RDECOM's Technology Planning Workshop Held at ALC
July 20, 2009
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory hosted the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Center's (RDECOM) first Technology Planning Workshop (TPW) April 20 - 22, 2009 at the Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC) in Maryland.
The purpose of the three-day workshop was to create a forum to communicate RDECOM's technical program and receive programmatic input and feedback from its partners to ensure its program is synchronized with their requirements.
Much of RDECOM's programs are executed in collaboration with external partners from industry, universities and other government agencies. The workshop provided a single forum for its partners and stakeholders to hear the command's proposed program plan and provide their needs, objectives and feedback that will ultimately shape the RDECOM program.
The workshop consisted of plenary sessions that included technology and system integration presentations, and technology and analysis exhibits and breakout sessions highlighting research, analysis and system integration objectives and activities.
Maj. Gen. Paul Izzo, commanding general of RDECOM, opened the workshop and expressed why this event was so critical to the Army and RDECOM.
"At the end of our [RDECOM] pipeline, for what we all do for this organization ... at the end of all of this are Soldiers and that is the most important thing," Izzo said. "It's important to be part of this team, to have the passion and be able to help, because we have Soldiers out there on point today that are depending on us, and they will give their lives to do what's necessary in order for us to do what we need to do."
Throughout the event, there was plenty of time for Soldiers, scientists and engineers and leaders from across the Army to collaborate closely.
One Soldier invited to attend the workshop and address the attendees was Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Crabtree, who serves in the 1st Battalion, 187 Infantry Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Crabtree was impressed by the workshop and the opportunities he was afforded as a Warfighter to interact with the research and development community.
"It was an enlightening experience about the process of identifying an issue and improving a piece of equipment to deal with a particular problem. It's been a great learning experience," he said.
"The interaction with the scientists and engineers was most worthwhile. There are quite a few levels between the Soldier on the ground and the scientists in the lab," he added. "I think that every opportunity that we get to come to them or they get to come to us and for us to provide that immediate feedback about a piece of equipment is great."
Besides interacting with Soldiers representing their organizations from across the Army, scientists and engineers were able to show off the latest technology and research to their other stakeholders and open and maintain communications with those they work with.
Dr. Patrick Baker, from ARL's terminal effects division, Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD) at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), believed the workshop afforded outstanding opportunities for networking and interaction.
"This workshop provided an opportunity for us at the laboratory to interact with all our stakeholders and to ensure our program is on track," he said. "Being able to interact and have that two-way dialogue with your customers and stakeholders was valuable in that it gave everyone a much better grasp of what it is they need, and you can get a sense of what is really driving them."
Gabe Smith, an Armaments Research and Development Center mechanical engineer who works at the ALC, took advantage of the conference to see the latest in technology and research displayed throughout the laboratory.
"These events are crucial to communication and collaboration and help ensure we are all working from the same page and going in the same directions," he said. "These types of workshops have to happen. We all need to know what the other hand is doing or we're not going to be helping Soldiers."
Master Sgt. Ralph Brewer, from ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate, believes the workshop was a huge success and ensures that efforts remain focused within the laboratory and Research, Development and Engineering Centers under the RDECOM umbrella for the benefit of all Warfighters.
"We are doing what needs to be done to protect the Warfighter and providing them the best technology possible," Brewer said.