By Megan Paice, RDECOM Public Affairs June 8, 2017
ABERDEEN, Md. - - Stephan Boehmsdorff was always fascinated with rockets and space sciences, but as a kid, he struggled in math and science. When he turned 14 years old, something changed, and he began to excel in these subjects, as well as physics.
Boehmsdorff now serves as Germany's Foreign Liaison Officer to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. As the German FLO, Boehmsdorff fosters technology program initiatives between the U.S. and Germany as part of the International Cooperation & Exchange Office at RDECOM headquarters.
Boehmsdorff worked on his first U.S. bilateral military project in 1995 while at the Research Establishment of Applied Science in the Millimeterwave and Seeker Head Division in Wachtberg, Germany. As a research scientist, he developed an antenna and algorithms that provide 3-D images of terrain and infrastructure, at GHz frequencies. He says this is his most significant achievement.
In September 2016, when Boehmsdorff took over from his predecessor, the position was transitioned from Communications Electronic Research, Development and Engineering Center to RDECOM headquarters. In this position, Boehmsdorff has strategic oversight of the Germany's collaborative R&D activities across the RDECOM Enterprise.
"That puts me in the position to identify possible mutual interests of the U.S. and Germany in an early phase that might lead to a collaboration and help both of our nations to save money. As a byproduct, future systems that are designed together are most likely interoperable which helps our Soldiers in multinational operations." he said.
Boehmsdorff's responsibilities include assisting with the initiation and coordination of U.S. and German defense cooperation, supporting joint multinational science and technology activities, planning and executing cooperative defense programs and coordinating technical data exchange and project agreements.
"I am always curious to learn new things and working within IC&E has given me an opportunity to not only see what is going on in my country but also allows me to network with FLOs from other countries. Working as a FLO at RDECOM puts me in the position to see state-of the-art research and development by top U.S. Army engineers and scientists," Boehmsdorff said.
"I also work with many different people and learn about many different cultural habits because of the diversity of your nation. I really love this aspect of my job."
While Boehmsdorff enjoys his role as FLO, he misses events in Germany, especially Carnival.
"Carnival is a big thing in Germany, especially in the vicinity of Cologne. We celebrate the so called 'fifth season' with festivities and parades very enthusiastically," Boehmsdorff said.
Carnival, which is similar to Mardi Gras, starts November 11 and ends Ash Wednesday.
In his hometown, Boehmsdorff is on the committee of 11 men, or Elferrat. The Elferrat plan the events and organize other details of Carnival. The photo below shows the current carnival medals that were sent to him while being abroad as greetings from the various carnival organizations of his hometown.
While Boehmsdorff misses Germany, Maryland reminds him of his hometown on the banks of the Rhine River.
"I love the greens of summer and the whites of the winter. This year I was disappointed with the little amount of snow. So if Maryland can make it up next winter, I would say Maryland would be my favorite place," he said.
During his time in the U.S., Boehmsdorff has snorkeled with manatees, visited Niagara Falls and the Kennedy Space Center where he saw the Saturn V and Atlantis exhibits.
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.