NATICK, Mass. – The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or CCDC SC, is working with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s (MRDC’s) Military Infectious Disease and Military Operational Medicine Research Program on an MRDC-led, sensor-based study relating physiological status to health stressors. MRDC and CCDC SC, both part of the Army Futures Command, are working together to provide insight into human performance/physiology/symptomology in correlation to susceptibility to illness, including the COVID-19 virus. The effort will help with screening and triage and lead to better targeted testing of the illness.
CCDC SC is supporting MRDC in its effort to better understand COVID-19 susceptibility and in its effort to develop a predictive algorithm. In addition to MRDC and CCDC SC, the effort will involve other experts throughout the military, industry, and academia.
MRDC will resource CCDC SC to provide wearable sensors to 1,000 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division this summer. The commercially available sensors are designed to not interfere with the daily tasks of the Soldiers. Physiological signals from the sensors will be used to monitor Soldier health and develop algorithms for detection of presymptomatic or asymptomatic signatures of infection and illness.
In addition to developing capabilities to combat the current global COVID-19 crisis, data and insights gained from the effort will help advance the Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness, or MASTR-E, program. The effort may also leverage work already underway in the MASTR-E program. Led by CCDC SC, MASTR-E is a large-scale effort that will measure, predict, and enhance close combat performance with predictive performance algorithms, sensors, data-driven decision aids, and targeted interventions to maximize Soldier performance. CCDC SC is working with numerous military, academic, and industry partners on the effort. The goal of the MASTR-E program is to characterize and predict Soldier cognitive and physical performance under operationally relevant conditions, ultimately increasing warfighter capability.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force, a critical sponsor and advocate for the MASTR-E program, was instrumental in identifying and connecting CCDC SC to a study partner unit within the 10th Mountain Division. The partner unit will help CCDC SC with its work in support of MRDC’s effort to better understand COVID-19 susceptibility and in MRDC’s effort to develop a predictive algorithm.
George Matook, the program manager for MASTR-E, said that CCDC SC’s work with MRDC and the 10th Mountain Division “is a great example of near-term capability delivery and unity of effort across the Army Futures Command and other services to help the readiness of the force, both from a health and a performance perspective.”
Joseph Patterson, the project lead for the Tactical Stress Marksmanship Assessment (part of the (MASTR-E program) at CCDC SC, explained that the study will use wearable sensors as a potential screening/triage tool. The tool will assist with further medical testing recommendations to help lead to an accurate diagnosis. Additional research will be required to determine the accuracy of the sensors as well as parameter validity. Physiological parameters include the monitoring of body temperature, heart-rate variability, respiratory rate, and resting heart rate. These parameters will also be used to further understand military performance and recovery.
Patterson said that the goal of the effort is to “understand how to couple COVID-19 symptomology with physiology in order to inform early detection of COVID-19 infection.”
Early detection will enable a Soldier’s chain of command to isolate him or her 24 to 48 hours in advance of the onset of the disease at the height of transmissibility. The Soldier will then be referred to a medical provider for diagnostic testing and medical management, reducing the risk of the disease spreading.
Patterson, who is the lead for CCDC SC’s role in the MRDC-resourced effort, explained that the study – by providing insight into health and human performance – will accelerate the MASTR-E program’s research into how Soldier training development helps promote overall unit readiness.
“Soldiers and their leaders will have a better understanding of performance, readiness and impacts of behaviors on individual and unit military performance,” said Patterson.
About CCDC SC: CCDC SC is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. CCDC SC supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the CCDC SC’s chief areas of focus. The center’s science and engineering expertise are combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance. The center supports the Army as it transforms from being adaptive to driving innovation to support a Multi-Domain Operations Capable Force of 2028 and a MDO Ready Force of 2035. CCDC SC is constantly working to strengthen Soldiers’ performance to increase readiness and support for warfighters who are organized, trained, and equipped for prompt and sustainable ground combat.
CCDC SC is part of CCDC. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.