By Mr. Dan Lafontaine (RDECOM)April 25, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- About 50 senior U.S. Army science and technology officials discussed new methods to bring capabilities to Soldiers faster April 24.
During the Science, Technology, and Engineering Executive Forum, uniformed and civilian leaders from across the Army focused on implementing faster and less expensive methods to transition research and development.
Dale A. Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, said his goal is to improve the ability to field technology by better understanding the Army's program executive offices' needs.
Representatives from 10 PEOs attended the forum.
"We need to be producing things that will fit into your programs and translate into support for the Warfighters," Ormond said.
Ormond said the day's meeting would help to strengthen the relationships among RDECOM; the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology; and the PEOs to ensure the Army's S&T community to deliver products of value to the Army. The PEOs would be included earlier in the research and development process.
TECHNOLOGY-ENABLED CAPABILITY DEMONSTRATIONS
Ormond discussed a new mechanism to review the Army's research and development priorities -- Technology-Enabled Capability Demonstrations, or TECDs. The TECDs, introduced by Marilyn M. Freeman, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology, will begin in June.
The TECDs are two- to three-year efforts that encompass technology development, technology demonstration and operational evaluation. A decision is then made whether the demonstrated capability will be fielded, transitioned to a program of record or terminated.
TECDs are centered on near-term technologies brought together to demonstrate a meaningful operational improvement.
NEW WAY OF DEVELOPING, FIELDING TECHNOLOGY
Lt. Gen. William Phillips, ASA (ALT) principal military deputy, said the military used an improved acquisition process when developing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. He said the new focus is needed as the Department of Defense faces budget cuts.
"We worked with the Marines to define what we really need, not necessarily what we want. Not any capability at any cost. We could not have done that without the way we engaged with industry," Phillips said. "That was the final ingredient that got us to the right kind of structure. We had never done anything like that."
Phillips reiterated the need for Army research and development leaders to ask difficult questions and always remember their ultimate customer -- the Soldier.
"What is the most respected institution in the United States? The Army. America trusts us. Mothers and fathers trust us," he said. "They trust us so much that they will give their most precious asset -- their sons and daughters -- to serve in our Army. Why do they do that? They trust that the Army will make sure that they have everything they need to be successful. They will be trained, ready, equipped. They will be prepared to go anywhere to fight and return safely. We can't betray that trust.
"We have a responsibility to America -- especially those fathers and mothers -- to make sure we do everything possible to give [Soldiers] the capability they need to be successful and return home safely. I ask you to think about that. Are you doing the right things?"