ECU partners with Institute of Defense and Business to deliver specialized training

Committed to expanding educational opportunities to meet the needs of all learners, East Carolina University and the Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) are joining forces to provide specialized training for some of the country’s top decision-makers.

IDB programming offers customized continued education and leadership development opportunities to military, government and industry leaders. For over 25 years, the nonprofit educational organization has delivered executive education courses, online training programs and custom-designed programs to provide enhanced knowledge, skills and tools to better equip leaders for success.

Retired Lieutenant General Mark Faulkner, USMC, ECU alumnus and president of IDB, said, “Leaders in the U.S. military deeply value and appreciate the importance of being lifelong learners. IDB has provided executive and advanced education to thousands of graduates from across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and other organizations who have gone on to the highest levels of leadership in the Department of Defense (DOD). We are very proud to play a role in helping shape these leaders and making them even more prepared to compete and win.”

The executive and advanced programs are offered through ECU’s Office of Continuing & Professional Education and in consultation with ECU’s Office of National Security & Industry Initiatives.

“We want to partner with organizations that share similar goals and objectives and also strive for continued excellence, and ECU is clearly at the top of that list,” Faulkner said.

Dr. Sharon Paynter, ECU’s acting chief of research and engagement (right) and IDB president, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Faulkner, USMC (left) look to grow the partnership by developing new educational opportunities to meet the ever-changing industry, defense and professional needs.

Dr. Sharon Paynter, ECU’s acting chief of research and engagement, said, “We’re grateful to be in the position to support IDB in its critical mission while also furthering ECU’s mission. We want to be an engine of access and advancement for all learners through innovative teaching, research and creative activities. Through this partnership we’re helping deliver those opportunities to the ones making important decisions.”

Programs are created by IDB staff based on their experience in the DOD and industry sectors. Customized programs are also developed at the request of individual organizations to address a specific need or educational shortfall.

“For example, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Sustainment has identified a need for logistics and sustainment professionals across DoD to be able to think more critically and strategically in order to solve increasingly more complex and difficult supply chain problems. IDB created the LOGTECH program to assist in this regard,” said Faulkner.

IDB trainings cover a range of topics including leadership, strategic planning, contested logistics, innovation, risk management, data fluency, artificial intelligence, problem solving, critical thinking and more. Program faculty are subject matter experts and comprise professors, professionals and other experts from the public and private sectors to include UNC System universities, industry and the Department of Defense.

IDB leaders say the unique programs also foster collaboration among public and private sector organizations and academia to address shared objectives and challenges. Various government agencies, military branches and industries are brought together in an academic environment to share experiences and best practices and generate innovative ideas to achieve sustainable solutions.

This type of collaborative, solution-driven engagement is what ECU partnerships are all about, Paynter said. “We are excited about the possibilities that this partnership brings. By uniting our strengths, we aim to create an environment for innovation, education and collaboration that extends beyond traditional boundaries.”

Faulkner adds that as a legacy Pirate, this partnership has both professional and personal significance for him. Faulkner’s father, brother and sister are all proud ECU graduates, while Faulkner himself is a 1982 ECU graduate. He was even honored with ECU’s “Outstanding Alumni Award” in 2016.

ECU’s Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement will work closely with IDB leaders to develop new educational opportunities to further expand the partnership and meet ever-changing industry, defense and professional needs.

To learn more about the Institute for Defense and Business and the programs it offers, visit