Investing in Army laboratory innovation

Investing in Army laboratory innovation

You need good labs and smart people to turn out good science and technology. If the Army wants innovative solutions backed by solid R&D, it needs to pay for them. by Dr. Matt Willis Army laboratories work diligently and collaboratively to deliver technology-enabled solutions for current conflicts and to develop technologies to prepare the Army for multiple futures by enhancing the force’s ability to prevent, shape and win future conflicts. The Army labs are national assets, ensuring Army dominance in an asymmetric and complex warfighting future. The underpinnings of a robust Army laboratory network include strategic and focused workforce and infrastructure policies; collaborations with traditional and nontraditional defense partners; mechanisms […]

Path of greatest resilience

Path of greatest resilience

Facing an enemy intent on creating a highly contested electromagnetic environment, S&T investments in Army networks focus on mobility, redundancy, ease of use and detection avoidance.   by Mr. Seth Spoenlein, Mr. James Snodgrass, Mr. Michael Breckenridge and Dr. Brian Rivera The expeditionary nature of the future force will require mobile, secure communication networks that are dynamic—able to survive in active electronic warfare environments and available in all environments to ensure continuous mission command. However, obtaining and sustaining the higher ground in a network context will not come easily in the future battlespace. The enemy will have advanced technologies designed specifically to create a highly contested electromagnetic (EM) environment, disrupting our […]

Keeping aircraft in the fight

Keeping aircraft in the fight

Working group identifies new suite of technologies to boost aircraft survivability. by Mr. Mark Calafut U.S. Army aviation faces a diverse threat environment, spanning broad categories of threats from ballistic munitions and guided missiles to directed energy and cyber weapons. It also spans generations of technology, ranging from constantly evolving sophisticated systems to widely proliferated legacy equipment. The modern threat environment presents both a technical challenge and a moving target to Army aviation. Historically, the science and technology (S&T) community has played an important role in developing advanced technologies to outpace the evolution of the threat. In an increasingly challenging threat environment, S&T is now even more critical. This has […]

A better ‘reality’

A better ‘reality’

Technologies to enhance what Soldiers ‘see’ in complex, congested environments promise to improve the information available to make decisions quickly.  by Dr. Richard Nabors, Dr. Robert E. Davis and Dr. Michael Grove Information overload! How many people have suffered from the feeling? A 2009 study, published by the University of California, San Diego, stated that an average American in 2008 consumed an average of 34 gigabytes of information every day from more than 20 different sources. And this was before the smartphone became ubiquitous. Such a deluge of information could overload even a powerful computer, let alone the average American. As information technology has become more available to the military, […]

A FLIR for Innovation

A FLIR for Innovation

Moving objects appeared as glowing blobs in early infrared vision equipment. Clarifying the picture so Soldiers could distinguish people from background objects, combatants from noncombatants, required imagination, initiative and information. by Dr. Richard Nabors and Mr. Nathan Burkholder Innovation isn’t just a matter of creating something new. Rather, it’s the process of translating an idea into goods or services that will create value for an end user. As such, innovation requires three key ingredients: the need (or, in defense acquisition terms, the requirement of the customer); people competent in the required technology; and supporting resources. The Catch-22 is that all three of these ingredients need to be present for innovation […]

Complex environments call for better sensors

Complex environments call for better sensors

Or multiple sensors that work better together  by Dr. Richard Nabors, Dr. Donald A. Reago Jr. and Mr. Nathan Burkholder War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty,” wrote Carl von Clausewitz in his 1832 treatise “On War.” The dictum still holds for modern warfare. Confusion, chance, chaos and resistance are as much factors in modern warfare as they were in Napoleonic times. Weather and terrain, misunderstandings and inaccurate intelligence, a creative and adaptive enemy and a civilian population in the battleground are just a few of the contributors to […]

Overseas opportunities

Overseas opportunities

The Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program gives researchers a chance to grow professionally while collaborating with U.S. allies on new technologies. by Ms. Gabriella Krohmal and Mr. Adam Genest In Japan, U.S. Army software engineer Ross Arnold surveys what’s left of the town of Arahama, four hours north of Tokyo. Arahama was destroyed in 2011 by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, killing 15,894 people and destroying more than 120,000 buildings, including every building in Arahama except the schoolhouse. Arnold, who’s assigned to the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center, hopes that the new software algorithm he’s been working on with Japan’s Air Systems Research […]

CERDEC NCO receives Bronze Star

CERDEC NCO receives Bronze Star

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — An Army Materiel Command senior enlisted member received the military’s fourth highest combat award, here Dec. 15. Sgt. 1st Class David M. Worthington, a senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, received the Bronze Star Medal for ensuring “the success of multiple special operations of national significance” during deployments to Iraq and Syria throughout 2015 and 2016 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Maj. Gen. Randy S. Taylor, commanding general of the US Army Communications-Electronics Command, presented the Bronze Star to Worthington during a ceremony at CERDEC headquarters. “As a two-star general who was active-duty for 30 […]

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 […]