"We're constantly looking at how we collaborate and create a more free exchange of information across the enterprise, and we are deliberate in including industry in that enterprise. We need to be able to have these candid conversations so we can collaborate on solutions that make sense for our Soldiers."
-- Col. Troy Denomy, PEO Soldier
Soldier Lethality CFT, Fort Benning, GA -- Industry representatives from across the country converged at the National Infantry Museum near Fort Benning, GA., January 23 to seek information in pursuit of partnerships with Army officials in the second Adaptive Squad Architecture (ASA) Industry Day, hosted by PEO Soldier and the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team (SL CFT). This event was an information exchange between Army organizations seeking to modernize the force and the subject matter experts within industry who might provide innovative solutions to the unique challenges related to the development of Adaptive Squad Architecture.
As a follow up to the first industry day, this one took a deeper dive into problem statements and gave potential industry partners the opportunity to ask questions and seek feedback on budding solutions.
ASA is the technical architecture that will incorporate the digital aspects of the Soldier kit and address the power and interface challenges associated with a growing digital space. As the name implies, the development of the ASA must adapt to new capabilities as technologies evolve. The ASA concept demands the Soldier be treated as an integrated weapons system and the squad as an integrated weapons platform, much the same as an aircraft carrier or tank is 'kitted' as a system.
"An M1 Tank is a system; everyone understands that. A system has components, and when you add to or take away, you impact the whole system," said Brigadier General David Hodne, the director of the Soldier Lethality CFT at Fort Benning, when he addressed the industry leaders last week. The same should be said for the Soldier, but in the past that has not been the case. With 29 years as an Infantryman under his belt, Hodne said he's "worn a lot of kit."
"Every time I marveled at a piece of equipment, it was something that easily integrated into my kit," he said. "This is important work. I'm an old Soldier, but I'm thinking about our privates, our future leaders. We need to arm them with next generation capabilities that will make for decisive overmatch on the future battlefield."
Next generation capabilities must be efficient to be effective. Currently, Soldiers in an Infantry squad each carry roughly 122 pounds of kit, and they manage diverse and often incompatible power sources, processing systems, cables, and interfaces. ASA addresses this issue and demands a focus on the needs of the Soldier in respect to power, maneuverability, situational awareness, and survivability. Every piece of kit must work together to increase lethality through decreased weight, size, power, and cognitive burdens. The ideal architecture will aid the Soldier on the battlefield by optimizing data in a standard interface that aggregates actionable intelligence and facilitates efficient data exchange.
Whereas the first ASA Industry Day focused on the formal programmatic requirements, this one gave Army leaders the opportunity to outline gaps they've identified in the design process and formulate them into working problem statements to present to the industry representatives. Since Army Futures Command (AFC) was stood up in 2018, AFC subordinates, like the Soldier Lethality CFT, have partnered with traditional Army acquisitions experts within the ASA (ALT) PEO, including PEO Soldier, and Combat Capabilities Development Command communities to leverage expertise and innovation with both traditional and non-traditional industry partners. By working together, these partnerships increase the efficiency of the Army's overall product and capability portfolio in the categories of power, data, wireless, Soldier mobility and survivability, artificial intelligence, and more. Industry days are designed to bring stakeholders together and eliminate barriers to innovative solutions to the Army's most pressing modernization challenges.
"Collaboration has been our theme since the last industry day. We're trying to be efficient and effective at the same time, understanding the rules and working to change the capability in a more holistic and integrated way," said Col. Troy Denomy, the program manager for PEO Soldier Close Combat Squad. "We're constantly looking at how we collaborate and create more of a free exchange of information across the enterprise, and we are deliberate in including industry in that enterprise. We need to be able to have these candid conversations so we can collaborate on solutions that make sense for our Soldiers. We're optimizing the platform, not the components, and that requires a paradigm shift. That's really where we're seeing a cultural change in the Army."
For more information about Adaptive Squad Architecture or ASA Industry Day, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Army Futures Command and its subordinate cross functional teams partner with ASA(ALT) and its PEO subsidiaries, CCDC, and multiple branches of the Army Modernization Enterprise to deliver the next generation capabilities necessary to establish and sustain a clear and decisive overmatch for the Army of 2028 and beyond.