• Tell me where it hurts

    Army Research and Development Improves Translation Technologies for Military Medics

     

    Amanda Rominiecki

     
    When providing medical care, it is critical that medics are able to converse with patients about their medical needs. Language barriers make communication a challenge and can hinder the delivery of effective medical care. Without the assistance of a human translator, a medic may not be able to accurately capture enough information to fully address a patient‘s needs.

    Maj. Johanna Perdue, a U.S. Air Force Medical Element nurse, and Christina Milo, a MAST team member, communicate through an iPad. The MAST project uses a commercial translation application as a baseline for machine language translation. CERDEC research through MAST has worked to perfect the way complicated words and phrases are collected and added to software in order to improve accuracy. (CERDEC Photo by SSG Bryan Franks)

    Engineers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command‘s Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) have spent the past year developing strategies and methods for improving machine foreign language translation software in support of military medical translation needs.

    The Medical Application of Speech Translation (MAST) is a collaborative research project between CERDEC, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), and the U.S. Army Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). TATRC is the sponsor and program manager for MAST, CERDEC provides the engineering support, and SOUTHCOM facilitates access to the operational environment and end-user base.

    “TATRC has identified a need to conduct research on capabilities that will enhance communication for Department of Defense health engagements outside the United States,” said Ray Schulze, Chief, Information Management Branch, for CERDEC‘s Command, Power, and Integration Directorate (CP&I).

    Translation software today learns, or becomes more accurate, in much the same way a small child learns, explained Yaeger, a subject matter expert in the area of machine language translation who has traveled to Honduras three times in the past six months performing technology demonstrations and collecting simulated data for the MAST project.

    “Medics are seeking a small portable solution, basically, translation software that runs on a mobile device that can be used without an internet connection” said Cynthia Barrigan, MAST Program Manager and portfolio manager for global health engagement at TATRC. “In addition, we know that while users are interested in using a translation technology, they are concerned about how it will integrate into their clinical routine in the field and how a patient will react to it. They are also aware that they will need the translation to be very accurate to be useful; giving them a vested interest in seeing real improvements to the current capability.”

    CERDEC has worked in the field of language translation for a number of years, supporting Product Director, Machine Foreign Language Translation Systems, or PD MFLTS, since its inception.

    “We specialize in language translation in the disconnected environment and doing so on various mobile platforms,” said Schulze. “After hearing reports about translation challenges in Haiti, following the 2010 earthquake, TATRC recognized that translation was a pressing need for the medical community and that we could assist with the engineering research and development to help accelerate a medical capability.”

    “The combination of automatic speech recognition, which takes spoken word and converts it into text, and foreign language translation [technologies] already exists, but the accuracy of those technologies is mediocre, at best, when used within the medical domain,” said Schulze.

    In some locations, Soldiers currently have foreign language translation technologies like the Phraselator, initially developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in partnership with CERDEC back in 2001. Those systems were developed for expedience in particular Soldier scenarios using, initially, one-way translation, and using generic phrases that require the user to stick to a script. Commercial translation applications also exist, but they are made for tourists in foreign countries.

    A U.S. Marine Corps petty officer interacts with a Thailand native using a translation application on a smartphone. Applications that can be accessed without an internet connection are of most use to medics, who often work in remote locations. CERDEC machine language translation research focuses on internet-independent translation software. (CERDEC photo by Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe)

    “Medical providers tend to use complicated terminology that can easily be misinterpreted by a machine”, said Schulze.

    “If you‘re really talking Western medical terms [to a commercial translation app], take mesothelioma for example, it misunderstands that word as Miss Ophelia,” he said.

    The MAST project aims to conduct research and development that can support medical care in the field.

    Armed with a variety of mobile devices loaded with a commercial translation software application called Jibbigo, the MAST team gathered useful operational data and observations, and demonstrated the technology to users.

    To date, collected data has all been scenario-based, meaning engineers created scripts based on their observations of doctor and patient interactions and recorded the scripted conversations between a native Honduran, volunteers and medical students, and SOUTHCOM medics.

    “The more data you give the program, the better it becomes. That‘s the purpose for us going and doing all these recordings,” said Daniel Yaeger, a CACI contractor supporting CERDEC CP&I.

    Translation software today learns, or becomes more accurate, in much the same way a small child learns, explained Yaeger, a subject matter expert in the area of machine language translation who has traveled to Honduras three times in the past six months performing technology demonstrations and collecting simulated data for the MAST project.

    “A child learns by listening to conversations, they absorb it,” said Yaeger. “It‘s very similar to statistical machine translation, which is what we‘re doing. Essentially, you tell the program that this sound means this text. You do that enough times and the algorithms behind the machine translation software actually learn those new phrases.”

    Machine translation is not expected to replace a human interpreter, especially for emergency or complicated medical practices, said both Schulze and Yaeger. Machine translation is meant to augment the number of human interpreters that currently exist.

    CERDEC CP&I engineers followed SOUTHCOM medics on several medical readiness training exercises (to observe how medics interact with patients. This includes observing the process of registration, triage, observing the types of conversations between doctors and patients, common questions a doctor asks, and how human interpreters are being used, said Yaeger. By understanding how medics interact with patients, engineers can determine the specific requirements that would be needed to put a machine translation system in place.

    Each trip to Honduras has used a different set of hardware, microphones, devices, and form factors to gain feedback from doctors.

    “Wireless was big, they don‘t want the wire to get in the way or have to disconnect from anything,” said Yaeger. “So we brought wireless microphones and packaged everything in a neat set up where you can just pick it up and take it where you need it. There are no wires, it‘s ready to go.”

    The observations also revealed a significant challenge to MAST and other translation programs. Shy, quiet patients in a noisy environment make it incredibly difficult for speech recognition software to hear what a patient is saying, let alone translate it.

    “It‘s mostly women and young children that come to these events in Honduras. It‘s very difficult to get them to speak loud enough and then interact with an iPad that they‘ve probably never even seen before. A lot of them are hesitant to touch it,” said Yaeger.

    While simple hardware improvements to the translation device, like an improved microphone, have dramatically improved performance in noisy environments, those same improvements do little to make a patient feel more comfortable.

    To combat this problem, a concurrent CERDEC machine translation project in Thailand has attempted to change the paradigm about what translation software can do for doctors. The common idea is to turn doctors into bilinguals by giving them translation applications. The twist in this program has experimented with taking an individual from the local population and turning them into the translator.

    “Instead of turning the doctor into an interpreter, we turned someone who was monolingual into an interpreter in that language,” said Yaeger. “We call them monolingual facilitators.”

    These facilitators, local volunteers at medical exercises, are trained by a bilingual translator to use the translation software. The doctor interacts with the facilitator in the same way he would with an interpreter, but the device is used to communicate between the two languages.

    “The facilitator is there as a cultural filter between the technology and the patient,” said Yaeger. “The patient doesn‘t have to interact with it [the translation device] at all. They‘re going to have a conversation with someone who lives in their country, speaks their language, and knows their culture. That facilitator will talk back to the doctor using the technology.”

    Not only does this set-up make a patient more comfortable, but it also proves to be more efficient. The same two people, doctor and facilitator, interact and use the technology all day, rather than having to teach each new patient how to use the translation system.

    Machine translation is not expected to replace a human interpreter, especially for emergency or complicated medical practices, said both Schulze and Yaeger. Machine translation is meant to augment the number of human interpreters that currently exist.

    While the recordings from MAST over the past year were scripted, they were all spoken by native Spanish speakers, as opposed to doctors providing medical terms in Spanish, said Schulze. The Spanish language sounds different when spoken by a native speaker compared to a native English speaker. Those differences impact the accuracy of translation software, so it is critical to gather data from native speakers for any machine translation program.

    These efforts are noteworthy advances in CERDEC‘s expertise in language translation, Schulze said. “We‘re not just collecting data. We‘re trying to perfect the process of collecting data for the purpose of improving translation accuracy. An example of this is the work we‘re doing with TATRC within the medical domain.”

    As the process of collecting data is perfected, the technology can be transitioned to other languages and other niche areas outside the medical domain.

    “The key is improving the process–that‘s how it will be transitioned to other domains,” said Schulze. “We ‘talk‘ to computers using a keyboard and mouse, everyday of our lives. It takes longer than simply speaking like we do to human beings, but it‘s just the most accurate way to interact with machines. Accurate speech recognition and language translation could revolutionize the way Soldiers will interact with computers and frankly the entire world.”

     


    • Amanda Rominiecki is a RDECOM CERDEC Public Affairs Specialist.

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  • High dose HBO2 Ineffective for Post Concussion Syndrome

    Photos courtesy of U. S. Army Medical Research and Material Command

    U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity HBO2 Project Management Office

     

    FORT DETRICK, MD. (October 24, 2012) — The U.S. Air Force, along with partners from McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center and U. S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC), announced the results of the first ever randomized, placebo-controlled trial of hyperbaric oxygen to treat symptoms and cognitive impairments resulting from concussions or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) Oct. 16.

    The pilot study, released to the public on the Journal of Neurotrauma website, demonstrated that high doses of hyperbaric oxygen 2.4 atmospheres absolute (ATA), given daily over six weeks showed no added benefit in symptom relief of mTBI or post traumatic stress disorder symptoms over a group receiving a sham therapy consisting of breathing room air in the chamber under mild pressure (1.3 ATA).

    Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is a drug treatment in which a patient breathes oxygen under pressure to achieve elevated oxygen levels in the blood and tissue for a period of time. It is an approved therapy for 14 medical conditions, including non-healing diabetic wounds and carbon monoxide poisoning, at pressures ranging from 2.0 to 3.0 ATA. Although it has not been approved for TBI, anecdotes and small case studies have suggested a possible benefit for service members with post concussion syndrome and post traumatic stress when using HBO2 at 1.5 ATA. A review of HBO2 and TBI by the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality in 2003 suggested TBI research studies should look at hyperbaric oxygen in a dose-response fashion.

    “The lack of benefit in this study may be due to dose selected, as many experts have argued a lower dose (1.5 ATA) may be superior, and alternate doses are now under investigation.”

    This study was conducted at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio from 2009 to 2011 involving wounded service members still on active duty, who were still symptomatic three to 71 months after their TBI injury. Volunteers were recruited from military hospitals and flown to San Antonio for eight weeks to receive the intensive study intervention.

    The 2.4 ATA dose of HBO2 selected was based on clinical observations that TBI symptoms improved while a service member was receiving standard hyperbaric therapy to assist in healing a traumatic jaw wound. According to Dr. George Wolf, a study investigator, participation in the study resulted in symptoms improvement in about 80 percent of the volunteers. However, those receiving oxygen showed no statistical improvements above the control or non-treatment arm. This higher dose of HBO2 was safely administered to and well-tolerated by the service members suffering from TBI symptoms. This pilot study infers that 2.4 ATA is not the optimal treatment dose.

    This study is the first of four randomized clinical trials being conducted by a Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs consortium assembled to evaluate rigorously the potential for hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of TBI.

    “The lack of benefit in this study may be due to dose selected, as many experts have argued a lower dose (1.5 ATA) may be superior, and alternate doses are now under investigation,” said COL Scott Miller, director of the HBO2 Project Management Office at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and the physician leading the coordinated research effort.

    Two additional clinical trials which are designed to examine those alternate regimens are nearing completion, with results expected within the year. These studies are also evaluating alternate ways to administer the placebo dose to evaluate whether the slightly pressurized air in the sham design may have contributed to any of the improvement.

    This study was primarily funded by the U.S. Air Force Medical Support Agency Medical Modernization Directorate and the 711th Human Performance Wing, with additional support of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the USAMRMC.

     


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  • The U.S. Army Net Zero Program

    Figure 1 – The Net Zero Hierarchy. (Source HQDA ASA(IE&E))

    In April 2012, the Army announced that a number of its installations had been identified to test a pilot program known as Net Zero. These installations would be a part of the Army’s overall effort to address sustainability and energy security challenges. The program focuses on the critical areas of energy, water, and waste, ideally consuming only as much energy or water as it produces over the year and/or attempting to eliminate waste through an established hierarchy. (See Figure 1)

    As a full partner in this process, the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) has pilot installations in all three areas of Net Zero:
    Energy – Fort Hunter Liggett, CA and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (PRFTA), CA.
    Water – Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico (PR)
    Waste – Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL)

    All USAR Net Zero installations have developed their programs to focus on achieving Net Zero goals and objectives as efficiently as possible, while remaining fiscally prudent and environmentally sound. As a key component of the Army, success in USAR operations in Net Zero will mean a contribution to overall mission accomplishment for the Army Net Zero Program.

    The USAR Supporting Infrastructure
    The USAR is a regionally-based, federal force that is comprised more than 200,000 highly skilled Citizen-Soldiers with a broad range of capabilities valuable in both the military and civilian sectors. Stationed in units across CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas, the USAR is uniquely positioned to support the Army at home and abroad—demonstrated by over 100 years service to the Nation and its citizens. (See Figure 2)

    Figure 2 - The Army Reserve Universe – 2012. (Source USAR)

    Supporting these units and their Soldiers is an extensive infrastructure that provides services and key capabilities. Fort Buchanan and FHL are “traditional” installations managed for the USAR by Installation Management Command along with three subposts of Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, MA and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. (See Figure 3) In addition, there are 1,200 stand alone USAR “campuses” consisting of one or more facilities. These are managed within the U.S. by four Regional Support Commands (RSCs) (the 99th, 81st, 88th and 63rd), and by the 9th Mission Support Command in Hawaii and the Pacific region. Until recently in Puerto Rico, all facilities were managed by Fort Buchanan, both on and off post, but recently was realigned to the 81st RSC for facilities off post.

    Figure 3 - The Army Reserve Facility Infrastructure. (Source USAR)

    Fort Buchanan Net Zero Water and Energy
    Fort Buchanan has recently completed a comprehensive water survey/analysis (in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and is well into the process of refining their Net Zero plans and developing specific projects to achieve success. Their primary problem in water waste (usage) is leaking pipes across the installation. Fort Buchanan recently hosted a visit by the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Environment and Energy to showcase their efforts and progress to date. (See Figure 4) Operational in March, the system is capable of supplying 100 percent of the facility’s hot water needs with a capacity of approximately 560 gallons of hot water storage. The system also features backup water heaters for extended rainy or cloud-covered periods.

    Figure 4 – This solar water heater assembly at Fort Buchanan has backup water heaters for extended rainy or cloud-covered periods. (Courtesy Anibal Negron, Fort Buchanan)

    Parks Reserve Forces Training Area Net Zero Energy
    PRFTA has a congressionally-funded, molten carbonate fuel cell demonstration underway which provides 1,078 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to the installation. (See Figure 5) A FY12 project is entering the construction phase to install a combination solar hot water/energy generation system for dining facilities. In addition, PRFTA is developing a solar project with over 2 Megawatts capacity (which includes portions of a microgrid) and is seeking to identify network storage and back-up generation as well as other alternative energy sources.

    Figure 5 – This PRFTA molten carbonate fuel cell demonstation provides 1,078 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to the installation.(Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE))

    PRFTA has also developed projects to modernize its outdated infrastructure. Modernization of the utility lines reduces the amount of energy lost while the installation attempts to isolate itself from the electrical grid. PRFTA is also attempting to incorporate an energy management control system across their facilities to provide better oversight and control of their buildings’ energy usage.

    Fort Hunter Liggett Net Zero Energy and Waste
    FHL is working their energy assessment and roadmap to develop their Net Zero program. Phase I of a planned solar array is operational and has generated 1,032,152.1 kWh to date. Phase II of the solar array is under construction and should be completed by the end of 2012. (See Figure 6). Phase III is scheduled for 2013 and is designed to incorporate necessary upgrades to infrastructure to allow FHL to disconnect from the electrical grid. The installation is also installing LED lighting and has other working projects to provide network storage and backup generators, utility grid modernization, an energy management control system, and other alternative energy sources. The installation has a project for a secondary waste water treatment facility that will eliminate the costly pumping of effluent from the waste water treatment facility to aeration fields a distance away.

    Figure 6 – Phase II of the FHL Solar Array is under construction and should be completed by the end of 2012. (courtesy USACOE)

    It is also designed to reclaim water, either for either use on post or for injection back into the aquifer. If approved and successful, this would bring FHL near (if not actually achieving) Net Zero water. In 2013, the post will receive equipment necessary to expand their recycling operations and is also discussing ways to dispose of the installation’s waste cardboard with the Defense Commissary Agency.

    Other Army Reserve Net Zero Actions
    The Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Massachusetts is working to identify opportunities for alternative energy sources as well as seeking to provide lighting, insulation, and other upgrades to facilities to minimize energy use. The 9th Mission Support Command is working with local providers to focus on facilities in American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Hawaii to provide solar hot water and solar electric generation. Finally, our regional support commands are working with the USAR Energy Team to develop an interagency agreement for our “campuses”.

    Net Zero is a concept fully integrated into USAR operations and forms the basis for our sustainability strategy in all areas—as well as doing what’s right as a member of the community. USAR senior leaders are dedicated to embracing alternative energy options and sustainable practices, making the Reserve an example for the rest of the military and ensuring that our Soldiers have the energy resources required to remain an operational force—standing ready to respond to domestic emergencies while protecting national security interests abroad.

     


    • Ian Donegan, Certified Energy Manager (CEM) is an Energy Strategist/Analyst with the Sustainment and Services Branch, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, Office of the Chief, USAR. He has 16 years experience in project/program management and as energy manager. Donegan is a CEM through the Association of Energy Engineers.

      Steve Patarcity is a Strategic Planner and Program Manager with the Strategic Plans & Policies Branch, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, office of the Chief, USAR. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Duquesne University and a Masters in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. PA. Patarcity is a retired USAR colonel.


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  • From the Top

    A USAR medical Soldier at an Innovative Readiness Training stand-down for homeless veterans. (USAR photo)

    LTG Jeffrey W. Talley

    The success of America’s Army relies on the depth of a multicomponent force and will require the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) to maintain their key role as part of Army force structure. My vision and strategy, outlined in “Rally Point 32,” will enable the USAR to sustain its support to the Total Army and the Joint Force.

    While the past decade has redefined what it means to be a Reserve Soldier, the Army’s increasing reliance on critical capabilities resident in the USAR has been generations in the making.

    In the early 1970s, the Total Force policy, also known as the Abrams Doctrine, was a major change to the strategic reserve. It placed a greater reliance on the Reserve force for warfighting and full-spectrum operations. The Total Force policy aligned major pieces of combat service and combat service support units into the USAR, making it essential to sustaining combat capabilities.

    The way ahead will involve varying levels of progressive readiness for the Army. Not all units require the same resources to achieve readiness goals. The revised Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model will provide a more balanced approach to training, mobilization, and predictability that Soldiers, Families, and employers deserve.

    The alignment created an active partnership between the active component and USAR, placing budgeting, planning, and programming for active component and USAR forces together. The doctrine was implemented in structure and policy in the 1993 Offsite Agreement, which, coupled with the Transformation Campaign Plan of 1999, overhauled the force structure and created modular brigades, laying the foundation for today’s essential operational Army Reserve.

    In 1975, former Army Chief of Staff GEN Creighton Abrams famously said, “They’re not taking us to war without the Reserves.” The restructuring of the Army in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and draft system were designed, in part, to ensure public support through the engagement of community-based citizen-Soldiers. At the time, the decision was considered risky in light of the perception that “weekend warriors” were ill-equipped and ill-prepared to mobilize.

    Having had the privilege of commanding both USAR and ARNG Soldiers, I take great pride in the demonstrated capabilities and professionalism of reserve component Soldiers. Any question regarding performance and readiness has been dispelled by the historic integration of the reserves, globally engaged in multiple campaigns across a full range of military operations.

    CPL Ryan J. Barger, from Orleans MI, 303rd Military Police Company, Jackson, MI and last year’s USAR’s Best Warrior winner evaluates a casualty during 2011 Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition, Oct. 6. (U.S. Army photo by SPC Cliff Coy)

    The Army Reserve Now
    I believe we have the best Army Reserve in history. We are an essential part of the total force: Every year since 2001, an average of 24,000 USAR Soldiers have seamlessly integrated with the mobilized force. No longer a strategic, supplemental component, the USAR has become a crucial and complementary force to the Army’s overall deployable strength and warfighting team.

    The Army Reserve comprises 19 percent of the Total Army for 6 percent of its budget. As a Federal Force under Federal Control, maintaining operational flexibility and strategic depth through critical capabilities resident within the USAR is a top priority for the Nation. The USAR structure is designed to provide complementary capabilities: We provide direct and essential access to the majority of the Army’s medical, engineer, quartermaster, ordinance, civil affairs, and psychological operations capability. More than one-third of our structure is combat support, and more than half is combat service support.

    Army Reserve 2020
    Developing Army Reserve 2020 as a versatile mix of enabling capabilities to Army 2020 and Joint Force 2020 is a key strategic priority. As we continue to provide ready and direct access to a high-quality, all-volunteer, operational USAR for Army and joint missions at home and abroad, we must also adapt to meet the evolving requirements of the Total Force and the Nation in an environment of reduced fiscal resources.

    The way ahead will involve varying levels of progressive readiness for the Army. Not all units require the same resources to achieve readiness goals. The revised Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model will provide a more balanced approach to training, mobilization, and predictability that Soldiers, Families, and employers deserve.

    Aligning Army Reserve Theater Commands with Army Corps, Army Service Component Commands, and Combatant Commands is crucial to keeping the Army Reserve part of the operating force. This alignment will provide critical staff planning and support and ensure the use of the Army Reserve’s unique capability throughout the ARFORGEN cycle.

    Forces that are regionally aligned will maintain an expeditionary mindset, and regional alignment will also broaden the core skills of Army Reserve Soldiers by including cultural and language training. The goal is to enhance the Army’s ability to conduct a full range of military missions worldwide, achieve and sustain security, stability, and peace.

    I take great pride in the demonstrated capabilities and professionalism of reserve component Soldiers. Any question regarding performance and readiness has been dispelled by the historic integration of the reserves, globally engaged in multiple campaigns across a full range of military operations.

    Resources
    The USAR has numerous resources available, with dedicated training infrastructure as well as training divisions under the operational control of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, making them a resource and asset to the Total Army. Maximizing Combat Training Center-like enabling training with the Total Force at our Warrior Exercises and Combat Support Training Exercises, conducted by the 84th Training Command, is key.

    Also, simulation technology and home station training will save time and training dollars. The 75th Training Division (Mission Command) is currently spearheading a proof of principle that, if successful, could allow distributive use of games and simulations at platoon, company, and expeditionary sustainment command-size elements.

    Legislative Authority
    USAR Soldiers are present in 1,200 communities across the across the Nation. They add value through military and civilian acquired skills and capabilities that can now be leveraged at home for critical lifesaving, property preservation, and damage mitigation events.

    The new mobilization authority for Defense Support of Civil Authority response contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 will serve as the mechanism to rapidly activate Federal Reserve Components in a complex catastrophe. The core competency of the USAR—the projection and sustainment of Army forces—lends itself readily to such missions. In the instance of a complex catastrophe, the USAR maintains 100 percent of the Army’s bio-detection capability, 76 percent of the forward surgical capability, and a predominance of transportation and engineering capability for the Total Army.

    Resiliency
    I would like to see a stronger emphasis on Soldier and leader readiness programs. In addition to physical fitness training, I expect my leaders to know their Soldiers and Families and work to instill resiliency.

    The one thing that keeps me up at night is knowing we are losing too many Soldiers to suicide. Learn to identify and recognize at-risk Soldiers, and let them know that reaching out for help is a sign of strength. There are programs and resources that troubled Soldiers and Family members need to be made aware of, and looking out for your troop or battle buddy is something every Soldier must do.

    I have high confidence that together our leadership teams will aggressively exercise proper authority within their commands to ensure adequate manning, training, and equipping to meet mission requirements. Leaders should emphasize technical skills in tactical environments—make use of our WAREXS [warrior exercises] and CSTXs [Combat Support Training Exercise] and participate in Theater exercises; this will maintain the warrior skills honed over a decade of war.

    As I stated in Rally Point 32, the future will require an Army Reserve that can enable our Army to “Prevent, Shape and Win” across a full range of missions. Reduced resourcing will require continued effectiveness with gained business efficiencies. The key to success is maintaining the right force mix in our total Army and keeping a balance in our personal and professional lives as we serve together.

     


    • LTG JEFFREY W. TALLEY is the Chief of USAR and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command.

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  • The U.S. Army Reserve Mission

    The Army Reserve’s mission, under Title 10 U.S. Code, is to provide trained, equipped, and ready Soldiers and cohesive units to meet the global requirements across the full spectrum of operations. The Army Reserve is a key element in the Army multi-component unit force, training with Active and National Guard units to ensure all three components work as a fully integrated team.

    To meet the challenges of the 21st century in the war on terrorism, the Army has had to redefine and restructure itself. It is becoming smaller, lighter, and quicker.

    • Enabling the Army to do more with fewer resources, by providing a flexible, well-trained, complementary force that can expand and contract to meet the specific needs and challenges of each new mission.
    • Training Soldiers at the highest possible level in one of nearly 200 specific skills to support the Army on any air, land, or sea mission.
    • Maintaining a force that can mobilize rapidly and skillfully at any moment to respond to a crisis or situation, or to defend America’s interests at home and abroad.
    • Building a stronger Army by drawing on the strength, support, and success of all the diverse backgrounds and communities across America represented by the Soldiers in the United States Army Reserve (USAR).
    • Anticipating the ever-evolving needs of today’s modern Army and helping it transform into a smaller, faster, stronger force while continuing to protect the Nation’s interests.
    • Implementing national objectives.
    • Keeping the Army mobile, efficient, and complete by providing specialized technological and troop support when and where it’s needed most.
    • Supporting national policies.
    • Preserving the peace and security, and providing for the defense of the United States, the Territories, Commonwealths and Possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States.
    • Overcoming aggressive acts from nations and terrorist groups that imperil the peace and security of the United States.
    • Giving back to the community by providing civil support, i.e. food, shelter, safe drinking water, and medical attention to our citizens during emergencies and natural disasters.

    Powering the Army and Defending America’s Interests
    The USAR has performed a complementary role to the Active component, providing combat support and combat service support functions to enable the Army to ramp up its capabilities to protect combat forces and sustain mobilization.

    The Army Reserve is a key element in the Army multi-component unit force, training with Active and National Guard units to ensure all three components work as a fully integrated team.

    To meet the challenges of the 21st century in the war on terrorism, the Army has had to redefine and restructure itself. It is becoming smaller, lighter, and quicker. The USAR is playing a critical role in this transformation. With more than a million Soldiers available at any time USAR provides a highly skilled, flexible force that can support the Army when and where they are needed most: in Combat Support, Combat Service Support, Peacekeeping, Nation Building, and Civil Support.

    The world theater is changing daily. In order to protect our interests, our freedoms, and our people, the role of the United States and its military must also evolve. To defend our Nation’s interests, the country needs a force structure that is both flexible and responsive across all its elements, especially the USAR.


    U.S. Army Reserve Data

    The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) makes up only 20 percent of the Army’s organized units, but it provides about half of the Army’s combat support and a quarter of the Army’s mobilization base expansion capability. At 5.3 percent of the Army’s budget, the USAR provides a cost-effective solution to the Army’s need for specialized capabilities.

    The USAR contributes to the Army’s Total Force by providing 100 percent of the:
    Chemical Brigades
    Internment Brigades
    Judge Advocate General Unit
    Medical Groups
    Railway Units
    Training & Exercise Divisions
    Water Supply Battalions

    More Than two-thirds of the Army’s:
    Civil Affairs Units
    Psychological Operations Units
    Transportation Groups
    Motor Battalions
    Chemical Battalions
    Hospitals
    Medical Brigades
    Theater Signal Commands

    Nearly half of the Army’s:
    Petroleum Battalions
    Adjutant General Units
    Petroleum Groups
    Transportation Command
    Terminal Battalions
    Public Affairs Units


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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Education and Training Opportunities

    The Army’s Training with Industry (TWI) Program is a one-year work-experience training program designed to take selected officers out of the military environment and expose them to the latest commercial business practices, organizational structures and cultures, technology development processes, and the latest corporate management techniques. The companies that partner with the Army in this training program are developers of innovative, cutting-edge technologies and/or established business leaders in their respective fields. Each TWI has been established for officers to gain program management experience.

    This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as only ten officers a year are selected to participate. For more information on how to apply, visit https://www.hrc.army.mil/Officer/Advanced%20Education%20Programs%20AEP. For information on the Army Acquisition Corps’ policy as well as specific information on each company involved, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/aac-training-with-industry/.

    By reviewing the companies involved, you can see if you may be a fit based on your background and experience. The application deadline for this program is Nov. 9. The convening date is Nov. 12-16 and the program start date will be between June and September 2013.

    If you have questions on how to apply or to discuss if this is a good fit for you, please contact your Assignment Officer. For other inquiries, please contact Marti Giella at 703-805-2700, DSN 655-2700, Marti.Giella@us.army.mil or Scott Greene at 703-805-1229, DSN 655-1229, Scott.Greene4@us.army.mil.

    The Competitive Development Group–Army Acquisition Fellows announcement is open through Nov. 15 to all eligible personnel in grades GS-12 through GS-13 or broadband/pay equivalent positions who are Level III certified in any career field. The program provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/competitive-development-group-army-acquisition-fellowship/announcements/.

    Defense Acquisition University Training

    Oct. 1, 2012 marked the beginning of FY13, and new FY13 classes are underway at the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). Acquisition workforce members who have not met their current Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act position requirements should view FY13 certification requirements at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/CareerLvl.aspx. After completing the requirements, apply for certification through the Certification Management System at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Certification requirements can change each fiscal year, effective Oct. 1.

    Students should continue to apply for available FY13 DAU courses. Planning and applying early will give students a better chance of obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. To view the DAU I-catalog, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil and ensure that you meet the prerequisite(s) before applying to a DAU course. A weekly low-fill listing is posted at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/tabnav.aspx, affording students the opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis within that 60-day period.

    Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar’s office until your supervisor has approved the training. Apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including systematic instructions, training priorities, and frequently asked questions, go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/. After receiving a confirmed reservation in the requested class, ensure that you attend the class as scheduled. Cancellation requests for a confirmed reservation must be submitted at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier, to avoid a “no show.”

    Career Management Questions

    Any workforce-related inquires, such as on DAU training, DAU Travel Orders, certification, Individual Development Plans, and Acquisition Career Record Briefs, should be submitted through the Workforce Management Inquiry system within Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP)/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System, at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Once logged into CAMP, click on “Help Request” for assistance. Otherwise, you may open a ticket without logging into CAMP, at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest.


    DAU provides a listing of equivalencies, at http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx, for all courses delivered by DAU and/or predecessor courses that are considered acceptable toward meeting current acquisition career field certification requirements. To document equivalencies accepted by DAU that are obtained from non-Army schools, open a help desk ticket at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest and request that your ACRB be updated to reflect completion of DAU equivalent course(s).


    On Sept. 4, the university approved the very first DAU equivalent vendor, Trio Consulting LLC, accredited to teach BCF 211, Acquisition Business Management. Students interested in taking the BCF 211 DAU-equivalent course should apply and contact the vendor directly. Trio instructors can bring the course to your organization to teach the course locally on-site. Contact Trio through its website at http://www.trio-consulting.com.


    The transition of BCF 211 to BCF 220 and BCF 225 has begun for classes beginning in early January 2013. BCF 211 will be split into two courses: BCF 220 (Web) and BCF 225 (Classroom). Students with reservations in classes starting Jan. 7, 2013 and thereafter will receive notification of the change directly from DAU, along with information on the requirement to complete the prerequisite course, BCF 220, before attending the resident portion, BCF 225. As of Oct. 11, students are no longer able to register for BCF 211; the course will be replaced with BCF 220 and BCF 225. Again, students who need BCF 211 must complete BCF 220 before applying to BCF 225.


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  • Army Refining Airburst Technology

    Modernization and improvements to the XM 25 and other weapons are based heavily upon Soldiers’ experience in combat and the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures used to maximize their effect. (Program Executive Office Soldier photos)

    Kris Osborn

    The Army is preparing to conduct a second Forward Operational Assessment of its XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) airburst weapon system. Program managers are seeking to expedite development of the system, refine, and improve the technology, and ultimately begin formal production by the fall of 2014, service officials said Sep. 20 at the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), Fort Benning, GA.

    The weapon fires a high-explosive airburst round capable of detonating at a specific, pre-determined point in space near an enemy target hidden or otherwise obscured by terrain or other obstacles.

    “We defeated any enemy force that we deployed the weapon against. The XM25 is a devastating weapons system that changes the face of battle when we are in direct fire contact with the enemy.”

    “The XM25 brings a new capability to the Soldier for the counter-defilade fight, allowing him to be able to engage enemy combatants behind walls, behind trees or in buildings,” said COL Scott Armstrong, project manager, Soldier Weapons. “The weapon fires a programmable airburst 25mm smart round. It consists of the weapons system with a target acquisition control system mounted on top. Development of the system is going well.”

    The XM25 represents the state-of-the art in terms of airburst technology, consisting of a programmable 25mm round, a sensor, and a fire-control system, said Dr. Scott Fish, former Army Chief Scientist.

    Using laser rangefinder technology, the fire control system on the weapon uses computer technology to calculate the distance the round must travel in order to explode at a particular, pre-determined point in space, he explained.

    “The laser rangefinder sends a pulse of light out to the target. This light pulse hits the target and is reflected back, allowing the fire control system to calculate the distance based on the time it takes the light pulse to travel,” Fish said. “Since the speed of light is known, the exact distance to the target can then be determined. Once you determine how far the distance is to the target, a computer then calculates how long it will take the round to get there.”

    The sensor and computer in the fire control system calculate the time it will take the round to reach the target by factoring in the distance it needs to travel and the speed at which it travels, Fish added.

    The 25mm round is engineered with a small, chip-based sensor able to track distance in flight so that the round detonates at precisely the right distance, Fish said.

    Earlier prototypes of the XM25 recently completed 14 months of Forward Operational Assessments in Afghanistan, an effort designed to provide Soldiers in combat with the advantage of having airburst technology and harvest important feedback needed to improve and refine development of the weapon’s final design for production.

    The XM 25 fires a programmable airburst 25mm smart round. It consists of the weapons system with a target acquisition control system mounted on top.

    “The Army has learned many valuable lessons from these deployments regarding how the weapon can be deployed and how tactics can be changed to better refine the design of the weapon. Based on feedback from Soldiers and contractor testing, we have already incorporated more than 100 improvements to the systems related to ergonomics, performance, and fire control,” said Armstrong.

    During its initial Forward Operational Assessment, the XM 25 provided a decisive advantage to Soldiers in combat in Afghanistan. While on patrol in Southern Afghanistan, Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division used the XM 25 to engage and successfully defeat enemy forces hiding behind three-to-four foot walls used by Afghans to grow grapes, said CSM James Carabello, MCoE, a combat veteran who recently led infantry units in Afghanistan with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.

    “The laser rangefinder sends a pulse of light out to the target. This light pulse hits the target and is reflected back, allowing the fire control system to calculate the distance based on the time it takes the light pulse to travel.”

    “We defeated any enemy force that we deployed the weapon against. The XM25 is a devastating weapons system that changes the face of battle when we are in direct fire contact with the enemy,” he said.

    In fact, the latest version of the XM25 slated to deploy with Soldiers in Afghanistan in January of next year includes a range of key design improvements based on lessons learned from combat. Units using several prototype XM25s in theater were accompanied by teams of weapons experts focused on analyzing the system’s performance with a mind to making needed improvements, Armstrong said.

    Modernization and improvements to the XM 25 and other weapons are also based heavily upon Soldiers’ experience in combat and the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures used to maximize their effect.

    Therefore, the Army initiated a pilot program aimed at helping Soldiers train and prepare for the many contingencies of combat. The Advanced Situational Awareness Training program at MCoE consists of either a five or 22-day “train the trainer” course with intense classroom teaching and field exercises, said CSM Shawn Cook, 197th Infantry Brigade.

    The training, designed to provide predictive tools and tactical problem solving mechanisms, is aimed at helping Soldiers make effective decisions in highly complex, fast-moving combat environments, he added.

    “We are required to put our Soldiers in harm’s way, and greater situational awareness provides them with more mission success and a safer environment. This training allows Soldiers to better recognize human behaviors in their surroundings, enabling them to make better decisions. Soldiers who have deployed after this training say that it makes a big difference in the outcomes on the battlefield, increases effectiveness, and saves lives,” Cook said.

     


    • KRIS OSBORN is a Highly Qualified Expert for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Office of Strategic Communications. He holds a B.A. in English and political science from Kenyon College and an M.A. in comparative literature from Columbia University.

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  • Army Examines Feasibility of Integrating 4G LTE with Tactical Network

    CERDEC enabled a mounted/hand-held computing environment that allowed for the dissemination of mission command data, imagery, streaming video, and voice between dismounted Soldiers and fixed command posts.

    Edric Thompson

    The Army employed a 4G cellular network this summer at its integrated capabilities testbed at Fort Dix, NJ to address integration with current network designs and to allow actionable intelligence for dismounted squads.

    The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s (RDECOM) Communications-Electronics RD&E center (CERDEC) enabled a mounted/hand-held computing environment that allowed for the dissemination of mission command data, imagery, streaming video,and voice between dismounted Soldiers and fixed command posts.

    “We’ve had a long-standing collaboration with CERDEC PD C4ISR & Network Modernization; they handle the network pieces and infrastructure while our focus is developing the user interface to portray the information in the most optimal way for the dismounted Soldier.”

    This was achieved by integrating a fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network with a multi-tiered transport architecture that leveraged components of the Capability Set 13 design,including the Soldier Radio Waveform, the Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform, terrestrial communications, and WIN-T Increment 1 and Increment 2 satellite communications.

    “Based on personal experiences or commercials they see, many people recognize that 4G networks introduce greater capacity, which allows you to push more data, larger images, video, etcetera,” said R.J. Regars, software development lead for CERDEC Product Director (PD) command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) & Network Modernization. “But it’s an isolated cloud, which doesn’t translate well to the tactical environment without significant investments in infrastructure to provide reach back from the tactical edge to a brigade or battalion. So you need to look at what can be integrated across the terrestrial communications network, where there’s less bandwidth.”

    PD C4ISR & Network Modernization is a Reaserach and Development program within RDECOM CERDEC that focuses on the future network near-term and several years out, providing the Army with a relevant venue to assess next-generation technologies and to facilitate technology maturation.

    Part of its mission is to provide technology and system maturity evaluation/assessment services to RDECOM centers, labs, and programs of record,” Regars explained. “As such, the exploration of 4G LTE cellular networks was conducted in support of the Soldier Domain initiatives of RDECOM’s Natick Soldier RD&E Center.”

    “We’ve had a long-standing collaboration with CERDEC PD C4ISR & Network Modernization; they handle the network pieces and infrastructure while our focus is developing the user interface to portray the information in the most optimal way for the dismounted Soldier,” said David Darkow, Natick Soldier RD&E Center, or NSRDEC, lead for Soldier Systems integration and experimentation.

    “The configuration and performance of the network will determine what we can push to the Soldier and what we can do in terms of information portrayal,” Darkow said. “We’ll adapt our work to fit the different network types so we can give the Soldier the maximum capability that will come with that network.”

    CERDEC employed a 4G cellular network at its field lab environment to address integration challenges with current network designs.

    “Based on personal experiences or commercials they see, many people recognize that 4G networks introduce greater capacity, which allows you to push more data, larger images, video, etcetera.”

    The PD first explored the use of commercial cellular in 2010 as a proof of concept, combining 3G networks and handhelds with tactical communications systems to transmit biometrics and mission command data, share imagery, send alerts, call for fires, and to run Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below Joint Capabilities Release functionality. Data was sent back and forth between dismounts and the tactical operations center.

    In 2011, CERDEC demonstrated the Multi-Access Cellular Extension (MACE) foundational architecture to help pave the way for integrating commercial cellular technologies into current and future force networks, allowing use beyond a fixed infrastructure, such as WiFi access points or cellular base stations. Technologies under MACE seek to enable the secure use of smart devices and the ability to provide direct device-to-device Mobile Ad-Hoc Network-like features, enabling the Army to use multiple commercial wireless solutions, which could save the Army billions of dollars.

    Science and technology efforts addressing the tactical aspects of employing commercial cellular, such as information assurance and policy-based security, will factor into shaping future PD C4ISR & Network Modernization events, said Jason Sypniewski, chief for PD C4ISR & Network Modernization’s Integrated Event Design and Analysis branch.

    “This summer’s exploration of 4G LTE can be viewed as a data point to be correlated across a larger sample size of efforts looking at the tactical cellular arena,” Sypniewski said. “It’s just one example of how extending the development environment to the field can be applied toward building a body of evidence to accelerate informed decisions on the right capabilities and where they should be employed within the network.”
     


    • Edric Thompson is a RDECOM CERDEC Public Affairs Specialist. He holds a B.A. in public relations and English and an M.A in English all from Western Kentucky University.

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  • Army Explores Tactical 4G Telemedicine

    Medics send electronic Tactical Casualty Care Cards over a tactical network so surgeons can see injuries and what treatment have been performed prior to the patient's arrival. The combination of secure tactical communications and knowledge management helps brigade surgeons prioritize treatment and evacuation assets. (Photos by Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public Affairs)

    Edric Thompson

    The Army explored whether real-time, electronic point-of-treatment care was possible or practical this summer at its integrated capabilities test bed at Fort Dix, NJ.

    Key medical and technical personnel from the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (MRMC) and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) combined prototype medical military software with commercial hand-held technologies and tactical 4G networks to send medical information from the point of injury on the battlefield back to the doctor for real-time communication and decision making.

    “As decision makers look at network modernization, this is the type of information they will want in order to help them make informed decisions regarding telemedicine capabilities and the networks on which they’re going to ride. Our mission is to provide this.”

    “It’s going to build confidence in the medic on the field that’s isolated with a severely wounded Soldier,” said Carl Manemeit, Physiological Monitoring project lead for the MRMC’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC).

    “If you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Black Hawk Down,’ the medic is trying to treat the guy with the artery issue in his leg; the medic goes through all his resources, and once he exhausted all his knowledge, he was stuck,” Manemeit said. If he had been connected to the surgeons back at the treatment facility, they could have given him more guidance on how to save that Soldier’s life. By injecting this expertise, we might be able to do that one thing that could save some guy’s life; that’s what we’re looking to do.”

    Medics used man-portable physiological monitoring devices with streaming video, voice, and photo capability, and sent electronic Tactical Casualty Care Cards (TC3) over a tactical network to the surgical facility so surgeons could see injuries and what treatment had been performed prior to the patient’s arrival.

    Medics utilize man-portable physiological monitoring devices with streaming video, voice, and photo capability to send medical information to doctors for real-time communication and decision making.

    “There’s an information gap that lies between the point of injury on the field and point of treatment back at a medical facility,” said Dr. Gary R. Gilbert, TATRC Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program manager for Secure Telemedicine. “We need to do a better job of being able to record what the medic saw and did prior to the patient being evacuated to the treatment facility, and we want this record to be transmitted to the Soldier’s permanent health records.”

    “Now when the patient goes to a combat support hospital, or gets back to Walter Reed for further care, the doctors can see what happened in the field; and five years from now when the patient goes into a VA [Veterans Affairs] hospital seeking treatment, the care providers can see everything that’s been done,” Gilbert said.

    Currently, medics fill out a paper TC3 that’s attached to the injured Soldier before evacuation to the battalion aid station or the combat support hospital. In some cases, the TC3 never makes it back to the treatment facility, and the information never makes it to the patient records.

    “One of the issues I had with the card is that it’s a piece of paper held on with a metal wire,” said SPC Daniel Vita, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD. “Pretty much, you would have attached it to the patient through his zipper or around his wrist, but you potentially had the problem of ripping the paper from the metal loop.”

    Vita, who was a medic with the 130th Engineer Brigade Headquarters in Iraq, preferred using tape and a sharpie because “it stayed.”

    “I like the idea of an electronic TC3 because it’s simpler,” Vita said. “It’s a lot easier for the information to get to where it needs to go and it makes it legible. When you filled out a TC3 card and put it on the patient, they didn’t know what was happening until that patient and card got to them. Now doing it electronically, you can send it ahead to the level two or three so they have an idea of what kinds of patients and casualties are coming in.”

    The combination of secure tactical communications and knowledge management may also help brigade surgeons prioritize treatment and evacuation assets so the most critically injured can be treated first.

    “The Army uses medevac, but the bad news is that it costs about $20,000 per patient flight,” said Dave Williams, Project Manager for Theater Tele-Health Initiatives, TATRC. “And if you have six assets and 12 patients, who should they get first? If we can determine which patients can be held and which can be treated and stabilized on site, it might be a less expensive way to save a patient’s life.”

    The work was performed at the integrated capabilities test bed operated by Product Director (PD) Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and Network Modernization, an R&D program within U.S. Army RDECOM’s communications-electronics RD&E center (CERDEC).

    “We need to do a better job of being able to record what the medic saw and did prior to the patient being evacuated to the treatment facility, and we want this record to be transmitted to the Soldier’s permanent health records.”

    “This is a forgiving environment because it’s designed for testing and solution proving,” Gilbert said. “If things don’t work, that’s OK; you find out what doesn’t work and you fix it here. There are a lot of technologies required to make this work, and we don’t have all of these. CERDEC is helping to fill in those gaps by providing a variety of radio capabilities that you wouldn’t get at a real brigade: SRW, Wideband Networking Waveform, Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform, deployable 4G, Airborne relay, connection to Army Warfighter Information Network-Tactical. They provide the infrastructure and we just bring the application.”

    PD C4ISR & Network Modernization focuses on the future network, near-term, and several years out, providing the Army with a relevant venue to assess next-generation technologies and to facilitate technology maturation. The program is also a key component in CERDEC’s support of the agile acquisition process, using its field lab environment to perform risk mitigation and candidate assessment/selection for future Network Integration Rehearsal/Exercise events.

    “These guys are not only preparing the current force to be successful, they’re closing the gaps for the future force with each iteration of these integrated capabilities events,” Williams said. “You don’t solve all the problems in one 12-month cycle. This venue is providing the medics an opportunity to get inside the Program Objective Memorandum cycle to come up with those solutions and iteratively solve them as technologies emerge and grow with us. This has been a complete team effort to develop a solution that did not exist six years ago.”

    This is the third year that PD C4ISR & Network Modernization has examined network capabilities that could support the medic/first responder’s mission.

    During 2011, PD C4ISR & Network Modernization combined fielded tactical radios such as the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System with the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to see if it was possible and feasible to provide enhanced bandwidth and over-the-horizon communications for hand-held medical data. This year, a 4G cellular mesh network was implemented, using SRW to bridge back to the tactical network.

    “We’re examining how best to combine the future and current so we can enable the medical community to perform their mission more efficiently,” said Jason Sypniewski, chief for PD C4ISR & Network Modernization’s Integrated Event Design & Analysis branch. “We’re looking at the Soldier Radio Waveform because it’s a self-healing waveform that allows non-line-of-sight communication; that’s the vision for where the Army wants to go. We’ve looked at EPLRS [Enhanced Position Location Reporting System] because it’s an existing asset on which the medical community could recapitalize.”

    “Cellular technology could be the future of tele-health on the modern battlefield, but we need to know if it can be done, and if so, would it actually enhance the delivery of information?” Sypniewski said. “As decision makers look at network modernization, this is the type of information they will want in order to help them make informed decisions regarding telemedicine capabilities and the networks on which they’re going to ride. Our mission is to provide this.”
     


    • Edric Thompson is a RDECOM CERDEC Public Affairs Specialist. He holds a B.A. in public relations and English and an M.A in English all from Western Kentucky University.

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