Academic journal article Military Review

The Future of the Uniformed Army Scientist and Engineer Program

Academic journal article Military Review

The Future of the Uniformed Army Scientist and Engineer Program

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION relevant to the field of battle have often been a key factor in gaining victory in combat. An often noted example is the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, around the advent of the rebirth of learning in the West we call the Renaissance. As the apex of King Henry V's campaign against France, the victory secured a temporary advantage for England in the later stages of the 100 Years War. During the fight, Henry V's Soldiers' used the English longbow, a weapon whose heyday began as early as 1250, but whose devastating effectiveness French nobility had yet to fully appreciate. Even though they had lost momentous battles to rustic English armies since Crecy in 1346, the French aristocracy did not grasp how technology had trumped their martial ardor. Henry's yeoman soldiers, wearing lighter armor than the French chivalry, dismounted, dug in, and directed their powerful archery at angles into the enemy's mounted frontal attack. To achieve England's success, Henry took advantage of French tactical inertia and obtuseness by matching it with technology, innovation, and a perspicuity untrammeled by chivalric arrogance. (1) The relevant lesson for today's American Soldier comes from the calculated way the English used their technology to advantage.

The advantage of employing the best technology with innovation and creativity is not lost on those who are developing future Army doctrine. Acquiring new technology and equipment, and having the foresight to creatively put them to good use, are the best ways to save Soldier's lives while completing missions. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Claude M. Bolton says, "We must ensure that our warfighters have the capabilities they need to accomplish the nation's military demands in this new and emerging global environment ... We must develop, acquire, and sustain key military capabilities that enable us to prevail over current challenges and to hedge against, dissuade, or prevail over future threats ... The world situation demands an Army that is strategically responsive and dominant at every point on the spectrum of military operations. We are working hard to ensure that America's Soldiers continue to be the best trained, best led, and best equipped land force on Earth." (2) Put simply, Bolton was saying that the force development community must develop technological capabilities relevant for current and future strategic and tactical operations.

The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) has responsibility for this effort. RDECOM has research, development, and engineering centers (RDECs) situated throughout the country where scientists and engineers use emerging technology to support today's Army and the future force. (3) In the past, most of these scientists and engineers were civilians, but in 2003, the Army initiated the Uniformed Army Scientist and Engineer (UAS&E) program to develop future leaders for the Army's research and development (R&D) community. Selectees are required to have advanced degrees in hard science or engineering and have combat and field experience. According to General Paul J. Kern, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, "The uniformed Army scientist and engineer officer, equipped with field experience and an advanced engineering or hard science degree, provides the Army with specialized technical skills and understanding ... These officers enable our Army to make informed decisions on new and emerging technology and then to rapidly transition that technology from the laboratory to warfighters on the battlefield." (4) In other words, having "warrior scientists" in the field helps streamline the process of getting technology to the Soldiers who need it.

As implemented, the UAS&E membership consists of Army acquisition officers drawn from a pool of those available in functional area 51S, Systems Planning, Research Design, and Engineering. …

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