NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center hosted Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Daniel B. Allyn on Sept. 13.

"It was a pleasure to host General Allyn, and this was a great opportunity to gain insight into some of the priorities and issues at his level," NSRDEC Director Doug Tamilio said. "NSRDEC is committed to helping the VCSA to streamline the acquisition process to enable rapid enhancements in Soldier capability."

The visit focused on the innovative research being performed at NSRDEC, which is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. NSRDEC's cutting-edge research includes advances in body armor, textiles/fibers, combat feeding, aerial delivery, shelters, expeditionary basing and collective protection, biomechanics and cognitive science -- to name just a few.

Allyn, who grew up in Maine, interacted with subject matter experts with genuine interest, asking tough questions and peppering frank discussions with humor.

"People from Maine tend to speak bluntly," Allyn said. "They don't like to waste people's time."

NSRDEC's partnerships with top-notch universities were also highlighted, including research efforts with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The visit also focused on Soldier and Squad Performance Optimization, or S2PO, and the Soldier Squad Performance Research Institute, or S2PRINT.

NSRDEC has partnered with the 82nd Airborne Division as part of a larger, all-encompassing science and technology effort called the S&T Project Integration Pilot, which is part of the S2PO initiative. NSRDEC scientists and engineers are working closely with the 82nd Airborne Division and other organizations to garner new insights into the cognitive, physical and emotional performance of Soldiers.

Rick Haddad, NSRDEC's S2PO Program Integration lead, was grateful for the opportunity to brief the vice chief of staff.

"This is a great opportunity to share how RDECOM's S2PO strategy is an innovative approach to improving Soldier performance and readiness through partnering directly with units," said Haddad.

Allyn recognized Haddad's efforts by giving him a "Soldier for Life" pin.

Rob DiLalla, an NSRDEC engineer/team leader, was another one of the day's many briefers. DiLalla discussed the revolutionary Ballistic Combat Shirt and other protective items with Allyn and RDECOM Commanding General Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins.

Wins commended DiLalla for being the recipient of the FY2015 Maj. Gen. Harold "Harry" J. Greene Award for Innovation in the Individual - Civilian Award Category. DiLalla was recognized for his work on the Ballistic Combat Shirt.

The vice chief of staff thanked NSRDEC for its work to improve life for the Soldier.

"I have an extraordinary passion to make life better for our Soldiers," said Allyn. "The way we can do that is to deliver capabilities to them faster. I know with your help, we can make a difference."


The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.