Army science advisors discuss future Soldier priorities

Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, RDECOM deputy commanding general, leads a discussion of the Field Assistance in Science and Technology program’s annual program review at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, April 18, 2016.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 18, 2016) — U.S. Army technology advisors gathered April 18–20 to discuss how the research and development community can better align with the service’s future needs.

The Field Assistance in Science and Technology program’s 30 advisors, both uniformed officers and Army civilians, are a link between Soldiers in the field and the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s thousands of subject matter experts.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, RDECOM deputy commanding general, kicked off the annual FAST program review’s three days of briefings, lab tours and discussions.

Scientists and engineers must demonstrate to senior Army officers how their work enables Soldiers’ success, he said.

“We are fully nested with the Army Operating Concept and Army Warfighting Challenges,” Todd said. “You live in a world of idea generation. You grow that into realistic technologies.”

The AOC states the Army must ensure it has no near-peer competitors in technology, Todd said.

“RDECOM’s mission is to maintain technology overmatch primarily in the mid and far term,” he said. “If we’re going to continue to innovate, we need S&T investment. You cannot take breaks in it. You lose intellectual capital.

“Gen. Perkins (commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command) said we need to get after the rate of differentiation between us and our peer competitors. Be better, be different.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testified before Congress that prototyping will be essential in the future, Todd said, and RDECOM is well-positioned to meet this need with prototype integration facilities at each of its research and engineering centers.

FAST’s footprint reaches five combatant commands, 10 Army service component commands and major commands, three Corps (I, III, XVIII) and three combat training centers. Science advisors provide supported commanders with access to RDECOM scientists and engineers.

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The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

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