PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center here was recognized as the No. 1 large-development laboratory in the Army for 2008 during the Army Acquisition Corps annual awards ceremony in Arlington, Va., Oct. 5.

The award is presented each year to the development laboratory that demonstrates an exceptional degree of excellence in its technical accomplishments, management initiatives, programs, human resources management and financial management.

Dean G. Popps, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology; Lt. Gen. N. Ross Thompson III, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology; and Dr. Thomas Killion, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology were on stage to present the award to ARDEC Director Dr. Joseph A. Lannon.

"We're proud of our mission to equip and sustain the world's most capable, powerful, and respected Army," Popps said during the ceremony, emphasizing the mission-critical role acquisition professionals play in supporting the warfighter. "This mission requires a highly skilled workforce capable of developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the equipment our Soldiers depend upon."

With more than 3,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel employed at five locations throughout the United States, ARDEC researches and develops advanced technologies for military armaments used by America's warfighters.

ARDEC, Picatinny's largest organization, previously won the award in 1986, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006.

"This award recognizes ARDEC's workforce as providing excellent support to all our customers including the warfighter. It's just one of several awards that our workforce has achieved over the past year," said Lannon. "Again, the real winner in these achievements is our warfighter whom we continue to provide our best efforts, and with the rest of the life cycle management commands, we support the best equipment."

ARDEC provides armaments research, development and engineering for a broad spectrum of armament technologies and products that support the current and future forces of our nation. These include small-, medium- and large-caliber weapons, guidance systems, explosives, warheads, propellants, ammunition and related support systems.

Based on feedback from Soldiers returning from overseas, ARDEC undertakes projects and provides a quick turn-around to ensure the Army has the best weapons systems available to survive and defeat the enemy.

For instance, the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System was a direct response to a warfighter need to replace the Army's aging M24 Sniper Weapon System with a semi-automatic solution. The M110 SASS supplements the sniper's role to support combat operations with a greater rate of fire and greater possible standoff ranges to improve sniper survivability. Soldiers selected the M110 SASS as a 2007 Army Greatest Invention.

ARDEC also won the 2007 Baldrige Award, which is the nation's top honor for performance management and quality achievement. Leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results are among the criteria for the award.

As the Army's principal researcher, developer and sustainer of current and future military armaments systems, ARDEC is focused in particular on developing and improving the technical capabilities of service members fighting the Global War on Terrorism. ARDEC provides more than 90 percent of the Army's munitions.