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Lieutenant Colonel Michael N. Dretsch | Ph.D.

Director, US Army Medical Research Directorate-West
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
LTC Michael N. Dretsch

Lieutenant Colonel Dretsch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Hull, England, UK. He completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Cognitive Neuroscience/Addiction Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI.

Prior to attaining academic degrees, Lt. Col. Dretsch spent 4 years enlisted in the US Navy. While actively pursuing his degrees, he worked in social services, including as a counselor in a juvenile rehabilitation center and then a social worker for the State of Washington, and in psychiatric hospitals for the National Health System of England. In 2007, after his Post-Doctoral training, he direct commissioned in the Army as Research Psychologist, and served as in several Branch Chief positions at the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, AL, until 2012. From 2012 to 2014 he was the Chief of Neuroscience Applications for Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, Pentagon, VA. From 2014 to 2015, he was the Chief of Research Operations at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. From 2015 to 2018, he served as the Chief Cognitive Scientist and Deputy for the Human Dimension Division at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Training and Doctrine Command Headquarters, Fort Eustis, VA. In June of 2018, Lt. Col. Dretsch was assigned as the Deputy Director of the US Army Medical Research Directorate-West, a research Detachment of the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, and more recently Director as of May 2021.

Lt. Col. Dretsch deployed to Iraq in 2009 as a member of a special team for the Office of the Surgeon General to assess the psychometrics of neuropsychological instruments for screening mild traumatic brain injury. His myriad contributions to the Army include regular participation and consultation in numerous DoD and academic working groups, committees, and advisory panels as a subject matter expert in cognitive neuroscience, soldier performance, combat-related neurologic and psychologic injury (i.e., traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress). Lt. Col. Dretsch serves on multiple editorial boards and as an ad hoc reviewer for myriad scientific journals. His research has resulted in 4 Magna Cum Laude Merit Awards from 2015 to 2017 at varying conferences in the field of neuroimaging. He holds 4 Additional Skills Identifiers including Medical Research, Development, Test and Evaluation; Capabilities Developments; Master Resilience Trainer; and Acquisitions Officer.

Staff Sergeant Michael Shorter

NCOIC, US Army Medical Research Directorate-West
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
SSG Michael Shorter

Staff Sgt. Michael Shorter earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Ashford University, San Diego CA. He is currently working on completing a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Trident University.

Following graduation as a Behavioral Health Specialist from Advanced Individual Training, San Antonio, Texas, Staff Sgt. Shorter was assigned to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center as the NCOIC of the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program and served as a behavioral health specialist in the embedded behavioral health clinics on the Fort Hood installation from 2011-2014. His next duty assignment was Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he served as the Assessment Division NCOIC for the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility from 2014-2017. He would later go on to be assigned to the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, AL where he served as (1) NCOIC of the Warfighter Performance Groups and (2) NCOIC of Operations to the Brigade's Commander and Senior Enlisted Advisor from 2017-2021. As of July 2021, he has been assigned as the NCOIC of the US Army Medical Research Directorate – West (USAMRD-West), a research detachment of the WRAIR.

Staff Sgt. Shorter has earned two Army Commendation Medal, six Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and Four Certificate of Achievement Awards.