Partnerships for Synergy

A U.S. Army Ranger assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, transmits information during Task Force Training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan. 31, 2014. Rangers constantly train to maintain their technical proficiency. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock)

A U.S. Army Ranger assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, transmits information during Task Force Training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan. 31, 2014. Rangers constantly train to maintain their technical proficiency. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock)

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.

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Sixty years of partnering

Soldiers install solar shade at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Mass.

Soldiers install solar shade at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Mass. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

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.”

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Propulsion Collaboration

AMRDEC, NASA work together on propulsion research.

AMRDEC, NASA work together on propulsion research.

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.”

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Army, General Motors sign partnership

TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, GM's Charlie Freese and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin cut the ribbon on the three Fuel Cell Automated Testing Systems which will be shared by TARDEC and GM through a CRADA.

TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, GM’s Charlie Freese and U.S.
Rep. Sander Levin cut the ribbon on the three Fuel Cell Automated Testing Systems
which will be shared by TARDEC and GM through a CRADA. (U.S. Army photo)

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.”

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Field support training takes on a system-of-systems approach

CERDEC and PEO C3T engineers supporting the assessment were instrumental in identifying and helping to resolve issues with the CS 13 network architecture and providing recommendations on techniques and procedures for successful deployment and operation of CS 13 equipment and network.

CERDEC and PEO C3T engineers supporting the assessment were instrumental in identifying and helping to resolve issues with the CS 13 network architecture and providing recommendations on techniques and procedures for successful deployment and operation of CS 13 equipment and network. (U.S. Army photo)

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.

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Bio-technological advances

Army Research Office extends University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies research.

Army Research Office extends University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies 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.

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Spotlight: Research scientist Peter Khooshabeh

Peter Khooshabeh is an ARL research fellow in ICT’s virtual humans group. His work explores the social effects that virtual humans can have on people in areas including culture, thought and emotion.

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.

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Back to the Future

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty Carter is scanned in ICT's Light Stage 6, a nine-meter sphere with more than 6,000 LED lights that can recreate a person under any lighting condition. (USC Institute for Creative Technologies)

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty Carter is scanned in ICT’s Light Stage 6, a nine-meter sphere with more than 6,000 LED lights that can recreate a person under any lighting condition. (USC Institute for Creative Technologies)

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.

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International partnering is a win-win proposition: RFEC Pacific

RFEC - Pacific

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.

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International partnering is a win-win proposition: RFEC Americas

RFEC - Americas

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.

Founded in 2004, RFEC Americas, headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is the newest and smallest of the three forward element commands.

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Taiwanese military officials visit U.S. Army research facility

Taiwanese Lt. Gen. Shou-Fong Chin (left) receives a briefing about the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command from Director Dale Ormond at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., June 18.

Taiwanese Lt. Gen. Shou-Fong Chin (left) receives a briefing about the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command from Director Dale Ormond at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., June 18. (U.S. Army photo by David McNally)

A Taiwanese military delegation met with U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Director Dale Ormond at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., June 18. The group is on a tour of military sites around the nation.

University of Delaware partnership to become reality

Trabant University CenterTomorrow, officials from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command will enter into a formal partnership with the University of Delaware. In a signing ceremony at the campus, RDECOM Commanding General Maj. Gen. Nick Justice will sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with school officials.

This partnership will reinforce the command’s expanding teamwork between Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and local universities. Army officials said Aberdeen Proving Ground has the potential to become one of the leading science and technology centers in the nation. “Educational instituitions, such as the University of Delaware, are needed as partners working toward a mutually beneficial future,” said Michael Lombardi, RDECOM outreach director.

“We are particularly happy to have UD as a partner,” Justice said. “It is a world-class institution that will enhance our workforce development, expand collaboration, and create capabilities on many levels.”

The agreement is an example of the hundreds of partnerships RDECOM has with academia and industry globally that allow the organization to “leverage the best technology from around the world to ensure our Soldiers have the best technology available now and in the future,” Lombardi said.

This should be a great event. I’ll post photos and some of the video that we shoot. Strength through technology!