Soldiers + Engineers +Designers = Innovation

TARDEC's third Soldier Innovation Workshop, Dec. 16-18, brought together Soldiers, design students and Army engineers to create ideations that will inform the concept and requirements of an Early Entry Combat Vehicle capability for the Army. (U.S. Army photo)

TARDEC’s third Soldier Innovation Workshop, Dec. 16-18, brought together Soldiers, design students and Army engineers to create ideations that will inform the concept and requirements of an Early Entry Combat Vehicle capability for the Army. (U.S. Army photo)

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.

Craig Effinger, the workshop’s program manager, said the workshop proved its value by giving Army engineers an opportunity to envision the art-of-the-possible.

“It’s vital that we have this tool to help develop platform concepts and designs by getting operational feedback from Soldiers,” he said. Sgt. 1st Class Parrish Smith, 82nd Airborne Division, said he appreciated the opportunity to participate.

“Working with these designers and engineers has been great. The designers are excited to do something for the military — it’s refreshing,” he said. “They have been receptive to our ideas — our input is very important to them. I have been impressed with the level of work they have put out.”

The Dec. 16-18 workshop included participation from several Army senior leaders including Maj. Gen. William Hix, Deputy, Army Capabilities Integration Center director and chief of staff; Brig. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, 82nd Airborne Division deputy commanding general for operations; and Tom Bagwell, Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems deputy.

“They reviewed the requirements and provided feedback to requirement developers and the design teams on their ideations,” Effinger said. “By getting everyone’s input, this process should help unify the Army’s approach to both mobile protected firepower and next-generation combat vehicle capability developments.”

Former-TARDEC Military Deputy Col. Charles Dease emphasized that the ideas and concepts generated at this workshop will help the Soldiers of tomorrow. “You are putting your fingerprints on something that your son, your daughter and your grand-kids are going to drive in the future,” he said. “Open your minds and throw it all out on the table — no idea is a bad idea.”

TARDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.

TARDEC's third Soldier Innovation Workshop, Dec. 16-18, brought together Soldiers, design students and Army engineers to create ideations that will inform the concept and requirements of an Early Entry Combat Vehicle capability for the Army. (U.S. Army photo)

TARDEC’s third Soldier Innovation Workshop, Dec. 16-18, brought together Soldiers, design students and Army engineers to create ideations that will inform the concept and requirements of an Early Entry Combat Vehicle capability for the Army. (U.S. Army photo)