By 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.
Bruce Burkholder (left), Global Technology Manager for DuPont’s Advanced Fiber Systems Life Protection Group, and Dr. Scott Fish, Army Chief Scientist, examine ballistic test results on a Kevlar-based helmet prototype. (Photos courtesy of Army Chief Scientist.)
First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. There are a lot of exciting, significant events scheduled in 2012, and I will be updating these happenings for you in this column throughout the year.
Since my last monthly update, DoD received an appropriation bill, and the Army’s science and technology portfolio was funded for FY12. Also, I took part in the Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST) session in Washington, DC, on Dec. 5-6. The BAST focused on “The Army’s Approach to Achieving a Common Operating Environment” (COE). We collected key comments and perspectives on the COE implementation strategy and how it might be improved by considering other large commercial efforts in which standardization of protocol across heterogeneous processing and organizational domains has been pursued. A follow-on session in February will explore options further and probably wrap up efforts in this area.
On Dec. 7, we had the honor of Ms. Heidi Shyu, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology hosting the Army Science Board Awards Ceremony. The awards recognized the dedication and devotion of 15 members who have served for up to 14 years on the board, where they made a significant contribution in furthering national defense objectives. The 10 awardees in attendance were presented with the Superior Civilian Service Award, Commanders Award for Civilian Service, or the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.
In late November, I briefed the newly formed 2012 Army Science Board on interim observations related to S&T breakthrough areas with potential payoff for Army Acquisition in the next decade. This was well received, and valuable feedback was provided from the board’s study of the Army’s S&T Enterprise.
As part of continuing external engagements related to academia, industry, and government labs, I visited with members of the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials. Drs. John Gillespie, Shridhar Yarlagadda, Dirk Heider, and Dan Molligan were my hosts. Together, we reviewed their research and teaming partnerships and examined their laboratory and prototyping facilities.
The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research and Development Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, hosted a review for me of ongoing research and field support for space and terrestrial communications. This capability within our government technical community is quite impressive, filling a valuable niche in ensuring high-quality migration of best commercial practices and unique military capabilities to our warfighters.
I also visited DuPont’s Spruance and Magellan manufacturing plants near Richmond, VA, accompanied by COL Lary Chinowsky, my Special Assistant. The visit included an in-depth discussion of the development and current state of the art in aramid fiber technology, as well as a tour of the processing plant. Discussion extended into current trends in both the fiber and textile industries, including unique and common attributes between the military and DuPont’s commercial customers.
I will give the keynote address at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Unmanned Systems Program Review 2012’s Ground Systems Day, Feb. 7, in Washington, DC. Again, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Previous S&T Notebook Articles:
Looking to the Future (2 December 2011)
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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