Making hazard detection safer

Mr. Phillyp Lawson

TITLE: Project Officer
ORGANIZATION: Project Manager for Close Combat Systems, Program Executive Office for Ammunition

Making hazard detection safer

Phillyp Lawson works as project officer on the Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) System. The program sets out to accomplish three important missions: to detect explosive hazards, mark a clear path for Soldiers to traverse and neutralize a threat when the system identifies unexploded ordnance.

“I get to come to work and play with robots,” said Lawson, who has been a project officer/project lead on the SREHD system for about 14 months. “My eight-year-old self is living my dream career, and I get to see the development of a capability that I know will save lives—that has been a reward in itself.”

SREHD, an Acquisition Category III effort, integrates the AN/PSS-14C detection system as well as the Remote Activation Munition System onto the TALON IV robotic platform. The system operates semi-autonomously, with the Soldier safely under cover inside an MMPV. (Find out more about the SREHD program in the April-June 2017 issue of Army AL&T.)

Lawson, assigned to the Project Manager for Close Combat Systems within the Program Executive Office for Ammunition, has been successfully leading the program through the final stages of engineering and manufacturing development, product qualification and reliability testing while negotiating extensive requirement changes from the user. As a result of that work, warfighters will soon have a capability for detecting, marking and neutralizing explosive hazards—landmines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance—without having to put themselves in danger to operate the system.

His biggest challenge is making sure he has the right people in place “to keep up with such a cutting-edge capability.” SREHD’s current integrated product team (IPT) includes a variety of stakeholders, including contracting, business and financial, engineering and quality representatives.

“It’s one of the best IPTs I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside,” Lawson said, noting that his role as project officer combines technical and program management. “I get to engage the IPT at a technical level and understand the intricacies of the problem. At the same time, I can take a step back, work with leadership and shape the overall big picture. I get to see and interact with every facet of the program, cradle to grave, and at the end of the day, I get to provide my recommendation to leadership on how the program goes forward.”

It can be an intense role, he added, “but that is what motivates me personally to execute to the best of my abilities.”

“Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians serving in various AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-664-5635.

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