Army lab greening course exposes researchers to Soldier battlefield devices and responsibilities

December 01, 2017

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate recently held a mini greening course that gave the lab's technical staff a unique and unfettered glimpse into the multifaceted operational tasks our Warfighters experience on a daily basis in deployed areas.
  • Students were faced with a variety of tasks from employing targeting devices, giving reports to higher headquarters and establishing a security posture.

ADELPHI, Md. (Dec. 1, 2017) -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory recently held a mini greening course that gave the lab's technical staff a unique and unfettered glimpse into the multifaceted operational tasks our Warfighters experience on a daily basis in deployed areas.

The course, held at ARL headquarters in Adelphi, Maryland, and hosted by ARL's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, was led by SEDD Military Deputy Maj. Demond Merrick.

"The training was immensely beneficial and realistic," Merrick said. "It included a field training exercise that provided simulated tactical hands-on opportunities for 22 personnel in the science and technology workforce from our various directorates. The emphasis of this high-powered/action-packed training activity was on targeting devices Soldiers employ in field environments. The devices we trained on provide our Warfighter community with cutting-edge technological advantages in combat operations to target enemy locations."

Targeting is a simple process of identifying areas and/or sources of instability within a unit's Area of Responsibility and Areas of Influence.

According to Merrick, this process can quickly become very challenging with the enormous amount of information and data Soldiers are required to process during mission execution, all while maintaining a tactical posture and considering the size, weight and power of cumbersome equipment.

This course forced the class to consider the subtle complexities of Soldier missions and the ever-changing dynamics of tactical settings.

It also identified the enormous technological responsibilities Soldiers are burdened with in today's austere environments across multiple domains.

"The issues addressed in this course will definitely be at the forefront of technical staffs' design considerations for research being conducted, even at the bench-level, as discoveries are being developed and realized," Merrick said. "When developing next generation kits, especially during concept development, our S&T workforce will remember the difficulty of employing these systems as a result of the tremendous training benefits the course delivered."

The tactical portion of the exercise provided participants with a brief introduction to the duties and responsibilities that Soldiers, who use targeting devices, would have.

It covered a variety of topics from how Soldiers are organized in various formations to the challenges they go through in preemptive environments.

The rigorous training activities spanned across two days of practical exercises and tested the determination of ARL personnel to understand the technology they were using.

The purpose of the presentations and discussions enabled the course Leads to introduce basic Soldier concepts and that dialog fostered more thoughts on how technology can help solve the tactical problems Warfighters face while in contested environments.

The practical exercises involved wearing body armor, helmets, eye protection, and then moving tactically (i.e. crawling and kneeling) and occupying an observation post.

Students were faced with a variety of tasks from employing the targeting devices, giving reports to higher headquarters and establishing a security posture.

"While traversing this pretend operational landscape, in full battle rattle (combat load), it became extremely/quickly apparent that ease of use for tactical equipment is paramount and essential for mission success in austere environments," Merrick said.

For the participants of the course, this experience was unlike anything they had been exposed to before in their careers.

"This training hosted by ARL Soldier personnel was outstanding," said participant Dan Sullivan of ARL's Sustaining Base Network Assurance Branch. "Our research is cybersecurity of cyber-physical systems. This training greatly helped me understand the CPS in use by Soldiers, the data flows and communications between Army forces, and the challenges which Soldiers overcome. The practical exercise of setting up an observation post reinforced the importance of reducing the Soldier's weight load. The instructors, Mr. Orr and Mr. Dexter, greatly added to the training by sharing their experiences. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to attend."

Overall, the training was a huge success and was highly sought after from several students to bring back to their respective Directorates to share the vast benefits from this unique training opportunity.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2017