By Dan Lafontaine, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering CommandOctober 10, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 10, 2013) -- A group of Polish scientists traveled to U.S. Army research centers Oct. 2-3 to learn about America's expertise in robotics and explore potential partnerships.
The delegation, led by retired Col. Jozef Wrona, of 15 scientists from Polish academia and industry will advise their government on advancing the country's robotics program.
Dale A. Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, discussed his organization's global footprint and emphasized reaching into the international scientific community for technological solutions.
"Great scientists and engineers are everywhere. We send our scientists and engineers out to meet and exchange ideas and understand what the state of the art is," Ormond said. "Out of that, we have a tremendous capability to forecast what is in the state of the possible."
Wrona and his group met with RDECOM's three organizations with a presence on APG -- Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and the Army Research Laboratory.
RDECOM scientists and engineers shared their work in areas of mutual interest, particularly in robotics, through technology demonstrations and briefings. The Poles also demonstrated one of their robots for their RDECOM counterparts.
RDECOM engages with foreign science and technology institutions through the RDECOM Forward Element Commands in England, Japan and Chile. Functioning under the RFECs, the International Technology Centers promote cooperation between RDECOM and international researchers to advance capabilities relevant to the U.S. Army mission.
Lt. Col. Mark Neal, commander of the ITC in Frankfurt, Germany, helped facilitate the Poles' visit and accompanied them to APG.
"Our goals are to learn about each other's investments and research in robotics and share information about both programs," Neal said. "We want to identify the common touch points where it makes sense for us to collaborate through data exchanges or a project arrangement.
"One of their primary goals, as a coalition partner operating with us in the field, is to do their research and acquisition of military robots so that they're compatible and interoperable with us."
Ormond, during an overview briefing of the command, stressed the importance of RDECOM's international teams for building relationships with America's allies.
"We have people all around the world to engage with other militaries and defense organizations through data exchange agreements and collaboration of technology development projects," Ormond said. "We want to facilitate interoperability, so when there is a coalition fight, our Soldiers are able to work together and have similar systems.
"Seventy percent of dollars spent on science and technology are spent outside the U.S. It used to be 50 percent or more was spent in the U.S., but the rest of the world is making investments. We want to collaborate, especially with those who are allies."
The trip to RDECOM was the second for Wrona, who is the director for defense programs at the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements in Warsaw, Poland. Wrona and a smaller Polish group also visited RDECOM and APG in October 2010; he was on active duty in the Polish Army at the time.
The Polish group concluded its trip with visits to the University of Maryland-College Park Robotics Center, Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute and Field Robotics Center in Pittsburgh, and Ford Laboratories in Detroit.
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 provides it.