NATICK, Mass. – The latest advances in Combat Feeding and performance nutrition were highlighted during a recent visit by Col. Geoff Kent to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC. Kent is the special assistant to Gen. Ed Daly, commanding general, Army Materiel Command. Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC, hosted the visit.
“Col. Kent’s visit was a great opportunity to show how DEVCOM SC is playing an important role in improving performance-oriented nutrition for the warfighter,” said Tamilio.
During the visit, DEVCOM SC’s Combat Feeding Division, part of the Soldier Sustainment Directorate, presented information on the Armed Forces Recipe Service, or AFRS, project.
“This visit provided CFD an opportunity to share with AMC the work the division does in support of developing new recipes that align with current culinary trends, diner preferences, and maximize nutrition for performance — all while being visually appealing and tasty,” said Erin Gaffney Stomberg, PhD, RD, who serves as the division chief for Combat Feeding.
Stomberg explained that the primary goal of the Armed Forces Recipe Service is “to establish and maintain a robust collection of recipes and supporting materials to facilitate performance-oriented menu design for DoD garrison dining — to include kiosks, food trucks and other remote/alternative feeding platforms.” She said that the Joint Services Recipe Committee, or JSRC, meets at least bi-monthly and provides updated guidance to the AFRS for recipe and guideline card needs.
“The JSRC may shift priorities based on world events, Congressional direction, and other factors,” said Stomberg.
Kent said that he was researching “transforming our installation dining services, at least the process of how we deliver nutrition, with nutrition being the key to it, from a legacy system to a modern 21st century system.”
Kent noted the significance of the work being done through the Armed Forces Recipe Service project for the dining facilities. He explained that the work being done is a drive “to make our installations destination points for food and building up the food ecosystem.”
“It is based off a lot of the extraordinary work that you are all doing with the immense focus on quality nutrition, the tremendous work that you have done with recipes over the past three years in terms of developing new recipes and updating older recipes,” said Kent.
Food is central to the life of a Soldier.
“Food is certainly the center of our culture, the center of our Army installations and bases, and its where people come together and build cohesive teams,” said Kent.
Daly assigned Kent as the lead for researching opportunities to be able to “provide an abundance of healthy food options that our Soldiers, our families, and our Army communities are just going to love,” Kent said.
Kent also noted the importance of connecting nutrition and human performance.
“This has been a very great visit for me to see not only what you have been doing with the nutrition and recipe side but even some of the other things that you are doing to link it up to human performance for our Soldiers — cognitive, physically, emotionally — and how much nutrition is tied to that and how important that is,” said Kent. “This is the start of a great relationship between the Army Food Innovation and Transformation Special Projects Office within AMC and DEVCOM and the Soldier Center at Natick.”
In addition to visiting DEVCOM SC, Kent also received an overview from U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s Military Nutrition Division, whose mission includes conducting physiologic research that informs warfighter nutrition requirements, as well as evaluating the effectiveness of dining facility interventions aimed at improving warfighters’ nutritional intake. DEVCOM SC and USARIEM are frequent partners in research that benefits the warfighter.
About DEVCOM Soldier Center: 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 are 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.