Fort Lee Seminar explores robotic sustainment options
July 21, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. (July 21, 2011) -- Any initiative that "takes America's sons and daughters off the battlefield and out of harm's way but still gets the job done" is definitely worth exploring, noted William F. Moore, CASCOM deputy to the commanding general, during opening remarks at a robotics seminar here Tuesday.
"We want to tap into your expertise," Moore told the 40-plus attendees from Lockheed Martin, the Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise, the U.S. Navy Diverse Technologies Corporation, the Army Capabilities Integration Center and other big names in the arena of future force development.
"Tell us how we can support the warfighter without placing that Soldier in the cab or in the line of fire," Moore said. "That's what we're hoping to achieve here over the next few days."
With that, the CASCOM Robotic Technologies for Logistic Distribution Seminar was underway. The agenda for the three-day event included a series of technology briefings, with titles like "Agile Robotics," "Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot," "Cargo Unmanned Aerial System" and "Hybrid Airship Fuel Freighter."
Attendees were asked to use that information while building possible sustainment solutions for a fictitious combat scenario in which logistical support had to be delivered quickly, in different types of weather and terrain, and under varying types of hostile and noncombatant activity. The ultimate goal was to develop innovative, out-of-the-box plans that "reduced man-hours of risk" while maintaining adequate levels of support.
"I call it a discovery event," said Sam Jones, a functional analyst in the CASCOM Sustainment Battle Lab - the agency that organized the seminar. "Here, we have an opportunity to look at many different options and collaborate with other subject matter experts without distraction. That's usually not possible in an office setting where you can get so busy putting out fires you can't see past the end of your nose."
The results of the seminar will be far-reaching, Jones also noted. Each of the Sustainment Centers of Excellence across the Army has been tasked by the Training and Doctrine Command to study its primary mission functions (lines of effort in military vernacular) and offer up new ideas that could benefit the warfighter. The concepts collected during this "Campaign of Learning" will help the Army's senior leaders decide which avenues of future force development are plausible.
"Putting it another way that's even more meaningful, what we accomplish during this seminar could save a Soldier's life someday," Jones concluded. "That's the bottom line of everything we do in the battle lab, and it motivates us every day."