By Argie Sarantinos-Perrin, RDECOM Public AffairsOctober 17, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Senior leaders from U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM, discussed the theme of "ready today, more lethal tomorrow" at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting Oct. 8-10 here, billed as the largest land warfare trade show in North America.
RDECOM is preparing to become a major subordinate element of the new Army Futures Command, which was stood up this summer and will consist of three subordinate elements: Futures and Concepts, Combat Development and Combat Systems.
"The RDECOM team has been deeply embedded into the process of creating the Army Futures Command from the very beginning. Leaders at every level have listened to our input and considered our recommendations," said Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, commanding general of RDECOM.
On the first day of AUSA, Wins participated in a media panel on munitions modernization and achieving overmatch on the battlefield. He spoke about RDECOM's work with energetic materials and warheads, which align with the two of the Army's modernization priorities -- Long-Range Precision fires and Next Generation Combat Vehicles.
"We completed an energetics study to understand where we are from a threat perspective, what are the threat capabilities and what have we achieved over the last 17 years; then we will assess the systems and platforms and core skills that we have to make advances in the future area of energetics propulsion," Wins said.
RDECOM also displayed some of its superior technology capabilities during the conference. Visitors to the Army exhibit booth donned head-mounted goggles to test the Augmented REality Sandtable, or ARES, system. Using augmented and virtual reality, ARES simulates a 3-D battlefield with layered terrain, tactical landmarks and diverse weather conditions. The ARES system enables Soldiers to train repeatedly in a safe environment and plan missions, use technology in new ways and conduct tactical operations in real time.
Another part of the Army exhibit booth, the Warriors' Corner, featured discussions on various topics, including the Army's six modernization priorities -- Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Future Vertical Lift, the Army Network, Air and Missile Defense, and Soldier Lethality. Representatives from each modernization priority Cross-Functional Team, or CFT, provided an update on their team's progress throughout the three-day event. A "team of teams" approach was emphasized across the CFTs.
Patrick O'Neill, director of RDECOM Communications-Electronics Center, participated in the Army Network CFT update. RDECOM works closely with the Network CFT, which is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to deliver a mobile and expeditionary Army network that will support multi-domain operations. The Network enables capabilities across all of RDECOM's competencies -- from aviation and missile defense, to armaments, tank and automotive systems, and Soldier systems.
"The battlefield of the future is going to be incredibly data rich," said Dr. Angela Dalton of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, who works with the Network CFT. "Interoperability will be a key characteristic in the network."
The Network CFT is working on four lines of effort: unified network, common operating environment, joint interoperability/coalition accessibility and command post mobility/survivability.
Plans for the future include an industry/academia day in Austin, Texas -- headquarters for Army Futures Command -- in February or March, which will include technical and program of record road maps hosted by the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Team CFT.
Mike George, RDECOM Armaments Center Science & Technology advisor, participated in an update on the Long-Range Precision Fires CFT at the Warriors' Corner. The LRPF CFT, which is located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, is working on technologies for cannons, munitions, rockets, and missiles with enhanced precision and lethality effects at extended ranges in degraded anti-access/area denial, or A2AD, operational environments. RDECOM has two employees dedicated to supporting the LRPF CFT, with reach back to two dozen RDECOM employees for support at any time.
Key goals for the LRPF CFT include defining requirements and funding, and planning how to test more efficiently.
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.