Meeting highlights extraordinary innovation ecosystem and CCDC Soldier Center’s focus on the future warfighter

By Jane Benson, CCDC SC Public AffairsJune 25, 2020

(Photo Credit: David Kamm, CCDC SC) VIEW ORIGINAL

NATICK, Mass. – Collaboration and innovation ruled the day at a recent meeting of the Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or CCDC SC, and its New England partners, representing Federal/State government, academia and industry. The meeting, which focused on CCDC SC’s and its partners’ efforts in support of national security, took place at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Innovation Hub.

The meeting provided the opportunity for members of multiple and impressive New England innovation ecosystems to brief Brigadier General James Bienlien, deputy commanding general of the Combat Capabilities Development Command and the senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, as well as update Douglas Tamilio, director of CCDC SC, on a wide variety of technologies and scientific advances benefitting the warfighter.

“This building, the Innovation Center at 110 Canal Street, integrates startups, industry, DOD, and academic R&D and talent, representing the collaborations this region actively creates and fosters,” said Julie Chen, Ph.D, vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, or UML.

“We are part of an unparalleled scientific and high-tech ecosystem that works to solve DOD’s challenges and provide the best for our Soldiers,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of CCDC SC.

The event at UML brought together some of the best scientific and technological organizations in the New England region. In addition to CCDC SC and UML, the event included representatives from the 75th Innovation Command (75IC),  Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), BAE Systems, Draper Labs, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MIT Lincoln Laboratories, CCDC Army Research Laboratory Northeast, National Security Innovation Network, Bay State Army ROTC Battalion (WPI), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, specifically the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM), and NextFlex. The event also included a tour of UML’s Fabric Discovery Center and NERVE Robotics Center.

This event also highlighted CCDC SC’s and UML’s long history of collaboration that includes a joint research and development initiative called Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers, or HEROES. Through the HEROES program, dozens of engineers and scientists from CCDC SC and faculty members and students from UML work together to solve complex scientific and engineering challenges.

During the ecosystem meeting, Chen pointed out the key role that CCDC SC’s Mathew Correa plays in bringing CCDC SC together with industry and academia.

“I want to acknowledge Mat Correa, who does so much to connect all of us across this ecosystem,” said Chen.

“What binds us all together is that we want to empower our nation and engage the national security sector, which has significant posture in the region,” said Correa. “We want to get the right equipment to our warfighters for today’s conflicts as well as tomorrow’s.”

“We will continuously modernize the Army through ever broadening symbiotic relationships within the innovation ecosystem where the ideas, efforts, and innovations of constituent stakeholders advance our military capability and the underlying national economy simultaneously,” said Col. Ron Corsetti, East Coast lead for the 75th Innovation Command.

The presentations given at the ecosystem event underscored how the ecosystem enables exceptional research opportunities, collaboration and capabilities, and how the ecosystem accelerates technology development and manufacturing. Topics discussed included advances in smart materials, Soldier protection, communications, Soldier sensors, electronics, cyber operations, and robotics.

“This ecosystem is incredibly important to help modernize our Army,” said Tamilio. “We cannot achieve our desired end state for Soldiers alone, everybody plays an integral part. When you look at all the academic institutions, industries, and organizations that are located here, you can truly see how powerful New England is.”

“There are amazing things going on here,” said Bienlien, who was eager to follow up with presenters and to make the capabilities of this ecosystem well known throughout the Army Futures Command and the Army at large. “There is a strong desire to see these types of intersecting innovation ecosystems scale across CCDC, AFC, and the Army to Forge the Future for our Soldiers.”


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.