PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- A permanent symbol of excellence was affixed to the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) organizational flag in a Superior Unit Award streamer ceremony here Sept. 22.

Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, commanding general of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), affixed the streamer to the flag. "The significance of the award is historic. That award will be recorded for eternity. It will remain in our nation's archives as part of our nation's history," he said in a town hall meeting after the ceremony.

The Secretary of the Army awarded RDECOM the Superior Unit Award for its accomplishments during 2007.

ARDEC is one of the subordinate elements of RDECOM that contributed to the achievements cited in the award, which included developing four of the "Ten Greatest Army Inventions of 2007," which were selected by Soldiers from three active duty divisions based on the criteria of inventiveness, potential benefit outside the Army, and impact on Army capabilities from the warfighter perspective.

"More importantly," the award citation states, RDECOM "developed and accelerated innovative technology and sound engineering solutions which provided our U.S. forces with decisive and dominant capability where they need it, when they need it."

Justice compared ARDEC's designation as a Baldridge National Quality Award recipient in 2007, but noted that difference was that the Baldridge was industry recognizing the ARDEC for excellence, whereas the Superior Unit Award, "recognizes that you are of great value to other organizations in the Army."

Soldiers assigned to RDECOM are authorized to wear the Superior Unit Award ribbon, while civilians may wear a Superior Unit Award lapel pin. Any Soldier or civilian employee who was part of RDECOM during the period of the award - Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2007 - may continue to wear the award when they move to other Army organizations.

Dr. Gerardo Melendez, ARDEC director, said the reason behind the award is ARDEC's people. "We like innovating here. We like doing it, and we like doing it for the Soldiers. That's why the Soldiers keep selecting our inventions as the best."

"We innovated in ways that made the world's best trained and most dedicated warfighters more capable, stronger and better protected," said Melendez. "We kept the enemy reacting to us, not the other way around."

Justice commenced the series of presentations to subordinate RDECOM units after accepting the Superior Unit Award organizational flag streamer Sept. 16 from Army Materiel
Command Commanding General, Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Overall, of the 70 Army Greatest Inventions awarded, ARDEC has won 21, said Melendez. Below are the four ARDEC inventions from the Greatest Army Inventions of 2007.

Aca,!Ac Objective Gunner Protection Kit -- a vehicle-mounted turret which provides all-over ballistic protection from explosive device fragmentation and small arms fire. The kit has a battery-powered motorized traversing unit, which allows Soldiers to rotate the kit and gun turret using a joystick. It is capable of integration onto multiple vehicle platforms.

Aca,!Ac Picatinny Blast Shield for Light Armored Vehicle -- Specifically designed for use on lightly armored vehicles used by the Marine Corps, the PBS is a modular device that protects vehicles from small arms fire and fragmentation from explosive devices. The armor is transparent and mounts onto vehicles to provide front, side and rear protection.

Aca,!Ac XM982 Excalibur Precision Guided Extended Range Artillery Projectile -- Excalibur provides precision guidance, extended range and greater accuracy through an automatic update of the navigation system. It gives the war fighter unmatched precision and lethality, which is critical in urban warfare, where the risk of collateral damage is high.

Aca,!Ac M110 7.62mm Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) -- The SASS high capacity, ammo configurable, quick change magazines enable increased rate of fire, and precision lethality against personnel and light materiel targets.

Read more about ARDEC on www.pica.army.mil