FORT DEVENS, Mass. (Oct. 12, 2017) -- Participants learned about the capabilities offered by Force Provider Expeditionary Base Camps, and the ongoing research and development to provide deployed Soldiers more efficient shelter and life support systems while at the Base Camp Integration Laboratory during the 2017 G-4 Professional Development Event hosted Oct. 2-3 by Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems, or PM FSS.

Lt. Col. (P) Frank Moore, product manager, PM FSS, welcomed attendees to the BCIL, which opened six years ago at Fort Devens.

"The core of what we do is really life-support systems," Moore said. "Improving quality of life for Soldiers while deployed is very important. We want a high quality of life for Soldiers, but (these systems) also need to be energy efficient."

The laboratory features a pair of 150-person base camps -- one set in a current configuration, the other to assess new technologies. Expeditionary base camp support is a priority of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley in shaping the Army of 2025-2030, and that fact drew representatives from a variety of Army commands.

This year's event focused on the Army's Force Provider Systems. It sought to inform attendees about the Force Provider request and deployment process, to display and demonstrate current and future Force Provider capability, and solicit customer feedback, to review and validate current Force Provider Army Pre-position Stocks allocation, and to demonstrate contingency base planning tools.

"The basic Force Provider baseline configuration today is to support 150 personnel," said Matt Cooke, assistant product manager (acting), Force Provider and product support manager, PM FSS.

As Cooke pointed out, the current basic modular base camp comes in 22 Tricon containers and includes air beam shelters, a kitchen, showers, latrines, a laundry, water storage, and generators. A shower and laundry water reuse capability is also offered. A camp can generally be set up in a day or less.

"Everything you need," said Cooke, adding that Force Provider is "rapidly deployable, easily transported."

Force Provider has been used around the world in combat operational support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

"We've got 83 camps deployed today," Cooke said.

Add-on kits are available for MWR facilities, chapels, cold weather, energy-efficient micro-grids, site preparation, prime power connection, water management, electric kitchen facilities, and quality of life. Rigid wall modules, which cut energy use in half, will be available over the next year.

Future 150-person camps will be able to add AMMPS micro-grids, solid waste disposal, shelter protection systems, and black waste remediation. Camps configured for 600 or more personnel will have the options of ice making, water bottling, and waste-to-energy systems.

Such technological advances have been made possible, in part, through insights provided by service members who use the BCIL as a training base.

"They come in and they live in Force Provider. We get their feedback," said Mike Hope, team leader, Combat Field Services Equipment Team. "That's really what's driven our modernization. We just listen to what the Soldier says."