FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Posters and technology prototypes lined the building as college students pitched their innovative ideas to U.S. Army engineers, scientists and Soldiers at Fort Belvoir.
The Army Strategic Program for Innovation, Research, and Employment, known as ASPIRE, brought together students from various universities across the East Coast to participate in showcasing proposals that would help address Soldier needs.
The event, hosted by the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center, was initiated in 2021 with the sole purpose of partnering with universities to engage a relationship of innovation and talent recruitment. The C5ISR Center is an element of the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.
The ASPIRE program started as an initiative for innovation, education, outreach and collaboration. It soon developed into a multi-university educational Capstone series that fosters university student development, critical thinking, team building, through cross-disciplinary and cross-university projects. It also provides an avenue for students to apply application skills towards future Army C5ISR needs in research, technology, and innovation.
“We had a collection of nine universities, consisting of more than 100 students, and 36 sponsored projects,” said Dr. Richard Nabors, Principal Deputy Director of the C5ISR Center Research and Technology Integration Directorate. “It has been awesome seeing the incredibly innovative approaches being applied by ASPIRE students and faculty to Army technology programs. This is really great work!”
The event invited faculty and staff from C5ISR Center university partners — Christopher Newport University, the City College of New York, George Mason University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Virginia State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech University.
When the program began, students were paired with faculty mentors and given broad guidelines of Army focus areas that these technology solutions should address. Students worked with their mentor, identified a problem and developed a solution by incorporating use cases and constructing prototypes to illustrate their results.
On demonstration day, students from the universities came together to present their projects to Army scientists, engineers, and Soldiers from the C5ISR Center. Projects highlighted technologies in the following focus areas: data recognition, sensor testing, infrared imagery, power, and radio communication, to name a few.
“Students were thrilled about the opportunity to come to Fort Belvoir to showcase their projects to the engineers, scientists, and Soldiers at C5ISR Center,” stated Alicia Miller, C5ISR Center lead operations officer and coordinator of the ASPIRE event at Fort Belvoir. “They also enjoyed the various demonstrations we had set up for them to view.”
After students demonstrated their own technology, C5ISR Center engineers, scientists and Soldiers provided students with an overview of tactical technology and vehicle equipment currently being used to address Soldier needs.
The event proved as an excellent opportunity for students to network among their peers, mentors, and potential employers.
The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. 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.