• Taking Telemedicine to the Front Lines

    Jeffrey M. Soares

    A medic from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th infantry Division uses TEMPUS Pro in a tactical evacuation vehicle to assess a patient, record vital signs, and transmit telemetry and the patient’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care Card to the Brigade Surgeon at Fort Wainwright, AK, in January 2011. (U.S. Army photos by TATRC.)

    In an age of smartphones and high-tech gadgets galore, it may be surprising to hear that one of the next “big things” coming out of the electronics arena is being spearheaded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Fort Detrick, MD. 

    Since 2009, the USAMRMC has been directing, developing, and refining handheld telemedicine devices that could help save lives in theater. The culmination of this effort is drawing near for one of the candidate projects. 

    “The TEMPUS Pro is an advanced compact telemedicine system intended to support combat casualties in forward areas near point-of-injury on the battlefield,” said Dr. Gary Gilbert, Chief of the Knowledge Engineering Group for USAMRMC’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC). “The unit provides a capability for ‘point-of-injury data capture,’ which is a critical gap we are trying to fill.”

    A potentially important resource for medics in the field, the TEMPUS Pro combines three devices into one handheld module, allowing for immediate communication with other units, pre-hospital monitoring of patient vital signs and telemetry data, and telementoring instruction from more experienced medical providers to less experienced combat medics in theater. 

    The unit also provides real-time audio and video capability, which is extremely useful in transmitting images of the wounded patient immediately to physicians at distant locations. A transcription feature for hands-free voice data input is on the horizon.

    Born of a British commercial product developed for use on aircraft, the TEMPUS Pro is the result of a collaboration involving eight DoD organizations:  TATRC; Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care; Defense Health Information Management System; U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory; U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency; U.S. Air Force Medical Evaluation Support Activity; and Office of the Command Surgeon, U.S. Joint Forces Command.

    The USAMRMC team sees the opportunity for widespread use of the TEMPUS Pro in theater. About 25 units have been distributed to Special Operations commands for trial use, and the results have been positive.

    Designed to be lightweight, mobile, and rugged, the TEMPUS Pro is intended for use with tactical communication radio networks that support Internet Protocol-based transmission, so that signals can be sent out digitally over classified and nonclassified systems. With this unit, personnel can transfer data from one device to another—from the ground to the helicopter to the hospital—keeping the patient’s medical information intact during transport out of the field. 

    Using either the standard military first responder medical data card, called the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Card, or a wireless “smart dog tag” that the Soldier could carry or wear, the patient’s vital records can be exchanged wirelessly between various systems and eventually placed into a permanent medical record. Using this secure digital system, data are neither lost nor compromised.

    While storage of patient data is important, the device’s capabilities for transmitting both still photos and live video of injuries are essential for medics in the field. 

    Using the TEMPUS Pro, medics can quickly assess severe injuries and send real-time images to experienced surgeons off-site. The physician-mentor can immediately guide the medics through life-saving techniques instead of delaying effective treatment.  

    With ultrasound and laryngoscope capabilities in the works, the effectiveness of the field medic will increase exponentially. The ability to capture and transmit internal images will afford a more complete assessment of patient trauma, leading to more accurate diagnoses and treatment.

    TEMPUS Pro was tested within tactical vehicles to monitor and transmit real-time patient telemetry data over tactical radios during the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance On-the-Move communications integration exercise at Fort Dix, NJ, in July.

    The USAMRMC team sees the opportunity for widespread use of the TEMPUS Pro in theater. About 25 units have been distributed to Special Operations commands for trial use, and the results have been positive.

    Gilbert said the estimated price per unit is “in the ballpark” of the Propaq medical device currently used by the U.S. military, although the TEMPUS Pro has additional capabilities that are potentially more useful to the field medic.

    “The medics from the USAMRMC, Special Operations Forces, Air Combat Command, and 1-25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team who have trained on this device said they like the unit and believe it would help tremendously in the field,” said Gilbert.

    The TEMPUS Pro has been selected for the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation exercise to be held at Fort Bliss, TX, beginning in April 2012. The device will be field-tested for two months to determine its operational effectiveness within infantry brigade combat teams. The TEMPUS Pro has also been chosen for testing in a Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory limited objective experiment scheduled for August. 

    The USAMRMC team, including Gilbert, believes these two rigorous tests should help to validate the applicability and usefulness of the TEMPUS Pro. The anticipated success of the device in these exercises may help to confirm its potential for treating—and saving—wounded Soldiers on the battlefield.


    • JEFFREY M. SOARES is a Communications Specialist with USAMRMC Public Affairs. He holds a B.S. in secondary education and English from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland.

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  • Laser Detecting Sets Ensure Air Crews’ Safety

    Brandon Pollachek

    AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets are being integrated onto various aircraft, including the UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter. (Photo courtesy of PEO IEW&S.)

    In a Connecticut industrial plant, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, a system that has provided Soldiers with vital protection reached a significant milestone on Dec. 7, which happened to be the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The Army accepted the delivery of the 1,000th AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Set (LDS) from the Goodrich Corp. during a ceremony at the contractor’s facility in Danbury, CT. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy; BG Harold J. Greene, Program Executive Officer Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S); and COL John Leaphart, Project Manager Aircraft Survivability Equipment, spoke to an audience of 500 employees, members of the Connecticut National Guard, and state and local officials about the value the sensors provide.

    The system operates as part of the Aircraft Survivability Equipment suite on rotary-wing aircraft, which provides the air crew with a warning when the aircraft is illuminated by laser-guided or -aided weapons. The first AN/AVR-2B LDS was delivered in November 2006 with an Army objective ultimately to buy 1,880 systems. LDSs are being integrated onto the AH-64D Apache, HH-60L Pave Hawk, UH-60L Black Hawk, and OH-58D Kiowa helicopters with plans to begin integration on the CH-47 Chinook in FY12.

    The ability to be aware of their surroundings and be confident that they will not be surprised by an enemy threat allows air crews to focus on mission objectives while flying sorties. The confidence the AN/AVR-2B provides is the result of a cooperative effort between the government and industry.

    “It is crucial for my team to be first-rate, and the teams and organizations that we seek to do business with need to be first-rate as well, because there is no negotiating on the level of protection we provide our Soldiers who deploy in harm’s way,” said Leaphart. “What you do has meaning, it has impact, it has consequence. It matters to our Soldiers who are deployed, it matters to their families, it matters to our taxpayers, and it matters to our country.”

    In addressing the crowd, Greene pointed out that a sign of the system’s success is the fact that the program goes unrecognized because the system is continually flying on missions and preventing the loss of air crews, passengers, and aircraft.

    The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems.

    “It is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Following that event, we sent many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines off to war, but we also pulled together as a Nation back here and put a tremendous effort with our industrial base into producing the best equipment we could to provide our Soldiers an advantage on the battlefield,” said Greene. “You carry on that tradition today. This is a team sport with those who wear the uniform, supported by those in the community who provide them the best possible equipment, because we never want to send our Soldiers into a fair fight. Our Soldiers have a tremendous advantage, and that is what you are providing. You’re nullifying enemy weapon systems that they could use to kill or injure our brave men and women.”

    The performance of the AN/AVR-2B program shows that it is a major success for both of its customers: the Soldier and the American taxpayer.

    The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems. It offers a 40 percent weight reduction and 30 percent less power consumption—significant benefits for the aviation community where size, weight, and power are at a premium. It is six times more reliable, with 2,500 hours mean time between failures vs. 400 hours over preceding systems.

    The LDS is 30 percent less expensive than previous laser detection systems, while offering air crews a multitude of interface options. Since the program’s inception, the AN/AVR-2B has been produced at a rate of 20 systems per month, with a reliability of 100 percent on-time deliveries since production began.

    During the ceremony, Malloy discussed the unique role Connecticut has had in supporting the military since the earliest days of the Nation. “From one citizen to another, thank you for your hard work and diligence in this matter,” said Malloy. “We have the best military in the world, the best trained, the best outfitted, most inspired, and we are in our part in our state making sure that they are secure and safe.”


    • BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Public Affairs Officer for PEO IEW&S, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has 12 years’ experience in writing about military systems.

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  • New Neurophysiology Device Helps Treat Soldiers in Combat Zone

    Dan Kennedy

    The Nihon Kohden Multi-Modality Neuro Device allows doctors to diagnose brain trauma earlier so that Soldiers can receive appropriate medical treatments if necessary. (Photo by Patrick Doyle, USAMMA.)

    The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA), a subcommand of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, recently fielded a Nihon Kohden Multi-Modality Neuro Device, responding to an Operational Needs Statement from the Afghanistan Theater of Operations (ATO). The device provides neurophysiological studies for forward troops, keeping Soldiers in the fight.

    This U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved device synchronizes various modules, coordinates data, and provides a detailed analysis of vital recordings. A theater neurologist then interprets the findings to determine the patient’s disposition.

    Ruling out mild and moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) until now has been extremely difficult within the ATO. This new device allows Soldiers to be diagnosed early for further treatment or return to duty. Early evaluation and intervention for forward troops can prevent a trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany while also keeping forces at optimum strength.

    According to CPT Matthew Kidd, who has performed approximately 20 studies using this device since its arrival in mid-September, approximately five studies have prevented patient evacuation to LRMC.

    All blast injuries have the potential for open or closed brain injuries. Neurological injuries come from a variety of traumatic situations. Indications for an electroencephalogram, or brain-wave study, include any critically ill neurological patient with intracerebral bleeding or intracranial pressure, or in a comatose state.  

    Patients with TBI are also at risk for seizures. Neck and back pain complaints associated with weight-bearing actions also raise the concern for potential nerve damage.

    Retaining Soldiers in theater is a major focus for the ATO, considering the vast majority of patients exposed to traumatic events without evidence of injury, or nerve or muscle abnormality. Sustainment of unit cohesion and operational readiness is critical to the U.S. military, and placing the Multi-Modality Neuro Device one step closer to the troops helps to accomplish this mission.


    • DAN KENNEDY is Chief of the Acute Care Division in the Medical Devices Project Management Office of USAMMA.

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  • Technology Improves Behavioral Health Services

    CPT Cory Gerould

    SPC Jeffrey Villar (seated), a Behavioral Health Specialist with the 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, speaks with a Soldier from a distant location on the telebehavioral health (TBH) system at Forward Operating Base Walton, Afghanistan, in November. TBH provides real-time videoconferencing and an atmosphere similar to that of face-to-face interactions in a more traditional setting. (Photo by CPT Cory Gerould.)

    As the brigade psychologist for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, using telebehavioral health (TBH) to conduct consultations has significantly increased my ability to provide services to a greater number of Soldiers more efficiently and quickly. Additionally, TBH has helped reduce some of the challenges that arise in connecting Soldiers with health providers downrange.

    Commanders cannot always readily determine when a Soldier may need behavioral health services, particularly when a Soldier denies having problems or is not ready to ask for help. Taking a Soldier out of the fight for several days would have considerable impact on the mission, not to mention the logistical challenge it would place on the platoon.

    TBH provides for real-time videoconferencing and grants an atmosphere similar to that of the face-to-face interactions in more traditional settings. As a result, the Soldier doesn’t  need to be moved or be held back from going on a mission to meet with an incoming provider, which enables units to maintain their combat strength.

    When the Soldier in need is not co-located with a TBH system, evaluations and follow-up services are easily coordinated around the unit’s schedule, supporting both the unit and the Soldier.

    While there have been a few minor growing pains in establishing the TBH systems, the benefits continue to be realized regularly. I have found that TBH greatly bridges the gap in accessibility and allows me to quickly assist commanders in constrained situations.

    When I meet with a Soldier via TBH, at the outset of the interaction I make it a point to explain the nature of the TBH system, including the potential limitations in connectivity. I also make sure I obtain the Soldier’s consent to proceed with receiving behavioral health services via TBH during the first interaction.

    Taking the time to do this helps the Soldier feel more comfortable and provides an opportunity to discuss any concerns he or she might have with using this system. This further engages the Soldier in the process and starts facilitating a therapeutic relationship.

    Terrain and decentralized operations have made it quite a challenge to move Soldiers or health care providers to outlying locations. TBH has proven to be a reliable and effective platform for increasing access to behavioral health providers despite these factors.

    This  article first appeared on http://www.mc4.army.mil/blogs/Field_Blog/October/2011#Telebehavioral_Health_Improves_Combat_Strength, a blog of the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care Program, within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems.


    • CPT CORY GEROULD is a Brigade Psychologist with Regional Command – South, Afghanistan.

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  • USAMRMC Protects Soldiers Against Unseen Enemy

    Jeffrey M. Soares

    A Soldier at Fort Benning, GA, prepares to take the new adenovirus vaccine, which is administered in tablet form. (Photo by Traci Vactor, MILVAX.)

    The new adenovirus vaccine, which replaces an older version that has been out of production for more than a decade, was shipped to basic training sites in October, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) announced. 

    Adenovirus infections cause approximately 15,000 illnesses per year in basic trainees, said Dr. Lawrence Lightner, USAMRMC Project Manager for Pharmaceutical Systems.

    Every vaccine tablet has been delivered to the nine basic training sites in all branches of the U.S. military during the initial phase of fielding. Immunizations began at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Fort Sill, OK, on Oct. 24. Use at the seven other basic training sites began shortly thereafter.

    Harboring in close-quarter living conditions, such as those typically experienced by basic trainees, adenovirus infection may resemble the common cold, with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, and upper respiratory congestion that may last up to several days. In rare cases, however, these symptoms may escalate and develop into pneumonia, which may be life-threatening in some instances. 

    “From this day forward, the work that we’ve done literally reaches into the gut of every military recruit during basic training, because adenovirus vaccine, administered orally, begins its work in the small intestine, where it starts the process of triggering immunity,” said Dr. Cliff Snyder, Product Manager for the vaccine.

    The new vaccine, which is administered in tablet form, offers protection against two strains of the virus, Types 4 and 7. In clinical trials supported by the Army and the Navy among other organizations, scientists found the new vaccine provided 99.3 percent protection against febrile respiratory illnesses due to the adenovirus Type 4, while stimulating protective levels of antibodies against Type 7.

    Harboring in close-quarter living conditions, such as those typically experienced by basic trainees, adenovirus infection may resemble the common cold, with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, and upper respiratory congestion that may last up to several days. In rare cases, however, these symptoms may escalate and develop into pneumonia, which may be life-threatening in some instances.

    “The DoD uses a just-in-time distribution concept for adenovirus vaccine, so the immunization sites do not hold a large inventory of adenovirus vaccine,” said Gerry LoSardo, Logistics Manager for the adenovirus vaccine program, who outlined the logistics plan. “This means that we rely on effective communications between the immunization sites, the distribution managers at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, the product management office, and the manufacturer. Naturally, we also rely on the capabilities of the commercial delivery service.” 

    Since the initiation of shipments in October, the manufacturer has shipped 66,600 doses to the nine basic training sites. There have been no missed deliveries and no failures to maintain the proper temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

    The USAMRMC has managed the research, development, and production of adenovirus vaccine in accordance with standard DoD acquisition processes; the program reached Milestone B in 2006 and Milestone C in 2008. The adenovirus vaccine program differs from many other acquisition efforts because of the critical impact of the federal regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

    “The FDA licensed the adenovirus vaccine in March 2011, but it did not release sufficient quantities of vaccine doses for distribution until August 2011; that’s when we started our ‘60-day’ clock for finalizing the distribution plan, and that’s why we started shipments in October,” said Snyder.

    The positive results regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness are good news to the relatives and friends of warfighters serving in the U.S. military, as well as the warfighters themselves.


    • JEFFREY M. SOARES is a Communications Specialist for USAMRMC Public Affairs. He holds a B.S. in secondary education/English from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland.

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  • Military Surgeons Association Names MC4 Top IT Team

    LTC Rafael G. Semidei Sr. (on screen), a psychiatrist with the 883rd Medical Detachment (Combat Stress Control), and SGT Marie Swieta, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge with the 547th Area Support Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), demonstrate the tele-behavioral health system in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4).)

    The U.S. Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) Program has earned the distinction of having the 2011 top information technology (IT) team from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS). The AMSUS Information Technology Award honors organizations that have made significant contributions in IT, specifically those that improve the effectiveness and cohesiveness of federal health care initiatives. In 2010, MC4 helped field the rapid expansion of technology used to connect Soldiers remotely with mental health physicians in the combat zone.

    The Army’s MC4 Program, within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems,  trains, fields, and supports IT systems that allow deployable medical staff to document and track patient care, digitally manage medical supplies, and conduct health surveillance in the combat zone. In addition to fielding new technology, last year MC4 launched new training initiatives to improve electronic medical record-keeping on the battlefield. MC4 users have realized faster setup times and easier use of the medical records system, while combatant commanders have gained better data integrity and a clearer picture of the population’s health.

    “By redirecting our resources away from classroom training and engaging users in garrison and in field exercises, deployed medical staff are now better prepared to use MC4 systems downrange,” said MC4 Product Manager LTC William E. Geesey.

    In addition to improving end users’ proficiency, MC4’s involvement in the Army’s Tele-behavioral Health Initiative is helping to connect at-risk Soldiers with mental health providers.

    MC4 Product Manager LTC William E. Geesey (right) accepts the 2011 Information Technology Award on behalf of the MC4 Program, from MG M. Ted Wong, Commanding General, Brooke Army Medical Center and Southern Regional Medical Command and Chief, Dental Corps, at the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Annual Meeting Nov. 9. (Photo courtesy of AMSUS and Gibbons Photography.)

    “Virtual consultations with Soldiers are allowing medical staff to recognize and treat post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and other mental health issues faster,” Geesey said. “Health care providers don’t have to wait until they arrive at the Soldier’s location to meet with them. Now they can chat virtually when both their schedules allow.”

    Initial data indicate that more than 70 percent of the Soldiers seen through this capability probably would not have received services otherwise. The technology also reduces the frequency with which specialists must travel to remote outposts to meet with patients. The initial capability was implemented in October 2010 and completed within six weeks of identifying the requirement. The Army has endorsed this solution and has directed rapid expansion of the technology and capability throughout Afghanistan.

    The MC4 team received the AMSUS Information Technology Award Nov. 9 at the AMSUS Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX. Geesey was also a nominee for the 2011 Secretary of the Army Product Manager of the Year Award. In September, InformationWeek magazine named the MC4 team one of the Top 15 Government IT Innovators of 2011.

    For more information on MC4, go to www.mc4.army.mil. For more information on AMSUS, go to www.amsus.org.


    • MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS FOR COMBAT CASUALTY CARE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

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  • AbilityOne Partnerships a ‘Good Fit’ for Army Contracting

    David San Miguel

    The U.S. Army Contracting Command facilitates agreements with AbilityOne and other organizations supporting those with disabilities to provide work for people with disabilities. Here, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind (SALB) employee Henry Martinez describes his job to SGT Harlowe Allen at the SALB during a visit from 40 U.S. Army South NCOs in June 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Robert Ramon.)

    One needs only to read the headlines, listen to the radio, or watch the evening news to learn that the unemployment rate is high and that thousands of people are without jobs.

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics reports that the Nation’s unemployment rate for November stood at 8.6 percent—meaning an estimated 13.3 million Americans are without work.

    Employment can prove even more challenging for disabled people, said Deborah A. Ault, Chief, Contracts Division, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Knox, KY. Ault was recognized in March as an AbilityOne Champion by NISH, formerly the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped. According to AbilityOne Program statistics, unemployment for individuals with disabilities is at an “alarmingly high rate of 70 percent.”

    The AbilityOne Program is a federal initiative that works with public and private organizations to generate employment for those who are blind or have other disabilities. It employs more than 47,000 disabled individuals, including more than 3,300 wounded veterans, at more than 600 community-based nonprofit agencies across the country.

    But the unemployment rate is just one reason that U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) is reaching out to contracting officers in the field to encourage them to do business with AbilityOne organizations. “It’s a good fit for the Army Contracting Command,” Ault said. “Contracts awarded under the program provide good job opportunities for people with disabilities, specifically disabled veterans. Once a service or supply is added to the procurement list, a long-term relationship is formed that should continually improve services over time and decrease procurement lead time.”

    Carol E. Lowman, ACC Executive Director, agreed. In September, she was appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People who are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    An avid supporter of the AbilityOne Program, Lowman does what she can to facilitate and encourage AbilityOne contracts. But, she added, “It’s the contracting officers in the field who do the work to support the program.”

    Contracts awarded under the program provide good job opportunities for people with disabilities, specifically disabled veterans. Once a service or supply is added to the procurement list, a long-term relationship is formed that should continually improve services over time and decrease procurement lead time.

    Partnerships between ACC and AbilityOne have extended to ACC-Rock Island, IL, where six legally blind individuals have been employed to help close out more than 120,000 contract files from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The workers came from the Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired, a 105-year-old nonprofit social service agency.

    Success stories like those found at Rock Island help educate the public about the variety of disabilities and how individuals with these disabilities can still contribute.

    “The biggest challenge is with the customer,” Ault explained. “Customers are concerned that people with disabilities cannot perform certain functions or that quality of service will decline. This is typically overcome by educating the customer about the variety of conditions that constitute disability, both cognitive and physical, and sharing contract success stories.”

    Lowman recalls an AbilityOne employee who was cleaning her office, and whose hours were being reduced as a result of budget cuts.

    “I asked him how he felt about his hours being cut,” she said. “He responded by telling me he didn’t mind because he knew that the money he would have made would be going to support the Soldier. He knew that he, too, was serving his country. That’s what this program is all about, and I am proud to support it.”

    “Support of the AbilityOne Program is the easiest part of my job as a contracting officer,” Ault added. “Knowing that as a result of my contracting efforts, people with severe disabilities will have job opportunities makes that support easy to give. It’s a win-win program.”


    • DAVID SAN MIGUEL is an award-winning Army journalist assigned to the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL, where he serves as the Editor/Writer of the command’s weekly newsletter.

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  • S&T Notebook: Looking to the Future

    Dr. Scott Fish

    This is a regular column by Dr. Scott Fish, Army Chief Scientist, on activities in the Army science and technology (S&T) community and their potential impact on Army acquisition programs.

    COL Lary Chinowsky, Dr. Scott Fish’s Military Assistant, presented the keynote address at the 19th Annual U.S. Army Research Laboratory/United States Military Academy (ARL/USMA) Science Symposium in Atlantic City, NJ, speaking to ARL researchers and Cadets. Here, Cadet Zackary Brownlee, U.S. Military Academy, prepares various methanol concentration solutions for fuel cells at the Army Research Laboratory. (U.S. Army photo by ARL.)

    A lot of exciting and great things have occurred since the last time I reported out to everyone. One of the most significant was the change of duty by LTC Amanda Greig back to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center and her replacement by COL Lary Chinowsky as my new Military Assistant. COL Chinowsky has hit the ground running and has already represented me at the 19th Annual  U.S. Army Research Laboratory/United States Military Academy (ARL/USMA) Science Symposium in Atlantic City, NJ. COL Chinowsky presented the keynote address and engaged in great interaction with both ARL researchers and Cadets who are doing fantastic work in science and technology. I was pleased to hear of the quality of work, the enthusiasm, and vigor that these Cadets showed for research, as they are the Army’s future leaders.

    In October, I met with researchers at the Vanderbilt University Institute for Software Integrated Systems who are performing key elements of the META program for the Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Army is actively participating in this program as a potential future leverage point. DARPA is targeting, along with the U.S. Marine Corps, the demonstration of the overall automated design and fabrication capability for the next amphibious combat vehicle development effort.

    The  Integrated Sensor Is Structure work involved building the underlying language construct describing components, systems, and fabrication processes that will allow semantic connection of models in a rational way. For example, a transmission model must understand implicitly that it can connect to an engine model and a driveline or load, and then invoke appropriate linkages at the interfaces without user or designer interaction.

    Early in November as a follow-on, I traveled to Dassault Systems in Providence, RI, to attend the DARPA Principal Investigator’s meeting and focused on DARPA’s Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) activity. This part of the AVM program  focuses specifically on the framework (compatible with META) for representing appropriate fabrication methods for ground vehicles. Examples would be machining, welding, stamping, and composite materials handling. Capturing these model effects is important both for planning the properties of the finished product or selecting the most desirable fabrication methods, and planning the best layout and sequencing of the fabrication process.

    ARL also hosted me in November, along with members of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center Survivability Team, to discuss the latest advancements in our vehicle blast and ballistic protection research and small arms. This dialogue was great for examining both our priorities and our methods for maintaining momentum in the face of changing threats.

    As a final note, I spoke on a “Tech Talk” Panel at the Military Reporters & Editors Conference in Arlington, VA, on Nov. 18. I joined Dr. Mark Maybury, U.S. Air Force Chief Scientist; Dr. Walter Jones, Executive Director of the Office of Naval Research; and Mr. Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in providing perspectives on what’s new and what’s coming in S&T for our Soldiers. I highlighted four key areas where I expected to see emphasis from the Army in the coming years: Soldier protection, adaptive/resilient systems, advanced training, and ad hoc networks to the warfighting edge. Note was also given to the seven Army S&T challenge problems endorsed by our leadership, which form the basis of Technology Enabled Capability Demonstrations being championed by Dr. Marilyn M. Freeman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology.

    Coming Up

    The next meeting of the Board on Army Science and Technology is Dec. 5 and 6. It will address the common operating environment. The Army Science Board will hold an Awards Ceremony on Dec. 7 with Ms. Heidi Shyu, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, hosting the event and honoring outgoing Chair Dr. Frank Akers and 14 other members of the board for their outstanding contributions. I want to wish you all a safe holiday season, and remember those who are serving to keep us safe and productive.  


    Previous S&T Notebook Articles: 

    Taking the Pulse (1 November 2011)

    Exploring Partnerships with Israel (27 September 2011) 

    Army Chief Scientist to Make Regular Contributions to USAASC Publications (2 September 2011)


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