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Maj. Benjamin Pimentel

PhD Candidate, Information Sciences

Maj. Benjamin Pimentel is a Communications Officer and Electronics Engineer.  He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy with Merit, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), graduating with Distinction, and an academic certificate in Cyber Warfare from NPS. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Information Sciences Dept. at NPS. Military education includes non-resident Expeditionary Warfare School, graduating with Distinction, College of Naval Command Staff (NPS), graduating with highest distinction, and the Joint Cyberspace Operational Planners Course. His operational assignments include S-6 Platoon Commander, Headquarters Co, 7th Marines from 2008-2011 (OEF 2009-2010), Network Operations Officer and Deputy AC/S G-6, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1 from 2016-2018, and Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force from 2018-2019. Pimentel's graduate education utilization assignments include Deputy Program Manager and Program Manager (acting) for Expeditionary C4/Cyber at the Office of Naval Research from 2013-2016. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), and the Meritorious Service Medal.

You were one of two officers selected for the Marine Corps Doctor of Philosophy Technical Program (PHDP-T) in FY-19. What prompted you to obtain your doctorate and go through the PHDP-T selection board process?

I was motivated to apply for the PHDP-T from a combination of my operational experience, academic background, and a prior utilization tour at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Throughout my career as a communications officer, I developed an in-depth appreciation of the challenges in planning, installing, operating, and maintaining command and control (C2) networks in expeditionary environments, including Afghanistan, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Additionally, my master's studies at NPSfocused on leveraging fourth generation (4G) mobile wireless networks for tactical advantage and, upon graduation, I joined a team at ONR developing advanced communications/networking science and technology (S&T) to support Naval Expeditionary Forces. The PHDP-T provided a great opportunity for my operational, educational, and S&T experience to coalesce in a valuable way for the Marine Corps. Thus, I applied to the program to study 5th generation (5G) mobile wireless networks, and plan to apply that knowledge to help deliver information and decision advantage for Marines and the Joint Force.

Why did you choose your thesis, “Temporal Connectivity as a Measure of Robustness in Nonorthogonal Multiple Access Wireless Networks”? Can you describe your research and how it could impact the Fleet and Force?

The future battlefield environment envisioned in Force Design 2030 is characterized by the proliferation of unmanned, autonomous and intelligent systems across all warfighting functions and echelons of command. Just as the explosion ofintelligent devices designed to automate various aspects of civilian life has given rise to the commercial Internet of Things (IoT), the complex ecosystem of sensors and actuators that will accomplish tasks ranging from intelligence collection to kinetic operations represents the evolution toward the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT). Fundamentally, my research contributes to the understanding of information movement through an exploration of the underlying command and control support structure. The results find specific applicability in the context of Force Design 2030 and the emerging fifth generation (5G) of mobile wireless networks.

Nonorthogonal multiple access (NOMA) wireless networks provide an alternative path to achieve 5G capabilities that do not impose the size, weight and power constraints of massive multiple input multiple output (mMIMO). In contrast to previous generations of multiple access technology, NOMA allows multiple network users to simultaneously use the same transmission resources to send or receive information.

What has been the most impactful moment during your studies at the Naval Postgraduate School thus far?

My doctoral education journey did not have a single pivotal moment but was an iterative, evolutionary process that changed how I think in two important ways. First, I learned to search for the right question to ask. This is often a difficult and time-consuming task, but ensures that the knowledge gained in pursuit of an answer is relevant. Second, I cultivated an awareness of the inherent limitations in any single epistemological or methodological approach to a question. This appreciation compels me to consider complex questions and problems from a multidisciplinary perspective in an effort to develop a more complete understanding.

"At NPS, The Students are the Mission..."

Maj. Ben Pimentel on the mission and value of the Naval Postgraduate School.

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