Warren, Mich. -- Industry insiders from the Army ground combat vehicle community gathered last week for the seventh annual Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium hosted by the Michigan chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association.

The symposium included speeches and panels outlining the current state of Army ground vehicle research and trends for the future and unique exhibits by both military and civilian engineering centers, companies, suppliers and manufacturers.

Presenting the opening address on, "Emerging Technologies to Meet Capability Gaps, Near and Long Term," was Dr. Paul Rogers, Director, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

"As you know, there's a lot of discussion as to the modernization of our formation and the materiel solutions are critical to that," stated Rogers, addressing more than 900 military and civilian attendees representing the full spectrum of military ground vehicle systems. Although the newest and greatest technologies in the ground vehicle landscape were the highlight of the symposium, Rogers stressed the need to look beyond.

"Technology in itself offers us little value," Rogers explained. "It's the integration of that technology into our systems and into our platforms that gives us the warfighting capability that we all seek."

Such technology integration was on display at the event, too. TARDEC's Squad-Centric Mounted Maneuver concept for ground vehicles demonstrated how the integration of tablet, communications and visual imagery technology onto a current vehicle platform delivers unprecedented capability to the Soldiers that vehicle supports.

Beyond the SCMM concept, the common thread throughout the panel discussions, speeches and displays was the needs of the warfighter.

"Sitting and discussing something we're trying to sell is very interesting, but understanding how that nests within our platforms, how that changes the capabilities we're trying to deliver to the warfighter is the number one reason we're here," said Rogers.

Delivering the symposium's keynote address and stressing the need to focus on capability of our formations was Gen. David Perkins, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

"In the land domain, we don't focus on buying things to fight, we focus on building capability to win," says Perkins. "We don't just take one tank by itself and put it in the desert and say, 'Army of One. Go forth and do well.' We don't send individual 'things' out to do anything. We send formations out, and formations are a combination of multiple capabilities."

In addition to the keynote address, the event's three days include panel discussions hosted by TRADOC, Cyber-security and other ground vehicle experts.

Papers presented during the event include topics from Autonomous Ground Systems and Systems Engineering to Vehicle Electronic Architecture and Power and Mobility.