Army establishes S&T presence with ARL West

April 20, 2016

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • ARL and the USC ICT formally opened ARL West, a new west coast science and technology presence for the Army
  • Closer collaboration with universities, start-ups and established companies will directly benefit the Army's innovation efforts for the Soldier
  • ARL West is a hub and spoke approach to increasing the science and technology ecosystem the Army needs to maintain its technological edge in the future to ensure continued dominance and overmatch for our armed forces

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 18, 2016)  The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies formally opened ARL West, a new west coast science and technology presence for the Army, April 13.

Part of ARL's Open Campus initiative, ARL West is an effort to co-locate Army research and development personnel and gain access to subject matter experts and technical centers and universities not well represented on the east coast. Seventy percent of the nation's science and technology laboratories are east of the Mississippi River.

"This is an important event for the Department of Defense, the Army, ARL and USC," said Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. "(Dr. Thomas) Russell's foresight in selecting this region was based on emerging technologies, innovation and the already close bonds with our nation's premier academic institutions."

Closer collaboration with universities, start-ups and established companies will directly benefit the Army's innovation efforts for the Soldier. ARL West will focus on Human-Information Interaction techniques to support decision making and will greatly advance work in simulation and training, electronics, information science, intelligent systems and other sciences.

The area around ICT has been deemed Silicon Beach for the concentration of creativity and technology companies now based near Playa Vista, Venice and Santa Monica.

"Dr. Russell and USC President (C.L. Max) Nikias worked together to make ARL West a reality. I am confident that the collaboration that takes place here will result in innovative advancements in many emerging areas," Wharton said, adding the short time it took for ARL West to become a reality indicates how quickly things can happen in the scientific community.

ARL West is the newest component of the Army's global S&T ecosystem and a subset of the DOD ecosystem, Wharton added.

"ARL West is part of our hub and spoke approach to increasing the science and technology ecosystem the Army needs to maintain its technological edge in the future that will ensure continued dominance and overmatch for our armed forces in a complex and ever-evolving world," said Russell, ARL director said to approximately 300 members of the science and technology community at the ribbon cutting.

The impact of the ICT's Army-funded research extends far beyond the military, including the latest low-cost, high fidelity virtual reality headsets, such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard. There are also the award-winning computer graphics used in movies like Avatar and hologram-like projections of Holocaust survivors who answer questions about their experiences as part of New Dimensions in Testimony, an educational collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation. And there are virtual humans that can identify signs of depression or post-traumatic stress.

USC President Nikias said the ARL West opening celebrates a new beginning as this collaboration will carve new roads and bring the best and brightest from the Army and blend it with world-class academic research.

The event drew the attention of leadership from not only RDECOM, ARL and USC, but also the U.S. Army Materiel Command, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for Defense Programs. All had a presence at the ribbon cutting.

"It's not every day we open a new national strategy science and technology center  especially here in L.A.," said Dr. Chris Fall, assistant director for defense programs, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "It's cutting edge and we applaud what ARL and USC are doing. It's taking the right kind of risks to support national security S&T."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which 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.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: April 20, 2016