NATICK, Mass. – The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, hosted the DEVCOM Soldier Center Industry Day on September 29, 2022. The event — which took place at the Residence Inn in Natick, Massachusetts — aimed to engage industry and academic partners and foster relationships that will support the Soldier Center’s mission.
“Industry Day provided the Soldier Center with an excellent opportunity to connect with potential partners and to educate them about our mission and opportunities for collaboration,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC.
DEVCOM SC is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. Industry Day provided information and enabled discussions between DEVCOM SC and industry/academia through a senior leader panel, general briefings, and one-on-one exchanges on a wide variety of topics. The event also provided attendees with concrete information on how to work with the Soldier Center.
“Sustaining and fostering relationships with our industry partners and academia is extremely important for the Soldier Center, and we are very excited with the turnout for the Industry Day event we hosted,” said Richard Hornstein, deputy chief of staff for G-3/5 Operations and Plans at DEVCOM SC.
Hornstein noted that Brig. Gen. Larry Q. Burris, Jr. — the Infantry School Commandant and the Director of the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team at the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence — served as the keynote speaker, addressing an audience of 107 members of industry, helping to align industry efforts with Army goals. Hornstein explained that DEVCOM SC also conducted 85 one-on-one meetings with its partners. Through 21 poster presentations, government representatives further engaged with industry representatives throughout the afternoon.
“These engagements help to inform our industry partners of our development goals and challenges as well as provide them with a venue to share ideas and capabilities they may have available to meet our needs,” said Hornstein. “They also expand and sustain relationships and provide business opportunities for both industry and academia that help us transform basic and applied research requirements into new ideas, capabilities and technologies that underpin the modernization goals of the Army, which is ultimately the mission of the DEVCOM Soldier Center.”
DEVCOM SC topics of discussion included increased Soldier protection, encompassing Arctic Soldier equipment and environmental capabilities; helmets with increased threat level protection; and eyewear with increased fragmentation protection and active anti-fog capability. Some other topics included advanced materials for ballistic protection; reduction of Soldier load; understanding and modeling of Soldier load; and Soldier/squad equipment integration. Other topics included camouflage, concealment, and deception.
Subject matter experts also provided briefings on enhanced Soldier technologies, including power generation, training and simulation technologies, small unit battle training, combat simulation, human performance technologies (wearables, biosensors, exoskeletons, human performance data management systems, assessment technologies, and measurement technologies), and Soldier/robotic interface. Soldier sustainment topics included small unit water generation, nutrient-dense rations/longer shelf-life rations, and novel solutions for re-supply to remote locations.
Michael Codega, DEVCOM SC’s chief technology officer, provided a briefing on DEVCOM SC’s Science and Technology Strategy, including Warfighter Integrated Capability & Knowledge Development, or WICKED, programs.
WICKED programs are large S&T programs focused on creating solutions to problems facing Soldiers and small units in future operating environments. Given the complexity of problems facing warfighters, potential solutions need to combine advanced technology development, applied research. and basic research.
“With such a broad mission and competition for resources, the WICKED problem/program framework is essential for Soldier Center, our partners and the Army enterprise to ensure we are focusing on those operational challenges and opportunities that will allow Soldiers to dominate in the future operating environment,” said Codega.
Burris praised the event.
“We value the various forums the Army facilitates to communicate and collaborate with the enterprise, but what sets this event apart from the rest is the focus on that which is vital to the future of the Close Combat Force,” said Burris. “Here we have interested partners in industry and academia, who are meeting with stakeholders in the Soldier enterprise face-to-face and sometimes one-on-one, to speak clearly and candidly to fully understand the requirements of the Close Combat Force. Industry and academia can take what they learn today and iterate on the problem or the potential from every angle, and we end up with the non-traditional solutions to help the Army maintain decisive and sustainable overmatch.”
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.