Army researchers connect with partners at APG Open Campus Open House

Dr. Thomas Russell (right), director of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, speaks during the Open Campus Open House at Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Mallette Auditorium Nov. 4, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Army researchers connect with partners at APG Open Campus Open House

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The U.S. Army research community joined its counterparts in academia and industry to discuss better collaboration techniques during a conference Nov. 3–4.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, held its second Open Campus Open House at APG’s Mallette Auditorium with about 700 fellow researchers from across the country.

ARL Director Dr. Thomas Russell led an hour-long question-and-answer panel discussion with the audience. Eight ARL researchers who manage the lab’s Science and Technology Campaigns joined Russell.

The dialogue focused on improving shared research interests to support U.S. national security priorities.

“Any partnership that is successful is going to be based on mutual trust. Engage as early as possible to develop a true relationship,” Russell said.

Army researchers focus on partnerships to advance science, engineering

Army Technology Magazine

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.

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Director’s Column: Partnerships

RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond

RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond

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.

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ARL teams with university partners to transform future materials

Army researchers are designing materials for the future.

Army researchers are designing materials for the future.

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.

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ARL, University partnerships

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.

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Agreements extend reach, ensure success

ARL scientist Kang Xu is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries.

ARL scientist Kang Xu is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Army researchers, scientists and engineers offer technology solutions to complex problems. But, they don’t do it alone. Through an intricate web of agreements, alliances and collaborative efforts, The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command extends its reach, expands its potential and gets the job done.

RDECOM has six research centers, three international forward element commands and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The forward element commands conduct technology searches across the globe and providing combatant commanders with science advisors.

Ten years ago, the Army established RDECOM to improve integration. The goal was to reduce the time for technology to transition from laboratories to Soldiers. Since then, the command has worked to increase agility and take advantage of technology opportunities to solve immediate operational problems.

“RDECOM is the Army’s go-to organization for scientific and engineering expertise that defines the space between the state of the art and the art of the possible,” said RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond. “We deliver innovative technology solutions to ensure the United States maintains global battlefield dominance.”

Ormond said his organization provides engineering services and support to program executive offices, program managers, the Army’s Life Cycle Management Commands, known as LCMCs, and other customers.

“We develop technical specifications, administer contractual efforts, provide technical oversight of programs, engineer configuration management and much more,” he said. “Our largest mission is engineering. RDECOM has a strategic approach to identify, prioritize and resource critical engineering requirements.

Rapid prototyping is another engineering service provided by RDECOM. Prototype Integration Facilities, known as PIFs, develop concepts and engineering designs for rapid conversion into prototypes for immediate use by Soldiers, or for transition to full-scale production.

Most of RDECOM’s research centers have either a special facility that is designated as a PIF or have the capability. The PIFs focus on the development and fabrication of prototypes in limited quantities rather than mass production.

“Predominately funded by customer reimbursable dollars, the goal of each PIF is to produce results as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost,” Ormond explained.

Providing these engineering services and prototyping capabilities from a workforce that has developed technical expertise through hands on bench work and development of cutting edge technologies allows the Army materiel acquisition community to be a Smart Buyer, as defined in the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.

RDECOM Business Model

RDECOM operates in the Army acquisition process in three distinct areas:

  • Science and technology development
  • Program engineering and acquisition
  • Sustainment engineering

ARL researchers lead the process through discovery and innovation. At this stage, RDECOM partners with industry and academia to form Collaborative Technology Alliances.

One example is the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University. More than 10 years ago, U.S. Army researchers saw potential in flexible displays. With nothing in the marketplace, the Army decided to partner with industry and academia to create the Flexible Display Center.

Industry partners, such as Raytheon, Corning, HP and LG, work with academic partners, such as Oregon State University, Lehigh University and ASU and RDECOM research centers to achieve a leadership position in the emerging flexible electronics industry.

Once technology solutions have matured they enter an advanced development stage and transition to one of RDECOM’s six research centers. The centers cover all the bases with research in lethality, Soldier systems, ground vehicles, chemical-biological, aviation and missile, and communications-electronics. Researchers and engineers work with PEOs and PMs to move technology solutions to the engineering and production phase.

Finally as products are fielded to the force, RDECOM engineers work with LCMCs to provide sustainment engineering. One example would be providing upgrades to fielded equipment, like the AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, which was delivered to Soldiers in January 2013.

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.