Magazine article National Defense

Army Research Command to Better Address Soldier Needs

Magazine article National Defense

Army Research Command to Better Address Soldier Needs

Article excerpt

The Army is standing tip a new command, hoping this organization can help change acquisition processes, field technology Faster and integrate individual systems into networks.

"We can no longer build individual systems and capabilities and field them and [then] figure out how they all work together," said Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, head of the Army Research Development and Engineering Command. The RDE Command is scheduled to begin operations in October in Edgewood, Md., and will report to the Army Materiel Command.

"Systems integration must occur before we do research and development, and to some degree before we do science and technology," Doesburg told a National Defense Industrial Association armaments symposium.

"We have to charter and learn from experiences of capability managers and technology integrators," he said. RDE Command also has to establish a new process for international cooperation in research, development and engineering.

It is hard to develop a metric to measure success in research and development, or in science and technology, said Doesburg. Each technology comes with a different level of risk. The command plans to begin defining the metrics by which success can be measured. "If I can't show in 2005 where 1 have put technology into the hands of soldiers quicker, there has been no progress," Doesburg said.

RDE also signed a memorandum of agreement with U.S. national laboratories. Collaboration with die labs could put technology in the hands of the soldiers much faster, Doesburg said.

A three-person team within the command has been assigned in work on fixing near-term problems. The Agile Development Center, led by Col Tom Stautz, supports current operations and emerging requirements. Part of the center's objectives is to bring "some of" the things that we have learned in the special ops community into the regular Army," said Stautz in a presentation at the conference. "There is a pervasive sense of urgency throughout SOF when it comes to acquisition."

It is important to get the users involved and no just the representatives from Training and Doctrine Command, which is responsible for setting requirements. "The key users are in fact at the NCO [non-commissioned officers] level," he said "NCOs are so critical in the acquisition business that we are doing."

The whole purpose of the RDE Command is to deliver technology faster, he said. "The development environment is totally different," because the command has to cater both to future and current forces. "Our potential adversaries will also have access to the kind of technology that we have and will be able to adapt to the U. …

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