NATICK, Mass. – Female Soldier equipment and performance were the focus of a recent visit by Lt. Col. Rachel M. Cepis to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC. Cepis serves as the director of Women in U.S. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) Initiative.
“The visit provided an excellent opportunity for Lt. Col. Cepis to view DEVCOM SC’s efforts to best meet the needs of female Soldiers,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC. “As the role of female Soldiers continues to expand, the need female-centric clothing and equipment continues to grow. DEVCOM SC is a longtime leader in developing Soldier clothing and equipment. We are also a leader in anthropometrics. We are working to expand our female anthropometric databases and to incorporate female anthropometric characteristics — body size and shape — into the development of Soldier clothing and equipment designed specifically for females.”
The visit included briefings from DEVCOM SC scientists and engineers, as well as researchers from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM. DEVCOM SC and USARIEM are frequent research partners. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) PM Protection and Integration also briefed Cepis on mission and priorities.
During the visit, DEVCOM SC subject matter experts briefed Cepis on the Army Physical Fitness Uniform – Maternity (APFU-M), female footwear, the Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness (MASTR-E) effort, Soldier protection equipment, the head shape modeling project, and female specific ergonomic and human systems integration research into clothing and individual equipment.
Cepis also toured the Design, Pattern and Prototype Studio, which included briefings on latest developments in clothing and equipment for the female warfighter, as well as the Load Carriage Shop, and the Low Velocity Impact and Ballistics Lab.
“There are so many overlap points between the work we are doing here at Soldier Center — specifically some of the work that our Applied Ergonomics Branch has been doing — and the difficulties and challenge points that Lt. Col. Cepis’ studies have found,” said Blake Mitchell, DEVCOM SC’s Applied Ergonomics team leader. “It’s exciting to be able to leverage each other’s work to be able to really reach the female Soldier to provide them the solutions they need to perform to their maximum potential.”
In addition to briefings by DEVCOM SC scientists and engineers, Cepis was also briefed by USARIEM researchers on mission priorities, including female elite warfighters, physical performance optimization, and mountain medicine.
“This visit was a great opportunity to see Army innovation in action,” said Cepis. “Our partnership with DEVCOM SC and USARIEM will facilitate addressing gaps identified in female performance needs, injury prevention, recovery, and adaptive responses to long-term extreme stress imposed by elite military training and service. I am excited to work with the professionals in these organizations and look forward to continued collaboration”.
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.