NATICK, Mass. – The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, hosted the 40th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. James C. McConville, on May 25.
McConville’s “People First” philosophy was front and center throughout his visit as he interacted with DEVCOM SC’s subject matter experts, showing personal interest in the people themselves as well as the work they do for the Soldier.
“It’s great to do research, but it’s also important to get new technologies quickly into the hands of Soldiers,” said McConville. “You do that here.”
DEVCOM SC subject matter experts provided briefings on the center’s cutting-edge science and technologies, including advances in helmets, boots, ballistic protection, combat feeding and performance nutrition, aerial delivery, biomechanics, cognitive science, exoskeleton systems, head-borne systems, clothing and equipment designed to meets the specific needs of female Soldiers, and cold-weather clothing and equipment. The tour also highlighted collaborative efforts with DEVCOM SC’s installation partner, the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM.
“It was a great opportunity to showcase the many ways in which the Soldier Center supports the Army’s Modernization efforts,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC. “People drive our success. The innovative efforts of our world-class scientists and engineers, combined with our numerous collaborations with academia and industry, enable us to work to overcome the challenges facing warfighters – all while optimizing their performance and increasing their lethality.”
DEVCOM SC subject matter experts also presented information on the Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness, or MASTR-E, program. Led by DEVCOM Soldier Center, the program 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. Soldier input plays an integral role in the MASTR-E program.
During the MASTR-E briefing, McConville said that he believes strongly in the importance of getting and incorporating Soldier input/feedback early in the design process.
“I’m always looking for ideas to make us better,” said McConville to the presenters, who included George Matook, who serves as the MASTR-E program manager, Dr. Tad Brunyé, and Dr. John Ramsay. “I like the fact that you work directly with Soldiers.”
During a tour of aerial delivery capabilities, McConville was impressed that Jennifer Hunt, team leader of DEVCOM SC’s Prototype Textile & Aerial Delivery Fabrication Team, had completed the U.S. Army Basic Airborne School, known as Jump School, as a civilian, as well as with her work for the warfighter.
“It was an honor to speak with General McConville and present some of the work being done by the Prototype Textile and Aerial Fabrication Team, as well as show our support and commitment to the airborne community,” said Hunt.
Stephen Moody, the Combat Feeding division chief at DEVCOM SC, noted that the boost given by the Army Chief of Staff’s interest in people cannot be overstated.
“Being able to brief the highest ranking officer in the Army was an honor,” said Moody. “The validation of our efforts' value by the highest levels of leadership was a great morale boost to a workforce that is already proud of what they do for the warfighter every day.”
“We enjoyed the honor and opportunity to speak with General McConville today,” said DEVCOM SC’s Richard Benney, associate director of the Sustainment Directorate. Benney, who co-briefed the CSA with PM partners, felt privileged that the Soldier Center had the chance to showcase a wide range of warfighter technologies during the visit, including advances in aerial delivery.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ismael Ramosbarbosa, Demonstrated Master Logistician, Quartermaster, and a military liaison officer at DEVCOM SC, noted the importance of supporting the CSA’s call to get the latest and greatest technologies into the hands of warfighters as quickly as possible. He noted that the visit was a great opportunity to showcase to General McConville aerial delivery initiatives “in support of Army's modernization efforts with the goal of providing our Soldiers with tomorrow's technology today."
DEVCOM Soldier Center’s role in the New England innovation ecosystem was also highlighted during the visit, including the organization’s collaborations with top-notch universities and partnerships with industry.
Brig. Gen. James P. Bienlien, deputy commanding general, DEVCOM, and senior commander, Natick Soldier Systems Center, referred to the unique innovation ecosystem as “AFC Northeast.” He pointed out that the ecosystem is comprised of colleges, nonprofits, and industry partners, as well as Massachusetts State government.
“We leverage this collective to solve Army problems,” said Beinlein. “I haven’t seen anything to match this anywhere else.”
Near the end of his visit, McConville reiterated that people are the Army’s number one priority.
“Our greatest weapon system is our people,” said McConville. “It’s all about getting our Soldiers what they need. On behalf of our Soldiers, I want to thank each and every one of you for the work you do here.”
The DEVCOM Soldier Center is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. DEVCOM Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the DEVCOM Soldier Center’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. DEVCOM Soldier Center 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.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers is also an important part of the mission of DEVCOM Soldier Center. The mentoring of students by Army scientists and engineers benefits the students and their communities. It also increases young people's awareness of potential Army job opportunities and helps provide the Army with potential new talent, helping to fuel innovative ideas that benefit the nation's warfighters and the nation as a whole.
DEVCOM Soldier Center is part of DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, DEVCOM 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. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.