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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Feb. 18, 2014) — Army researchers, scientists and engineers are collaborating and sharing to leverage limited resources and discover leap-ahead technologies.
“I think collaboration is really essential,” said Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “No single person or organization possesses a monopoly on innovative ideas. It is critical for us to collaborate with industry, academia, federally funded R&D centers and other government organizations to solve difficult problems. So my vision is that we will collaborate across the board to spur innovation.”
Shyu gave the featured interview in the March issue of Army Technology Magazine, a publication of science and technology news from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. Partnership is the focus of the new issue.
By Dale A. Ormond, RDECOM Director
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command depends on partnerships to develop world-class technology and engineering solutions. Our mission is only achievable if we continue to reach out and build partnerships across all of our core competencies.
The automotive industry, for example, is very interested in collaborating with us. Our tank and automotive research center recently signed a formal research agreement with General Motors for hydrogen fuel research.
Partnering with America’s automakers gives us tremendous opportunities to leverage their technology development while contributing to the industry knowledge base. Also, we partner with the University of Michigan and Michigan State to help develop the next generation of automotive engineers who are working on our most challenging problems. All of this gives us direct engagement with leading edge of technology.
The engineers at our aviation and missile center collaborate with NASA scientists on areas of mutual interest such as logistics, engineering, safety, quality and assurance. We face many of the same issues, and when we share best practices with each other, both organizations benefit.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Heidi Shyu serves as the Army acquisition executive, the senior procurement executive, science advisor to the Secretary of the Army, and the Army’s senior research and development official. She also has principal responsibility for all Department of the Army matters related to logistics. She appoints and manages program executive officers and manages the Army Acquisition Corps and Army Acquisition Workforce.
What is your vision for ASA(ALT) collaboration with industry, academia and other organizations?
I think collaboration is really essential. No single person or organization possesses a monopoly on innovative ideas. It is critical for us to collaborate with industry, academia, federally funded R&D centers and other government organizations to solve difficult problems. So my vision is that we will collaborate across the board to spur innovation.
In the S&T arena, we work closely with academia. We also have the Broad Agency Announcement, small business forums, cross–service collaboration on Research, Development, Test and Evaluation. We collaborate with DARPA and university affiliated research centers. We have individual investigator grants and collaborations with partner nations. Defense companies are willing to invest their R&D dollars to help solve the Army’s challenges, so we need to dialogue with them to inform them of our challenges and stay abreast of their ideas, design and development activities. The goal is to get a multitude of ideas to figure out how to solve problems. Collaboration is critical.
How do you see technology providing Soldiers with the decisive edge?
There are many technologies that can provide Soldiers with the decisive edge. One of our key goals is to develop lighter and stronger armor. Why? Because it will enhance survivability and improve mobility. We’re also developing initiatives like continuous soldier health sensing and monitoring, disruptive energetic materials that could provide increased lethality, bio-inspired sensing to eliminate tactical surprise, and energy harvesting to reduce our dependence on fuel.
How do budget concerns affect your vision?
The Army has by and large protected its S&T budget. The rest of the budget has faced double-digit reductions. The American Soldier is the best equipped in the world – thanks to our materiel enterprise. We must continue to invest in S&T in order to equip our Soldier of the future.
We have focused on a 30-year plan, called the long-range investment requirements analysis, or LIRA, which is enabling us to link S&T efforts to programs of record. This will allow us to focus our research activities to address capability shortfalls.
How does ASA(ALT) partner with U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, its centers and laboratories?
The partnership we have with RDECOM is critical. RDECOM plays a very important role across all of the PEOs and the acquisition community by providing critical functions and skill sets such as research, development, systems engineering, design, performance analysis, modeling and simulation, software, reliability analysis, prototyping, integration and test, and more. For example:
- CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate S&T provided our Soldiers the ability to dominate the night
- NSRDEC has provided transportable high energy efficient shower units, kitchen units and shelters
- AMRDEC has provided critical missile expertise to PEO Missile & Space
- TARDEC has provided high-fidelity modeling and simulation capabilities that accurately predict blast effects on our vehicles and enable us to design more survivable vehicles to reduce injuries to our Soldiers
- All of CERDEC has provided technical assessment of the effectiveness of our tactical radios
What are your expectations from Army researchers, scientists and engineers?
It’s important for our Army researchers, scientists and engineers to stay fully abreast of the latest technologies and where the research is going. They really have to be masters of their domain to solve the Army’s difficult problems. We rely on them to give us the next generation of capabilities.
I’d like to see tighter linkages between the S&T community with the PMs, PEOs and the requirements community to ensure relevance, especially in this fiscally challenged environment. Ultimately we must understand the art of the possible and how to structure that for the future. As we look at the S&T capabilities we need to develop, I think it is critical for our researchers to tie into our 30-year road-map.
One of the key things I think the Army needs to do is ensure we provide our people with a research environment where they can innovate. We have world-class scientists and engineers in their field, and they are highly motivated to solve the most difficult problems for our Soldiers. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of our outstanding researchers, scientists and engineers, and I really admire their dedication, passion for their work and innovation. I’m very impressed with our caliber of researchers, and they are the critical enablers for us to develop the next generation of capabilities for our Soldiers.
By Dan Rusin, RDECOM
Over the past 10 years, the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has been striving to strengthen partnerships and collaborations to develop cutting edge technology for Soldiers.
One example is the technology enabled capability demonstration effort, known as TECDs. Through the synergy of partnerships and cooperation, TECDs are delivering many key technologies to fill official capability gaps identified by TRADOC.
The TECDs partner several independent efforts across and beyond RDECOM with larger Army goals and capability gaps. TECDs started as collective partner efforts by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology under specific portfolio managers, to develop technology to meet some of the Army’s critical problem areas using solutions that can be demonstrated between 2014 and 2018. A key benefit to the partnership experience links RDECOM’s products to funding and programs of record.
Industry, academia and government collaboration highlights different approaches
By Joyce Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs
Collaborative Technology and Research Alliances are partnerships between the Army, industry and academia that are focusing on the rapid transition of innovative technologies for the Army’s future force.
The collaboration between industry, academia and the government is a key element of the alliance concept as each member brings with it a distinctly different approach to research.
Academia is instrumental for its cutting-edge innovation; the industrial partners are able to leverage existing research results for transition and to deal with technology bottlenecks.
The multidisciplinary research teams bring together world class research and development talent and focus it on the Soldier.
ARL has a history of successful collaborations bringing together the triad of industry, academia and government, dating back to the 1990s.
There are currently four active CTAs:
- Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology, awarded in 2008
- Network Science, awarded in 2009
- Robotics, awarded in 2010
- Cognition and Neuroergonomics, awarded in 2010
Two Collaborative Research Alliances, or CRAs, were awarded in 2012: Electronic Materials, and Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments. Finally, the most recent Collaborative Research Alliance in the area of Cyber Security was announced last year.
Each CTA and CRA has a distinctive mission and focus. The MAST CTA conducts research and transitions technology that will enhance warfighter’s tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain through the autonomous systems. The Network Science CTA performs cross-cutting research of common underlying science among social and cognitive, information, and communications networks to enhance effectiveness in network-enabled warfare.
The Robotics CTA enables the creation of future highly autonomous unmanned systems and permits those systems to conduct military operations in mixed environments.
The Cognition and Neuroergonomics CTA conducts research leading to fundamental translational principles of the application of neuroscience-based research and theory to complex operational settings.
The Multi-Scale Multidisciplinary Modeling of Electronic Materials CRA is developing a quantitative understanding of materials from the atomic scales to advance the state of the art in electronic, optoelectronic and electrochemical materials and devices.
The Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments CRA is establishing the capability to design materials for use in specific dynamic environments, especially high strain-rate applications.
The most recent CRA came about when ARL established a group led by Pennsylvania State University last year. The alliance includes ARL, CERDEC, academia and industry researchers to explore the basic foundations of cyber-science issues in the context of Army networks.
For information about the Collaborative Technology or Research Alliances, call Kelly Foster at (301) 394-5503.
Tactical radio research promises new advances
By Argie Sarantinos-Perrin, PEO C3T
The Army formed the new Unified Lab for Tactical Radios – Army, known as ULTRA, to combine research, development, sustainment and acquisition efforts for the Army’s radio portfolio in a single location.
The new facility combines U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Program Executive Office C3T and Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center personnel and resources to provide economies of scale and better coordination of radio technologies throughout their lifecycle, officials said.
A Jan. 7, 2014, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ULTRA facility, which is located on the C4ISR campus at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., officially inaugurated an effort to support the full lifecycle of Army radios, from research and development, to procurement and management, to sustainment.
TARDEC Public Affairs
A Soldier’s perspective and a designer’s creative touch are proving to be vital tools when developing ground vehicle concepts.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center hosted three Soldier Innovation Workshops in 2013 to bring together Soldiers, students and engineers to create concepts for new military technologies.
The most recent workshop pulled together Soldiers primarily from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, along with transportation design students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and engineers from TARDEC and other labs and research centers. Working together, the CCS industrial design students drew more than 180 ideations that will inform the concept and requirements of an Early Entry Combat Vehicle capability for the Army.
Natick harnesses the benefits of partnerships, collaboration
NSRDEC Public Affairs
Soldier Systems Center opened in 1954, scientists and researchers have worked with a partners from prestigious colleges and universities, industry and other Army and Department of Defense organizations.
More than 700 U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center scientists, engineers, researchers and equipment designers work with their counterparts to provide a wide range of capabilities. There are nearly 90 people who are matrixed from NSRDEC to critical partner organizations. The agreements result in personnel assigned to NSRDEC, but who work for other organizations such as Program Executive Office Soldier and Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems.
“Partnering is the cornerstone of acquisition. As we apply science and technology to change the art of the possible, partnerships enable us to turn the possible into the real….real military and defense capability,” said Dr. Jack Obusek, NSRDEC technical director. “No single organization can do that alone.”
Critical mission inspire teamwork, collaboration
For nearly 100 years, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has served the warfighter with latest protection, detection and decontamination technology and equipment. The evolution of the center, from developing the nation’s first protective mask to producing the technology set to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in the coming months, has enabled ECBC to become the premier resource for research, engineering and operations solutions.
In December 2013, ECBC put the future first by investing in applied science proposals through its 219 Innovative Project Program. The program provides a platform for ideas that generates increased business from external customers and create a transition to the warfighter. In fiscal year 2013, the ECBC workforce submitted 34 proposals, nine of which were funded for the first Innovative Project Program.
AMRDEC, NASA work together on propulsion research
By Heather R. Smith, AMRDEC Public Affairs
Collaboration between the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and NASA is almost a no-brainer. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is just two miles from the Army’s aviation and missile research facilities.
Dr. Jaime Neidert, AMRDEC chief scientist for energetics said the organizations share much more than just proximity.
Several years ago, Neidert recalled a briefing about the kind of propulsion research going on at the NASA center.
“We realized that we in the DoD and in propulsion have a lot of common interests with NASA, although our payloads are different,” Neidert said. “When it comes to propulsion, both energetic components – the oxidizer – as well as the inert components, such as fuels, adhesives and insulators, have a lot of commonalities.”
Researchers, engineers work to improve safety of munitions
By William H. Ruppert, IV, P.E., Program Manager, Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program
It’s the year 2045 and your grandchild is deployed to the hot spot of the future, commanding a ground unit combating the latest terrorist group. The vehicle he is riding in is suddenly struck by two rocket propelled grenades. The vehicle interior is breached and the ammunition inside sustains a direct hit, but none of them explode and the crew has only minor injuries. They quickly assume their respective defensive positions from inside the vehicle and return fire on the aggressors, decisively defeating them. Their training and their equipment have not failed them. They will live to fight another day.
This may sound too farfetched or even impossible, but at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, researchers lead and support the Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program, or JIMTP, to develop safer munitions with the goal of ensuring the safety of our future warfighters.
The JIMTP is a unique partnership of government, industry and academic partners. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has program oversight, but it’s managed by ARL, and laboratories within the Air Force and Navy provide technical management. The partnership is essential to ensure the maximum return on investment in a time of increasing fiscal constraint.
These partners are working together to reinvent the way munitions work – making them almost impossible to ‘go off’ when the warfighter doesn’t want them to – while at the same time improving the lethality, reliability, safety and survivability of munitions.
By T’Jae Gibson ARL Public Affairs
Army researchers are forging new paths in material development to bring to Soldier equipment and supplies tougher than steel, from materials that don’t yet exist.
As part of a 10-year program involving partners from universities and industry, Army Research Laboratory scientists are investigating novel approaches that will result in the development of new classes of materials to protect Soldiers, their warfighting and communication equipment and the combat vehicles they rely on to get them in and out of warzones. Building upon expertise in coupling materials together to arrive at the best soldier solutions like ballistic vests and helmets, the ARL-led collaborative research team is forging a new path to develop new materials. They’re taking unprecedented approaches to examine materials. They will design the atomic level structures down to the crystal and molecular level to create transformational materials that will be used in future uniforms, electronic devices, armored vehicles and anything else Soldiers touch, or touch Soldiers.
When researchers achieve this understanding, Soldiers could then be outfitted with 30 percent lighter weight, more robust but less cumbersome protection equipment; weapon systems that have five to 10 times their current energy output; 30 percent more battlefield power; and electronics with 30 percent longer battlefield lifetimes. These improvements will free up Soldiers to focus on devastating the enemy’s willpower and ability to act.
This program requires Army scientists to model and examine materials in extreme environments.
TARDEC Public Affairs
Army officials formalized a major new research partnership with General Motors in a Dec. 16, 2013 ceremony near Detroit.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, both of Michigan, joined U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center Director Dr. Paul Rogers and Charlie Freese, General Motors global fuel cell activities executive director in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory at the Detroit Arsenal.
GM and TARDEC will share three Fuel Cell Automated Testing Systems to evaluate and demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell technology. Sen. Levin emphasized the importance of these two respected partners working toward a common goal — clean energy.
“All across the world, companies and governments are hoping to build the next ‘Detroit’ — the next international center of innovation and middle-class prosperity,” Levin said. “This [agreement] is about assuring that the next ‘Detroit’ stays right here in Michigan. This is a competition we cannot afford to lose for the sake of our troops, our economy, our security and the environment.”
Training and preparing for Capability Set 13
By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T and Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public Affairs
As the first units recently prepared for deployment with an array of new communications technologies, the Army’s acquisition and research and development communities teamed up to train a new breed of “super” engineers to support these advanced capabilities.
The Program Executive Office Command Control and Communications-Tactical and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center used a combination of classroom instruction, research facility exercises and hands-on experience to prepare more than 30 engineers to support and troubleshoot an integrated package of tactical communications systems the Army fielded to select brigade combat teams known as Capability Set 13. The team also trained units on how to configure, employ and maintain it.
The brigade combat teams using CS 13 have deployed or are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. CS 13 spans from the tactical operations center to the dismounted Soldier, providing mobile satellite and robust radio capability so commanders and Soldiers can take the network with them anywhere on the battlefield. It allows deployed units to cover increased distance while expediting decision-making and information sharing across more echelons than was previously possible in today’s operational force.
Bringing together research and development talent to improve the ability of the Army’s Future Force
By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs
To develop revolutionary capabilities for Soldiers on the battlefield, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory brings together world-class research and development talent by leveraging the vast intellectual capital of the nation’s universities.
The lab makes this possible through programs and alliances including University Affiliated Research Centers, Collaborative Technology Alliances and Collaborative Research Alliances.
UARCs are university-led collaborations among universities, industry and Army laboratories that conduct basic, applied and technology demonstration research.
Army Research Office extends University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies research
ARL Public Affairs
Army experts, along with leading university professors and industry partners have been collaborating over the last decade to explore biological systems that have the potential to drive sweeping bio-technological advances for Soldiers.
The research is led by the University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, or ICB, a university affiliated research center.
The Army Research Office extended the contract in December 2013, providing an additional $48 million over three years to study high-performance biological systems and the translation of these to engineering systems of benefit to Soldiers.
“Looking ahead, the value first and foremost will be a more comprehensive integration between the ICB and partners in Army and industry,” said Robert J. Kokoska, who manages the relationship with the center for ARO.
By Orli Belman, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
When ICT’s Peter Khooshabeh was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley he worked on developing a virtual practice tool for surgeons. The idea was that an individual interacting in this simulated scenario would show improved outcomes in the operating room. But when Khooshabeh spent time in a real hospital, he observed that technical skill was just one aspect of surgical success. Any useful virtual environment would also need to capture the interpersonal dynamics of such a high-stress, multi-person setting.
“At first we were focused on putting just one person in this virtual environment but there are many players involved in any given surgery,” Khooshabeh said, a research fellow in ICT’s virtual humans research group. “I came to understand that the key to improving performance may not be in the quality of the technology, but in how much you understand about people and how they perceive one another”.
Khooshabeh went on to earn a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from UC Santa Barbara and continues to leverage technology as a tool to better understand people.
USC Institute for Creative Technologies brings training of tomorrow to Soldiers today
By Orli Belman, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
At the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, researchers specializing in the art and science of creating an immersive experience work with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to advance interactive simulation-based solutions for training Soldiers, teaching students, treating patients and more.
In 1999, the Army and USC joined together to establish ICT as a University Affiliated Research Center, or UARC, that would combine the creative talents of the film and game industries with world-class university research in engineering, education and cinematic arts. The goal: to make simulations more effective through the study and development of emerging digital technologies and engaging narrative-driven experiences.
Today, transitioned prototypes from this forward-looking lab can be seen throughout the Army, including video games designed to prepare Soldiers in negotiations and stability operations, virtual role players programmed to provide practice in conducting sensitive interviews and virtual reality systems developed to enhance therapies for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
RDECOM Public Affairs
Cooperative research and development agreements advance scientific and engineering knowledge through partnerships. The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has more than 250 of these agreements, known as CRADAs, with industry, universities and other government agencies to help expedite research goals.
“These CRADAs are with small businesses, large businesses and entities across the globe on matters of interest to Army research and development,” said Kendra Meggett-Karr, RDECOM Technology Transfer program manager.
CRADAs are formal agreements between one or more federal laboratories or research centers and one or more non-federal organizations. The government, through its laboratories, provides personnel, facilities, equipment or other resources with reimbursement from the partnering entity.
Non-federal partners also provide personnel, funds, services, facilities, equipment or other resources to conduct specific research and development that is consistent with the RDECOM mission.
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command scientists and engineers are stationed around the globe to explore international collaboration opportunities in scientific research and technology development, opportunities that will potentially close capability gaps for the U.S. Army.
Three regional RDECOM Forward Element Commands, known as RFECs, represent this international endeavor:
- RFEC Atlantic
- RFEC Americas
- RFEC Pacific
From basic science to insights on maturing technology, foreign research contributes to the development of U.S. products and provides solutions that improve American capabilities.
RFEC Pacific facilitates the Army’s S&T collaboration efforts throughout the Asia-Pacific region, which spans 36 countries.