Each year, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) presents awards to outstanding individuals in the field of test and evaluation (T&E), offering each military service and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) the opportunity to recognize individuals for their accomplishments.
The winner of NDIA's award for Army Civilian Tester of the Year for 2012 is Michael Tegtmeyer, a computer scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate (SLAD). Tegtmeyer is an expert in test and evaluation for the survivability of Soldiers from injury mechanisms associated with under-body blasts (UBB) on combat vehicles.

To assess how well Soldiers are protected from the effects of UBB events, military vehicle development and T&E programs use anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs)--commonly called "crash-test dummies."

The ATD currently in use by the Army was developed for the civilian automotive crash environment and has several important drawbacks for use in a UBB loading environment. Therefore, T&E techniques addressing occupant injuries from these threats remain immature and do not enable an accurate assessment of injuries.

To begin addressing this issue, Tegtmeyer, with funding from the Joint Live Fire-Ground program, conceived and conducted a test of a generic vehicle hull to create representative loading conditions from a UBB event and to create data that will allow comparison between real human injuries and the injuries predicted using the ATDs that surrogate for vehicle occupants.

With his test, Tegtmeyer generated data at various locations in the vehicle that is being provided to universities to guide their medical research aimed at improving the ATD and associated injury criteria. Tegtmeyer's test was the first of its kind conducted by the Army and allowed the Army to explore in detail the actual injuries that occur from a controlled UBB event. Furthermore, although most UBB testing is classified, Tegtmeyer was able to design this effort so that it generated data that is unclassified, thus sharable with academia.

"This test was the first in a much larger effort to understand vertical-loading induced injuries," said Tegtmeyer. "This research will directly translate into better protection of our Soldiers in UBB events."

The data generated by Tegtmeyer's test will be used by the T&E and medical communities to develop injury criteria and assessment devices specific to under-body blast, leading to improved Soldier and Marine protection systems for all of the Department of Defense.

"He has provided unclassified loading data at various locations within the test vehicle that will guide the human-tolerance research conducted by the medical partners in academia," said Lisa Roach, chief of SLAD's Warfighter Survivability Branch.

SLAD employees are no strangers to these T&E awards.

"There is a family of awards that are presented annually. Two years ago, SLAD's Patricia Frounfelker won for Army civilian, last year our Fred Marsh won the civilian award for OSD (having been nominated by them), and now we have Mike with the Army award again!" said Dr. Paul Tanenbaum, director of SLAD. "Mike's accomplishments include having orchestrated a huge team; not only Army, but industry and many leading researchers in injury biomechanics from academia. That in itself was unprecedented, and I couldn't be more proud."

Tegtmeyer will be recognized at NDIA's Annual Test and Evaluation Conference awards luncheon in Charlotte, N.C. on Feb. 27.