ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Approximately 50 Non-Commissioned Officers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's centers provided a Soldier's perspective on defense technology when they visited the command's communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, Dec. 8, here.

The NCOs received a tour of CERDEC's facilities and hands-on demonstrations of its technologies as part of the RDECOM Quarterly NCO Professional Development program.

"Our NCOs play a crucial role as the bridge between our civilian science and engineering workforce and the men and women we serve. They spark ideas, help us reshape ideas, or other times prevent us from proceeding down a technical path which wouldn't translate to needed operational capabilities," said Robert Zanzalari, CERDEC associate director. "Like the rest of CERDEC our NCOs are expected to bring their experience, expertise, and network of connections to bear in solving tough technical and operational problems as our engineers and scientist - and they do."

The NCOs learned about CERDEC's work with mission command, information management, power, and satellites and tactical communications technologies. Some of the facilities they saw were CERDEC's Prototype Integration Facility, the Radio Evaluation and Analysis Lab and the Fabrication Integration Fielding Facility.

The NCOs asked questions and gave their input on how to better fit the capabilities for field situations and provided suggestions on how to improve the technology to satisfy Soldiers needs.

"It's important for us to come together as RDECOM NCOs so we can see the systems and capabilities being worked on to enhance the Warfighter's effectiveness down range," said Sgt. 1st Class Joel Durham, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center NCO.

The NCOs also provided insight into related capabilities that the RDECs in RDECOM are working on -- opening the door for further collaboration.

"Programs like this allow us to see what other RDECs are doing and say, 'Hey, are you talking to this RDEC? Did you know they're doing this?' It gives us a range of what RDECOM as a whole is doing," said Sgt. 1st Class Jim M. Fuller III, CERDEC Senior Enlisted Officer.

The NCOs visited the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and the Army Research Laboratory earlier in the week and will close their program with a staff ride on Nov. 9 in Baltimore.