RICHMOND, Va. -- Army leaders, industry representatives and up-and-coming officers attended a two-day Association of the United States Army conference focused on sustaining America's combat forces.

"The point I would make here is that with RDECOM we really are in the business of solving problems," said Dale A. Ormond, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command director in a keynote address May 9. "I would argue that we exist in the space between the state of the art and the art of the possible."

Ormond discussed advances in solar water heaters, energy efficient ice machines and water purification systems.

"We do a lot of the research and development that industry doesn't do, and then we work with industry to transition these technologies to upgrade our systems to make them more efficient and more productive," Ormond said.

One example he gave is VISTA, or Vital Infrared Sensor Technology Acceleration Program. The technology is a "game changer," he said. Army researchers at RDECOM's Night Vision Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Va., are providing a competitive advantage by developing a new class of affordable advanced sensor capabilities for America's Soldiers.

Ormond said RDECOM continues to focus its lines of effort on empowering, unburdening and protecting Soldiers.