The Power of Prototypes

The Power of Prototypes

One year on, the Army Rapid Capabilities Office is breaking the ‘one-size-fits-all’ acquisition approach to combating rising threats. by Lt. Col. Marcos A. Cervantes Last August, senior Army leaders unveiled a new secret weapon. But it wasn’t a missile or a radar or a tank. It was the Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), a new organization designed to cut through the bureaucracy and rapidly deploy technologies to combatant commanders in order to address high-priority strategic threats. The office’s mandate, said Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army chief of staff, was “to ensure that we’re pursing the right capabilities for our Army today and tomorrow, and to do it very quickly, […]

Commanders plan; autonomy facilitates

Commanders plan; autonomy facilitates

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — “Receipt of Mission” — so begins the Army’s extensive Military Decision Making Process, or MDMP, followed by six more steps, 44 tasks and hundreds of sub-tasks. This proven methodology assists commanders and staff with applying their critical thinking skills to formulate sound decisions, but it can be complex and time consuming. To streamline the process, Army science and technology engineers are inserting autonomous technologies into the MDMP, with the caveat that “autonomy” will never substitute for the human commander’s intent. The Automated Planning Framework, or APF, is an autonomous capability under development at the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center. It […]

Strengthening the Defense of Army Data

Strengthening the Defense of Army Data

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command TITLE: Chief, Cryptographic Modernization Branch YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 12 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in engineering EDUCATION: M.S. in systems engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology; B.S. in electrical engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology AWARDS: Army Acquisition Executive’s Excellence in Leadership Science and Technology Professional of the Year; CERDEC Supervisor of the Quarter; Dr. William A. Novick Award As chief of the Cryptographic Modernization Branch of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), Matthew Lazzaro finds himself on a front line of a different sort. “In this age of […]

Design and engineering sleuths uncover time, cost savings

Design and engineering sleuths uncover time, cost savings

By Daniel Smith and Kathryn Bailey It’s possible that this is the most expensive phrase in the English language: “We have always done it this way.” For Army programs of record (PORs), “this way” may be to contract exclusively with industry partners to refresh, upgrade or redesign their systems rather than turning to the government organic base. However, keeping that work in-house can yield substantial cost and time-to-field savings—important drivers for Army force modernization and readiness—often because the government explores commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) options before diving into a custom design. The government’s prototype integration facilities (PIFs) are positioned to help PORs determine the most cost-effective, streamlined solution available. PIFs perform […]

I2WD’s Blohm to serve as CERDEC’s acting director

I2WD’s Blohm to serve as CERDEC’s acting director

   Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army has selected Gary W. Blohm to serve as acting director of its Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) as the search continues to fill the position left open in the wake of Henry J. Muller Jr.’s retirement on March 31. “Within RDECOM, Gary Blohm has demonstrated his leadership in many ways. As a former director at CERDEC, he is a long-time member of the communication-electronics family and has the trust and support of many peers and associates,” said Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). […]

A different way of doing business

A different way of doing business

CERDEC’s talent management initiative incorporates a new, enterprisewide approach to help employees reach their goals while strengthening the organization. by Mr. John S. Willison Two years ago, the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) faced an unpleasant reality: More than 30 percent of our almost 2,000 government employees were eligible to retire or would be soon. Taking steps to address that challenge proactively, we launched a succession management initiative. But a growing realization that talent management was the key to strengthening the workforce prompted us to expand our focus. It is easy—and common—for an organization to declare that “people are our most important asset.” It is significantly […]

N.J. Lt. Gov. visits where ‘engineering meets operations’

N.J. Lt. Gov. visits where ‘engineering meets operations’

By Kelly White, CERDEC Public Affairs JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – The lieutenant governor of New Jersey visited the U.S. Army Material Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, Ground Activity, or CGA, last month, to learn about the mission growth path. The CGA, which is part of CERDEC’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, or S&TCD, is on the cutting edge of supporting this generation and next generation’s operational gaps for training and cyber activities, something Lt. Gov. Kimberly Guadagno wants to support from outside the wire. “To support the Army’s active duty component, the state has the ability and purview to help quality of life issues that […]

Night Vision lab director to serve as acting CERDEC director

Night Vision lab director to serve as acting CERDEC director

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 10, 2017)—The U.S. Army has selected Dr. Donald Reago Jr. to serve as acting director of its Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, as the search begins to fill the position left open in the wake of Henry J. Muller Jr.’s retirement. Reago, who was selected for the Senior Executive Service in May 2014, previously served as the director of the CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In his previous capacity as NVESD director, Reago was responsible for planning and executing the Army’s science and technology investments in Electro-Optical/Infrared and Countermine/Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices sensors and signal processing. The […]

Leveraging the power of modeling to plan assured PNT

Leveraging the power of modeling to plan assured PNT

By Kathryn Bailey ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing program, or A-PNT, is advancing technologies to aid GPS when its signal becomes degraded or denied, but executing developmental testing on these capabilities is not always logistically or financially feasible. The U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is augmenting live testing with modeling and simulation, or M&S, technologies that can better measure how effective PNT technologies perform in the context of the Warfighter’s mission. “For decades, GPS has revolutionized PNT capabilities for Soldiers, but its susceptibility to interference has generated a need for complementary sources of PNT,” said Gina Guiducci, […]

Mission Command on Semi-Automatic

Mission Command on Semi-Automatic

Autonomous control of routine, time-consuming tasks could free up commanders to concentrate on more difficult decisions. by Mr. James Hennig, Dr. Peter Schwartz and Ms. Kathryn Bailey When the fight commences, the commander shifts the military decision-making process into high gear. While the commander’s years of experience often dictate the pace of this process, even the most battle-hardened leaders must operate within the confines of the human brain’s cognitive capabilities. What if technology could automate routine, time-consuming tasks to shave minutes, or even hours, off the decision-making process? DOD thinks it can and is evaluating overarching concepts that would incorporate autonomous systems and artificial intelligence (AI) into its future combat […]