FORT BELVOIR, Va. (April 19, 2013) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh received a demonstration of some of the Army's current and future technologies during a visit to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's night vision and electronic sensors facility, April 18.

"We want to ensure that we invest in innovations that continue to give us the technological edge that our forces need to take on whatever tomorrow's mission might be," McHugh said.

McHugh saw first-hand the latest in the next generation of Soldier sensor technologies, which included night vision, targeting devices, and long range surveillance systems. The directorate is part of RDECOM's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center.

"These technologies show great potential to increase Soldier lethality, survivability and situational awareness," he said. "Together these developments have changed the way U.S. Soldiers fight."

Of special interest to the McHugh was Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, or NVESD's, efforts to continually reduce size, weight, cost, and power of night vision and thermal technologies.

This is a key focus of the U.S. Army Materiel Command as the provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of AMC.

"By reducing the load a Soldier carries, coupled with technology, is the right way to do more with less" McHugh said.

At a unique indoor mine lanes facility, McHugh saw advancements of evolutionary and revolutionary technologies that find buried mines, improvised explosive devices, and trace elements of explosives in the air.

As one of the Army's core competencies, McHugh was highly interested in how the Army is countering mines and improvised explosive devices. The mine lanes offer large "sandboxes" full of dirt and soil from around the world in which the NVESD subject matter experts can test mine-finding technologies, both handheld and vehicle-mounted.

Larger countermine equipment was demonstrated to include the Husky-Mounted Detection System which can actually sense explosive threats at significant depths in the ground. These technologies both separately and taken as a whole have saved thousands of Soldier and civilian lives.

"NVESD is doing great work," McHugh said. "I get plenty of briefings in the Pentagon, but nothing beats getting out to see the folks who are doing great work in support of our Soldiers and say thank you."