WARREN, Mich. (Sept. 5, 2013) -- Leaders from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center strengthened connections and laid the groundwork for new collaboration at the ground vehicle community's preeminent event to drive strategies for the development and support of cutting-edge, break-through technologies.

At the National Defense Industrial Association Michigan Chapter's 5th Annual Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium, or GVSETS, and the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, or LCMC, Plans & Priorities Symposium, government and industry stakeholders discussed the latest in ground vehicle technology and how to plan the pathway forward in today's fiscal environment.

Decreasing budgets are pressing government agencies and defense contractors to rely more on partnerships and to find innovative ways to deliver cost-effective technological improvements for the military.

"It's more important than ever that we're transparent with what we know and what we think we know," said Kevin Fahey, program executive officer for PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support. "This event allows us to ask important questions such as what capabilities do we have today, what technology do we need to go forward and what are our resources?"

The eight main topics presented at GVSETS included: Operating in the New Defense Environment; Technology Transition; Technology Applications / Opportunities for Ground Vehicles; Impacts of the Current Defense Environment on Original Equipment Manufacturers; Systems Engineering Education and Collaboration; Impact of Sequestration and Continuing Resolution; Integrated Logistics Support / Sustainment; Long-Range Ground Vehicle Science and Technology Strategy.

U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as TARDEC, Director Dr. Paul Rogers unveiled the organization's long-range strategy during a panel discussion with TARDEC Executive Directors Magid Athnasios, Systems Integration and Engineering; and Jennifer Hitchcock, Research and Technology Integration; along with Dr. David Gorsich, chief Scientist.

"TARDEC invites the collaboration that makes our forces so dominate the adversary knows the battle is lost before it starts," said Rogers.

The main session culminated with a Warfighter Panel -- a discussion featuring active duty service members recently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Five Soldiers and one Marine shared first-hand experiences and ideas on how to improve ground vehicle systems and what innovative technologies would enhance our competitive edge in the future.

"Soldiers have to trust your equipment to use it," explained Sgt. Maj. Eric Volk, 7th Infantry Division. "Without trust, equipment will sit in the corner and it won't get used."

A new addition to GVSETS was the TACOM LCMC Plans & Priorities Mini-Symposium, in which ground system leaders laid out road maps for industry opportunities, technology development and modernization. This addition to the symposium provided a great opportunity for information sharing to help the Program Executive Offices, TARDEC, industry and academic partners align future technology investments.

With more than 700 people in attendance, GVSETS continues to help cultivate and preserve the kind of collaboration among stakeholders that make ground vehicle developments successful.

GVSETS participants left the conference with a clear picture of how to collaborate on all levels and create the types of technical breakthroughs that our warfighters need to dominate on the battlefield and return home safely.

"Maintaining the tactical edge helps keep us the best military in the world," Volk reminded the GVSETS attendees. "We put our trust in you."


TARDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.