By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public AffairsApril 18, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 18, 2014) -- The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has launched eight communities of practice, known as CoPs, to coordinate efforts in areas that reach across its seven centers and laboratories.
RDECOM Dale A. Ormond initiated the program April 15 with a town-hall video teleconference meeting with scientists, engineers and leadership who will be supporting the CoPs.
"We are synchronizing in a way so we become greater than the sum of our parts," he said. "The communities of practice help us demonstrate what we're doing collectively. It also gives us a place of entry to leverage all the intellectual horsepower across this command."
A CoP creates an RDECOM unity of effort from the experts working within a practice area across the entire enterprise.
The command has established eight initial CoPs: power and energy, counter improvised explosive device, cyber, robotic team member, self-sustaining forward operating base, long-range precision fires, counter unmanned aerial system, and red teaming.
RDECOM selected each CoP practice area because of its criticality to the Army mission as well as being an area of Army major investment, said Brian Crawford, who is leading the implementation for RDECOM's Programs and Engineering Office. A Senior Executive Service member will serve as chairman or chairwoman for each CoP.
The CoPs are further selected based on their complexity and demand for significant collaboration from multiple RDECOM centers, Crawford said. Additional CoPs may be established on future needs.
By leveraging the best ideas from RDECOM's thousands of scientists and engineers, the command will develop better solutions for the Army, Ormond said.
"When we're doing similar things across the command, we leverage what everyone is doing to work together and solve problems for the Army," Ormond said.
Ormond emphasized that each CoP will be self-organizing and write a charter to define its scope boundaries, governance, products and meetings schedule. The CoP construct enables these technically complex objectives to function as one unity of effort managed by a team of subject-matter experts in the field.
The CoPs will also allow their members to form and communicate the RDECOM strategy on a particular topic, Ormond said.
"You are representing the whole community of practice with a common understanding of what's going on across the command," he said. "The CoP synchronizes the actions and efforts of each of the [centers] that are involved. We need to collectively make ourselves better and leverage the whole life cycle of work that we do in that space."
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.