REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Sept. 8, 2021) – Readiness. When one of the Army’s key initiatives is part of your organization name, you know that you serve an important purpose in the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Systems Readiness Directorate is heavily involved in numerous Army modernization initiatives. A high percentage of SRD’s workforce support future vertical lift programs of record, efforts to adopt a modular open systems approach, and future tactical unmanned aircraft systems, to name a few.
They also are active in numerous priority research areas such as additive manufacturing, autonomy and artificial intelligence, as well as serve as the aviation subject matter experts for the Army enterprise.
“Much like the FAA does in civil aviation, one of the functions of our directorate is to assure the airworthiness across all of Army aviation,” said Chris Hodges, deputy director for Airworthiness at SRD. “Our role in so doing spans the entire life cycle, from concept exploration all the way to demilitarization and retirement of the weapon system.”
SRD deploys liaison engineers directly with the units in the field addressing repairs and maintenance engineering calls -- on demand and in a moment’s notice to keep aircraft flying. They respond quickly to materiel related failures, help program managers in technical solutions towards mitigating risk and resolve numerous technical challenges in our supply lines.
SRD’s Materiel Suitability provides life cycle engineering support across a wide range of technical disciplines, ensuring product performance throughout the life cycle – from “cradle to grave.”
“Part of our focus has been on influencing the spares acquisition process by focusing on technical data packages, parts obsolesce, product performance and product assurance,” Dr. Yolanda Powell-Friend, deputy director for Material Suitability, said. “SRD ensures a structured, systematic approach is in place to produce sustainable and suitable systems.”
All of this provides a unique challenge of having more work than people.
“We are working hard in building human capital plans and developing business strategies to ensure we can keep pace with customer demands,” Hodges said. “What’s more, there is the ever present challenge of keeping up with technological advancements, such as digital engineering, and developing our workforce in the knowledge, skills and abilities to support such initiatives.”
“There are endless opportunities for our current and future workforce,” Powell-Friend agreed. “With our partnerships and collaborations with industry, our workforce can engage with the latest technological advances, thereby increasing our experience base and knowledge of innovative technology. Thus, our directorate’s mission has to utilize talents across a wide range of disciplines, which allows for opportunities across a large spectrum of technical and some business areas.”
Simply put, SRD needs talented engineers, which is a challenge in a highly competitive market.
“It was once said that engineers were a dime a dozen,” Powell-Friend said. “The demand signal for technical support is far greater than our current staffing level. Today, we are recruiting from every platform available to maintain our highly capable and robust workforce.”
As SRD welcomes the next generation of talented minds, those new engineers will know that the work that they do – at a desk, in the lab, or on the field – will support the Soldier.
“Every division we have touches readiness,” Hodges affirmed.
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.