RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center

Monday August 22, 2011

What is it?

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center (RFAST-C) is the U.S. Army Materiel Command's contribution to the U.S. Special Operations Command Technology village concept. The overarching mission of the RFAST-C is to provide enhanced engineering capabilities in theater and synchronize forward rapid acquisition efforts.

What has the Army done?

RFAST-C is deploying in a four-phased operation with an objective capability of deploying a forward prototyping facility with full machine shop capabilities. Establishing the RFAST-C at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, began in February 2011 when a three-person advanced party called Task Force Warrior deployed and focused on preparing for follow-on deployments of an engineering "smart cell." The task force was also tasked to build collaboration with other deployed elements across the materiel enterprise community to expedite delivery of new technologies and capabilities to the Soldier.

Partners include deployed elements of assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, program executive officers and program managers, Army Test and Evaluation Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Rapid Equipping Force, and assistant secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Next came the deployment of the three-person engineering "smart cell" from several U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Centers to provide engineering capabilities and subject-matter expertise to Theater. This group established the RFAST-C Initial Operational Capability in April 2011. The first iteration of personnel turnover at RFAST-C took place this summer.

What's in the future?

In the envisioned end state, RFAST-C capabilities will provide a fully integrated collaboration center with robust computer-aided design and manufacturing capabilities. The RFAST-C is now working with Project Manager, Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) to serve as the base for deploying a 1MW micro-grid and associated technologies, part of the recent Net Zero Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) at Fort Irwin, Calif. The equipment was scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan in early summer. Other potential technologies to be demonstrated and tested are being solicited from across the Science and Technology community.

RDECOM will soon unveil a Soldier suggestion portal to solicit technology requirements directly from Soldiers, whether they are deployed or at home station. The Soldier Technology Suggestion Portal, which will enable warfighters to send suggestions through a secure Army Knowledge Online website, should be available later this year.

Why is this important to the Army?

The development of the RFAST-C is critical to the Army's rapid acquisition efforts to quickly deliver new technology and capabilities to American Soldiers and to provide enhanced engineering capabilities in theater.

Resources:

Related article: Army deploys science, technology center to Afghanistan

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Senior Leaders are Saying

"This is significant. This represents this command's six years of figuring out how to integrate a combat package on the battlefield that will collapse time and collapse distance to near zero."

- Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, commanding general, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, emphasizing the importance of empowering, unburdening and protecting American Soldiers

Army deploys science, technology center to Afghanistan

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- Staff Sgt. Fred Rowe of the 101st Airborne Division who survived being hit by three enemy rounds to the chest in Iraq in February of 2009 had then testified before the House Armed Services Committee in 2009, on how body armor saved his life.

Army cites improvements to body-armor testing

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