FORT LEWIS, Wash. - In its continuing mission to keep today's Stryker brigade combat teams equipped with the latest and greatest upgrades, the Training and Doctrine Command capabilities manager, SBCT, and program manager, Stryker showcased its new innovations, June 18 at the 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment motor pool.

Not only did the TCM SBCT want to give Soldiers a glimpse into future Stryker add-ons, They were looking for input, too. TCM SBCT Senior Program Analyst for Futures and Current Operations, Sean Hunter, said they were there to get feedback from Soldiers familiar with the vehicle.

"What we did today was we took the user feedback from the Soldier and I'm going back as a user rep working with the program manager to continue to work and develop or move forward with what we showed up with here today," Hunter said. "We go back and take their comments and feedback and we try to put out what the Soldier wants. Some things we can affect now and some things we can affect later."

Included in the presentation were the Close Surveillance Support System (CS3), the Top Side Net and the Squad Leader Integrated Protection kit (SLIP).

According to a response by the Department of the Army to a Request for Information, the CS3 was developed to provide operators the ability to observe the immediate area around the vehicle, identify potential threats, prevent vehicle injury to dismounted Soldiers, and provide vehicle commander and driver with better day and night visibility in all directions, among other uses, while under armor.

The new Top Side Net, which was developed to supplement other counter sniper capabilities, is lined with sunshade and canvas for better protection and is easily mounted or dismounted, according to an Army release.

The SLIP kit's purpose is to provide squad leaders with better vision while maintaining the same level of protection the Common Ballistic Shield currently does. The SLIP uses a transparent armor into CBS panels. Its intended use is to replace the "pope glass" being put together in the field.
The term "pope glass" is a reference to the makeshift cover gunners have developed using bulletproof glass that resembles the box of protection Pope John Paul II used after an assassination attempt in 1981.

"We (also) showed a concept of individual Soldier protection as far as gun detection with acoustic. A lot of things were survivability overall for the platform with Soldiers throughout the whole platform. We look at survivability and mobility of the platform," Hunter said.

He said the feedback he and his team received from Soldiers was positive and encouraging.

"They saw some things that they wanted, what the Soldiers that were deployed with the brigade wanted," Hunter said. "They really liked some of the improvements we made; some of the things they were looking at and asking for. So we're on the right track."

That feedback, said Hunter, is the backbone behind TCM SBCT's continuous development of new and improved Stryker additions. To make things easier for Soldiers of all pay grades to give their input into what they'd like to see on future versions of the Stryker, Soldiers are encouraged to use

"You have your user rep, which is the TCM SBCT and the Program Manager for Stryker and other agencies, that want to know what Soldiers want and need, things that we can work out as a team to get them the right capabilities to go out there and complete their mission successfully," he said. "Our Stryker war fighter forum is the portal to gather information."

Matt Smith is a reporter with Fort Lewis' "Northwest Guardian."