Senior Army leaders meet with researchers

June 30, 2017

By David McNally, ARL Public Affairs

DURHAM, N.C. (June 29, 2017) -- Senior Army leaders focused on the strength and safety of future Soldiers through science and technology advances during briefings at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Research Triangle Park June 29.

The acting Secretary of the Army, Robert M. Speer, and Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, visited with scientists and engineers from the laboratory's Army Research Office.

ARL Director Dr. Philip Perconti and ARO Director Dr. David Skatrud briefed the leaders on the mission of the laboratory and highlighted the lab's role in cutting edge research.

"When we look at where the Army wants to go or concepts we're thinking about, the first thing we do is ask ourselves, 'What are the knowledge gaps?' Perconti said. "That's how we get after our foundational research programs to address those knowledge gaps - what we like to call it, use-inspired research."

Scientists also told the secretary that the Army had partnered with the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, or DARPA, to explore solutions the help Soldiers coming back from the battlefield in need of prosthetic devices.

"With our interest in assisting wounded warfighters, we started talking about this in 2006," said Dr. David Stepp, ARO Materials Sciences division chief. "We were able to advise what was possible in terms of materials, lightweight batteries and control systems."

Stepp said there was also a breakthrough with an adaptive socket allowing amputees to wear the devices comfortably for extended periods of time. He said working with wounded warriors was an honor.

"It really is changing Soldiers lives," Stepp said. "That's what this is about and that's why we're so excited. One of the best parts of this program for me was working with so many Soldiers and talking with them about it."

Research Triangle Park is where the lab's Army Research Office acts as a guiding hand for university research that may uncover the next big thing in technology to make soldiers stronger and safer.

"The critical thing that ARO brings is access to the tremendous resource we have with university professors," Skatrud said. "We have all the cutting-edge, new ideas for the great discoveries, the laser of the future, we can then engage them and direct them to be producing these inventions to help solve critical Army needs."

Skatrud said he thinks visits from Army leadership are important.

"I think the secretary left feeling very optimistic with increased — even enthusiastic — understanding and appreciation about what long-term basic research brings to the Army's fight, current and future," he said.

Speer told the researchers that their work is held in high esteem.

"It was great to see the excitement and the results and/or the thought processes going on," Speer said. "I wanted to come down here and thank you."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: June 30, 2017