing leaders, scientists, researchers and other experts who help fight the pandemic in a variety of ways.
The interview will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/7DkwgGVLbtY

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Federal Agency Again Honors Texas A&M System for Success in Protecting U.S. Secrets, Technology

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Award comes as foreign agents seek to steal COVID-19-releated research

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System is in a class by itself in terms of protecting sensitive information from foreign agents who want to steal it.

For the second time in three years, the Texas A&M System won the Defense Counterintelligence & Security Agency Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence. The award is given for work to protect sensitive information from foreign spies. The System holds the distinction of being the only higher education institution to win the award more than once.

John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, said protecting research is vital nowadays, especially given a May 13 warning by the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that COVID-related research likely is being targeted by the People’s Republic of China.

“The Texas A&M University System makes counterintelligence a priority,” Sharp said. “We intend to be a leader in protecting national interests and the sensitive work the Texas A&M System does in service to our country.”

The Texas A&M System is one of five entities to receive the prestigious award from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency in 2019. It is the highest honor given by the U.S. Government in this category. More than 10,000 corporate and academic organizations were in the running.

The agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense, began giving the annual award in 2010 to recognize cleared contractors that best demonstrate the ability to stop foreign theft of U.S. defense and national security technology.

The Texas A&M University System conducts approximately $400 million in sensitive research for a variety of U.S. government sponsors.

Officials with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency highlighted work of Dr. Kevin Gamache, the chief research security officer for The Texas A&M University System. They described Gamache as an expert who can provide first-hand insight into threats to American universities as well as how to fight those dangers.

The agency specifically offered praise for a briefing called “National Security in the 21st Century: Threats to Academia,” which Gamache delivered at FBI-sponsored summits and other events.

DCSA officials also recognized the Texas A&M System’s Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C. for working with Sen. John Cornyn’s office to draft language in the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation includes the roadmap to address the threat to federally funded research at U.S. universities.

“Texas A&M’s investments in counterintelligence and secure computing keep Americans safe and help us stay on the cutting edge,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Congratulations to the students and faculty at the Texas A&M System whose hard work is recognized with this award.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

System News Archives

May 2020
M T W T F S S
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