Materiel Command Shoots for Technological Edge
Materiel Command Shoots for Technological Edge
“Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” —GEN Dwight D. EisenhowerRecently, Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Raymond T. Odierno asserted that we must prioritize proven technologies in order to enhance soldier and unit lethality, survivability, mobility and network functionality, and to improve our premier ground and air combat system. “Science and technology investments will seek to maximize the potential of emerging game-changing technologies,” Odierno said.Today, amid discussions of budget uncertainty, U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) is focused on equipping and sustaining a leaner, more agile Army, even as we enter an era of evolving threats and rapidly advancing technologies. We must shape a force for the future that maintains a technological edge on the battlefield and prevails in all domains.AMC is on the front lines of modernization, innovation and transformation. Managing a comprehensive science and technology (S&T) portfolio averaging $1.6 billion annually, representing about 75 percent of the Army’s annual investment in S&T, AMC plays a critical role in the research, design and development for every item a soldier wears, drives, flies, communicates with or operates on the battlefield. With more than 13,000 scientists and engineers, AMC is an intellectual powerhouse working on leap-ahead technologies to provide the decisive edge and to better equip the soldier of 2020 and beyond.Integrated S&T StrategyIntegrated S&T takes an Army triad: the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) (ASA ALT) manages the Army’s research and technology program; U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Army Capabilities Integration Center manages the Army’s architecture of the future to ensure soldier requirements are integrated and understood; and AMC provides S&T capabilities. The overall S&T strategy supports a vision for an expeditionary force that is able to successfully deploy globally and rapidly in austere locations and to conduct various operations.ASA (ALT)-TRADOC-AMC synchronization ensures an integrated S&T strategy that uses breakthrough technology and explores innovative initiatives. Together, focused S&T investments mitigate the risk of future overmatch and provide the capabilities of an expeditionary force that is lighter, more agile and more lethal.AMC OrganizationAMC’s chief technology officer serves as its “synchronization agent,” overseeing research, development, and integration of science, technology, and engineering products and services to the U.S. Army, joint forces, and U.S. allies.Throughout U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, five Army Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, AMC has formed a web of partnerships and agreements reaching into every corner of S&T worldwide. AMC has more than 200 partnerships with academia, small-business innovative research agreements, cooperative research and development agreements with industry, and international agreements with more than two dozen countries.Leveraging the Army’s life cycle management commands, sister-service Research and Development (R&D) communities and soldiers allows AMC to be in a position of unique insight about products to improve warfighter capabilities. We will more closely align efforts among life cycle management commands, RDECs, labs and prototype integration facilities as we support the soldier of 2020 and beyond.AMC ensures global connectivity through regionally aligned R&D forward elements, colocating S&T advisors with each combatant command to support battlefield-generated requirements. AMC field assistance in science and technology teams provide on-site technical advice and quick reaction solutions. These teams fabricate and deliver solutions to the warfighter on the battlefield, sometimes within 24 hours of an identified critical need.AMC uses the expertise of its workforce and global partners to define the state-of-the-art and the art-of-the-possible to develop the next-generation warfighter.The Army organizes its S&T program into six investment portfolios:
- Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR)
- Basic research
- Innovation enablers
From individual soldier protection to increased precision targeting on the battlefield, AMC’s R&D efforts reach across all six platforms and are aligned with Army priorities.Supporting the Next-Generation SoldierThe soldier portfolio seeks to increase the effectiveness, health and reliability of the warfighter. AMC focuses on supporting the next-generation soldier by using the latest innovations in S&T to maximize survivability, sustainability, mobility, combat effectiveness and field quality of life.These initiatives include efforts to lighten the soldiers’ load and allow them to operate more efficiently and effectively on the battlefield. ARL and the Natick Soldier RDEC (NSRDEC) are both working on helmet technology. ARL’s Enhanced Combat Helmet, currently in testing, is lighter weight and provides more consistent ballistic performance. NSRDEC’s Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection, a four-year effort, will provide mounted and dismounted troops with a more modular, fully integrated headgear system, including see-through and projected heads-up display technologies and better eye, face and hearing protection.Additional initiatives span development of body armor for female soldiers, research into biomechanics such as physical fatigue and cognition, and improved combat feeding.