Information Papers

Science and Technology

What is it?
The Army's science and technology (S&T) investment strategy seeks to pursue technologies that will enable the future force while simultaneously seizing opportunities to enhance the current force. There are three types of S&T investments:  basic research (discovery and understanding), applied research (laboratory technology components), and advanced technology development (technology demonstrations in relevant environment outside the laboratory). 

Our technology demonstrations prove concepts, inform the combat developments process, and provide the acquisition community with evidence of technology's readiness to satisfy system requirements. The entire S&T program is adaptable and responsive to the needs of our Soldiers on today’s battlefield and provides technology lessons learned for future battlefield systems.

What has the Army done?
To enhance the current force, Army S&T is providing limited quantities of advanced-technology prototypes to our Soldiers deployed in the fight. These contributions have included force protection; command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); unmanned-systems; and medical technologies. From a top-level perspective, the S&T community supports the Global War on Terror in three ways: (1) Soldiers benefit today from technologies that emerged from our past investments; (2) we exploit transition opportunities by accelerating mature technologies derived from ongoing S&T efforts; and (3) we leverage the expertise of our scientists and engineers to develop solutions to unforeseen problems encountered during current operations.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army invests in a diverse portfolio of technologies and research to provide solutions across a spectrum of enduring capability needs. This portfolio includes force protection, C4ISR, lethality, medical, Soldier systems, logistics, unmanned systems, advanced simulation technologies; basic research; and manufacturing technology programs. The Army’s largest S&T investments are for force protection technologies.  These technologies allow us to detect and neutralize improvised explosive devices, mines, rockets, artillery, and mortars; improve Soldier and vehicle survivability; and to enhance area and facilities protection.

C4ISR. We are developing and demonstrating technologies that speed the ability to collect and disseminate information from sensors through battle command software and hardware. C4ISR technologies include:

Lethality. Among our highest priorities are investments that provide Soldiers and platforms with overmatch against threat capabilities. These lethality technologies include:

Medical technology. Medical technology investments stress improving protection (inclusive of blasts from explosive devices), treatment, and life-saving interventions for Soldiers. This program has three components: infectious disease care (diagnosis, treatment, and prevention), combat casualty care, and military operational medicine under environmentally extreme conditions worldwide.

Soldier systems. S&T investments seek to enable the Training and Doctrine Command’s Soldier-as-a-system concept, which envisions Soldiers equipped with an integrated modular ensemble (using an open architecture) that provides mission-tailorable capabilities. Technologies to provide individual Soldiers with platform-like lethality and survivability include:

Logistics. Technology investments are also focused on increased reliability and durability, as well as reduced maintenance, for all systems and components. Embedded prognostics and diagnostics are being developed for dynamic monitoring and reporting of critical vehicle system and component “health.” With a view to cost reduction and increased performance, the technology program is also seeking to reduce fuel consumption. Progress on a system for precision air-drop delivery of up to 15 tons is being enabled by global positioning system guidance, ram-air parachutes, and impact absorption landing technologies. Specific logistics technologies include:

Energy and power:

Unmanned systems. The goal of unmanned S&T investments is to provide Soldiers with new capabilities that can unburden them of dangerous, routine, and long-duration missions that do not require the full range of human capabilities. Technologies are being developed for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, unattended sensors, and “intelligent” (automated-functioning) munitions. Unmanned systems have already demonstrated their ability to enhance Soldier capabilities in a variety of applications in support of the Global War on Terror. Another S&T target is greater autonomy (i.e., less human supervision) in unmanned systems for perception, mobility, and vehicle control. Unmanned systems technologies include:

Advanced simulation. Advanced simulation technology investments seek to provide robust, networked, live, virtual, and constructive simulation environments that could provide for revolutionary training, mission rehearsal, leader development, and simulation tools for designing and evaluating new technologies. Investments in simulation technology also provide the tools, techniques, and analyses necessary to enable collaborative, distributed, and Joint operational simulations.

Basic research. Basic research provides fundamental understanding that is the foundation for technology investment.  The Army’s FY09 S&T budget requests increased funding for new research initiatives such as human, social, cultural, and behavioral modeling; modeling and analysis of complex, multi-scale networks; psychological wellness; and neuro-ergonomics, to understand how the brain functions in increasingly complex multi-task environments consistent with demands in the asymmetric environments (from civil disasters to combat).

Manufacturing technology program. Manufacturing technology program investments improve uniquely military manufacturing processes, with emphasis on increased reliability, production capacity, and affordability, as well as reduction in the attendant risks. These investments foster the transfer of new and improved manufacturing technologies to the industrial base.

Why is this important to the Army?
The technological sophistication required of the Army is constantly increasing with the increasingly broad nature of threats and the greater availability of technology to our adversaries. Much of the ongoing research by the Army can be classified as high-risk, high-payoff—the kind that the private sector is not likely to sustain over the “long haul.” Yet technological risk is inevitable if we are to achieve the technological breakthroughs conducive to dramatic performance improvements. One such breakthrough led to the Excalibur precision artillery munition that has virtually eliminated collateral damage to noncombatants. Today’s current force has significant technology-enabled advantages as a result of the Army’s past investments in S&T, particularly as regards night vision, precision munitions, and individual Soldier protection.