Freeman explains S&T strategy: Invest to get results

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The science and technology, or S&T, sector of the Army will be less reactive and more proactive in concept and capability development in coming years, according to Dr. Marilyn M. Freeman, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology.

"We’re going to look at how we spend the money to get results rather than how we spend the money to fund laboratories and facilities," Freeman said, at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 22.

"We have got to be able to invest our time and money at the right time and the right place," she said.

Adding, "If we can get industry, soldiers and scientists together early" the Army can better cut costs and improve quality.

The new strategy for S&T projects will put a greater emphasis on "conceptualization," followed by an identification of the technology that can potentially meet the needs of this concept.

"We kind have lost the talent of ‘concepting’ early," Freeman said.

This new process, Freeman noted, would thus include better "concepting" in the early stages, which she described as a "really thought-through," specific concept of what is needed done.

Freeman described this strategy as a top-down approach in contrast to the past process of mainly working reactively to fund and pursue ideas and concepts that happen to "bubble up."

With proper funding, Freeman said, the Army will be able to use S&T as a "bridging strategy" for maintaining sidelined capabilities and producing them at an increased level once the Army undergoes a future level of expansion during a time of war or crisis.

This new strategy will also focus increasingly on the lower levels of combat, such as the squad.

"The one thing we know is that the squad remains the focus of the force," Freeman said. "We’re going to stay on that focus."

She added, "It is the soldier on the ground working in a small unit that we need to focus on."