Thinking outside the box to equip the Army of 2025 and beyond
February 20, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Driverless vehicles, 3-D printers used to resupply troops, more robots and unmanned aerial vehicles were some of the topics discussed by experts during the "Out of the Box Thinking - 2025 Requirements" panel discussion at the 2014 Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Winter Symposium held here this week.
To stimulate discussion, panel chairman Lt. Gen. William N. Phillips, military deputy director for the Army Acquisition Corps, challenged panel members to brainstorm how to make "today's great Army into the Army of 2025 and beyond." Before posing the first question, panel moderator Mary J. Miller, deputy assistant secretary, Research and Technology Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, also challenged the panel by saying "budgets and circumstances make business as usual impossible."
Dale Ormond, director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, envisions an "ecosystem of people" pulled from military, academia and industry to collaborate in the same facilities.
"Multiple backgrounds and ideas can come together," Ormond said. "[We must] resource science and technology to develop new technology that will be ready when we need it."
He foresees leveraging RDECOM's Army Research Laboratory as a crucible for generating ideas and proposals that will be pushed out to research, development and engineering centers for prototyping before being handed off to industry or depots for manufacture.
Panel members discussed ways for industry and the military to work collaboratively to shorten the acquisition time for new technology. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle which brought together the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and industry was mentioned as an example of such collaboration.
The panel discussion fulfilled the symposium theme of "America's Army: Sustaining, Training, and Equipping for the Future" by having military, Department of the Army civilians and industry representatives take on a broad range of questions and stimulate discussion on how best to expend time and resources to match future demands with current science and technology capabilities in the context of shrinking budgets and force levels.
"Better collaboration must occur," said retired Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, AUSA president and chief executive officer, at the end of the panel disucssion. "How you think influences what you think. The box keeps pulling you back in."