Senator, APG leaders discuss BRAC transformation, scientific opportunities
July 23, 2010
- APG is changing to become the hub of Army research and development.
- The Army is investing $1 billion in facility construction at APG,.
- "If we come up with ways to save troops' lives, we can't wait five years."
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - APG is poised to lead the Army in scientific advancements as the Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, transformation begins to intensify at the installation, senior leaders told U.S. Sen. Edward "Ted" Kaufman of Delaware.
Kaufman visited the base on July 23 to gain a greater perspective on the opportunities and challenges associated with BRAC, as well as how APG is changing to become the hub of Army research and development.
"The things done at this post to advance our nation's security are extraordinary," Kaufman said as Col. Orlando Ortiz, APG Garrison Commander, led the senator on a brief tour of Garrison Headquarters.
Ortiz echoed Kaufman's remarks.
"Great things are happening on the installation regarding our nation's defense," Ortiz said. "We have a tremendous opportunity with BRAC to meet our nation's needs."
Ortiz said the Army is investing $1 billion in facility construction at APG, adding 3 million square feet of office, laboratory and testing space. BRAC is bringing more than 8,000 new employees, most of whom will be Army civilians and contractors. By 2015, about 22,000 workers work will on APG.
Col. Andrew Nelson, APG Deputy Commander for Transformation, detailed the efforts to upgrade the transportation infrastructure and its challenges.
Nelson said the Maryland State Highway Administration has committed $42.6 million to improve the intersection of Routes 715 and 40 in Aberdeen. However, APG leadership has identified seven other intersections that need upgrades, totaling more than $100 million.
Kaufman said his recent trips to Iraq and Afghanistan highlighted the vital role of Army scientific achievements in enabling successful missions for U.S. soldiers.
"We're going to be faced with insurgency for years," he said. "It's amazing to see the change in the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) in the past few years."
Gary Martin, Executive Deputy to the Commander at the U.S. Army Research, Engineering and Development Command, said the Army Test and Evaluation Command on APG has performed all MRAP vehicle testing.
"The MRAP is protecting lives," he said.
Martin also stressed that the Army developed MRAP vehicles from its quick reaction capability. The Army deploys Field Assistance in Science and Technology, or FAST, teams around the world to identify technological challenges faced by Soldiers in the field and solve those problems quickly in Army research centers.
"If we come up with ways to save troops' lives, we can't wait five years," he said.
Kaufman, who holds an engineering degree from Duke University, and Martin share a passion for advancing science and math education.
"I'm pushing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] education," Kaufman said. "How do you spark a light in the kid' If you can get a sixth-grader involved in robotics, you have accomplished something great."
Kaufman also said making science education is a priority because it will drive the nation as it competes economically with developing countries, such as China and India.
"The last 10 years, most jobs came from housing, consumer goods and finance," Kaufman said. "That's not going to continue. We are in the fight of our lives. We need to create these jobs from science and technology. This is about our grandkids."