MARCH 2013




Engineer ensures masks fit
By Dan Lafontaine RDECOM Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — An ill-fitting chemical-biological protective mask could expose Soldiers to potentially lethal hazards during combat. For Soldiers who cannot find a proper fit with a standard-issue mask, Cindy Learn and her colleagues are working to avoid any gaps in protection. Learn, a system engineer with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, says her goal is to ensure users are safe from chemical, biological and radioactive particulate threats. ‘NO WARFIGHTER LEFT BEHIND’ “I like to call it ‘No Warfighter left behind.’ We make sure every Warfighter has a mask to use when they go to theater,” said Learn, who

Cindy Learn (left), a system engineer with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, adjusts the components of the M45 protective mask to ensure a proper fit. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

works on the mask program for RDECOM’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, sup porting the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. “They are protected so they can protect us.” The Hard-to-Fit Program accommodates members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as Department of Defense civilians who are required to wear masks for their jobs. “A Warfighter cannot be deployed without a mask that fits properly and securely to the face,” said Learn, who has been an Army civilian for six years. “There are infinite different shapes and sizes of faces, and having a pro tective mask that fits well is essential to any deployable mission. “Not being able to get your hands on the right fitting mask could be a career ender for some.”



MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Director’s Corner: Weathering change
By Dale A. Ormond As we face down the realities of sequestration, I would ask everyone to remain focus on our mission, which is to support Soldiers down-range in harm’s way. I know this will be difficult given the potential im pacts to you personally, and to this end, I am committed to providing you the latest, most accurate information and proactive support I can as we proceed though the next six months and into the next fiscal year. Sequestration is broad, automatic, across-the-board cuts to most categories of government spending. It will result in financial challenges for you and our organization’s ability to accomplish its mission. If we move into an actual furlough, nearly every federal employee will forfeit 22 days of pay from the end of April through the end of the fiscal year. This figures out to 176 hours per employee. It is important to understand that with out some kind of action between congress and the president before April 23, all of us, myself included, will start taking one day off a week without pay. There are a num ber of implications to your benefits with the most direct being about a 20 percent cut in pay through September 2013. Therefore, I strongly recommend you take the actions necessary to prepare yourself and your family for this eventuality. We are here to answer questions and provide all the information there is on this issue.

U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Director Dale Ormond talks with headquarters personnel during a Feb. 28 town hall meeting at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

“I want you to know that we’re doing everything possible to prepare for whatever comes our way.”
— Dale A. Ormond I want you to know that we’re doing ev erything possible to prepare for whatever comes our way. Please bookmark http:// for up-to-date RDECOM employee furlough information. This is our SharePoint site where we’ve posted many frequently asked questions, informa tion papers and transcripts of Department of Defense briefings on this issue. Also,

please review the comments by our new Secretary of Defense on page 3 of this newsletter, and a FAQ from the Office of Personnel Management on pages 3 and 4. With our workforce on the job 20 percent less, we simply will not be able to meet our full potential. However, within RDECOM we are committed to creating new technologies that change the Soldier’s world. Change is our job. No matter what happens, we will continue to stay on track. We are considering all options as to how we can maximize our operational effectiveness through the furlough. I ask for your patience and sup port as we work through this process. We are challenged to deliver the great est possible capability to the Soldier from the resources the Army gives us, and we must find a way. Each of us must understand our mission, even in these financially challenged days: “Empower, unburden and protect the Warfighter through integrated research, development and engineering solutions.” I do have some good news to share with you. The Secretary of Army has announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas P. Russell to the position of Army Research Laboratory Director. Dr. Russell comes to RDECOM from the U.S. Air Force, where he currently serves as the Office of Scientific Research director in Arlington, Va. He joins our team March 10. Dr. Russell brings a unique perspective to his new position, one grounded in more than 20 years of diverse experience within the research and scientific communi -

ties. He has authored more than 100 publi cations and has earned a host of academic and professional awards. Dr. Russell was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2006 and has served in several key AF and Navy leadership positions. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Russell on his selection and help me wel come him to the RDECOM team. As ARL Director, he will have an impact on every part of our community as he sets the direc tion for the Army’s fundamental research. I know he can count on your support as we continue to strive to find ways to improve our support to Soldiers and our combat formations. I would also like to express my most sin cere gratitude to Dr. John Pellegrino for serving as ARL’s interim director during this time of transition. Dr. Pellegrino has done a great job making sure ARL maintained its critical role as the premier research labora tory for the Department of the Army. Finally, I want to thank Eric Edwards for serving as my acting deputy director for 45 days in January and February and welcome Dr. Gerardo Melendez from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, who is now serving as acting dep uty director. Army Strong! RELATED LINKS Biography: Facebook: Twitter:



Secretary details results of sequestration uncertainty
By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON — Soldier and Marine training, Air Force flying hours and Navy steaming days are being curtailed thanks to the $47 billion in cuts DOD must make before Sept. 30, 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said March 1. The secretary stressed at the start of his first press conference as Defense Secretary that the uncertainty caused by sequestration “puts at risk our ability to effectively fulfill all of our missions.” He was joined by Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and both men said that if sequestration is allowed to continue through the end of the fiscal year, the effects will become much worse. The department will continue to adjust to the fiscal realities, Hagel said. He and Carter had just met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Tank -– the chiefs’ secure conference room –- to speak about the consequences of sequestration. “Leadership in the Pentagon … [has] two serious concerns: first, the abrupt and arbitrary cuts imposed by sequester; and second, the lack of budget management flexibility that we now face under the current continuing resolution,” Hagel said. The department has already had to cut funding for readiness, he said. “As sequester continues, we will be forced to assume more risk, with steps that will progressively have far-reaching effects,” the secretary said. Starting in April, the Navy will gradually stand down at least four air wings, he said. “Effective immediately, Air Force flying hours will be cut back,” Hagel said. “This will have a major impact on training and readiness.” The Army will curtail training for all units except those deploying to Afghanistan, he said, noting that this means an end to training for nearly 80 percent of Army operational units. “Later this month, we intend to issue preliminary notifications to thousands of civilian employees who will be furloughed,” Hagel said. The department has about 800,000 civilian employees and the vast majority of them face losing 20 percent of their pay through the end of September. Sequestration comes on top of $487 billion in cuts that DoD agreed to under the Budget Control Act.

OPM answers frequently asked questions on furlough
Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough? It is possible that furloughed employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Some States require a 1-week waiting period before an individual qualifies for payments. In general, the law of the State in which an employee’s last official duty station in Federal civilian service was located will be the State law that determines eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. (See the Department of Labor website “Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees” at http://workforcesecurity.doleta. gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp.) Agencies or employees should submit questions to the ap propriate State (or District of Columbia) office. The Department of Labor’s website provides links to individual State offices at http://www. To what extent does nonpay status affect Federal employee benefits and programs? The effects of a nonpay status (which includes furlough, leave without pay, absence without leave, and suspension) on Federal employee benefits and programs vary based on current law and regulation. For additional information, see OPM’s fact sheet on the “Effect of Extended Leave Without Pay (or Other Nonpay Status) on Federal Benefits and Programs” at eff.asp. Is furlough or leave without pay (LWOP) considered a break in service? No, both mean the employee is in a nonpay, nonduty status for those days/hours. However, extended furlough or LWOP may affect the calculation of creditable service for certain purposes. Who are “excepted” employees? In the context of shutdown furloughs, the term “excepted” is used to refer to employees who are funded through annual appropriations who

Chuck Hagel was sworn in as the 24th Secretary of Defense on Feb. 27, becoming the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense. (DoD Photo)

In anticipation of sequester, in January the department began to slow spending. The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman did not deploy to the Persian Gulf as scheduled, and the department looked to hiring freezes and layoffs of temporary and term employees. The service chiefs announced cuts to facilities maintenance and contract delays. “If sequester continues and the continuing resolution is extended in its current form, other damaging effects will become apparent,” Hagel said. “Our number one concern is our people -- military and civilian -- the millions of men and women of this department who work very hard every day to ensure America’s security.” The department needs some fiscal certainty, the secretary said, and DOD leaders will continue to work with Congress to help resolve this uncertainty. “Specifically, we need a balanced deficit reduction plan that leads to an end to sequestration,” he said. “And we need Congress to pass appropriations bills for DOD and all federal agencies.” RELATED LINKS SecDef Bio:


are nonetheless excepted from the furlough because they are performing work that, by law, may continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations. Excepted employees include employees who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property or performing certain other types of excepted work. Agency legal counsels, working with senior agency managers, are determining which employees are designated to be handling “excepted” and “nonexcepted” functions. See furlough/OMBGuidance/index.asp for copies of DOJ issuances, which provide guidance on the application of these criteria. Will employees who are furloughed get paid? Congress will determine whether furloughed employees receive pay for the furlough period. May agencies deny or delay within-grade or step increases for General Schedule and Federal Wage System employees during a shutdown furlough? It depends on how long the shutdown furlough lasts. Within-grade and step increases for General Schedule and Federal Wage System employees are awarded on the basis of length of service and individual performance. Such increases may not be denied or delayed solely because of lack of funds. However, extended periods of nonpay status (e.g., because of a furlough for lack of funds) may affect the timing of such increases. For example, a GS employee in steps 1, 2, or 3 of the grade who is furloughed an aggregate of more than 2 workweeks during the waiting period would have his or her within-grade increase delayed by at least a full pay period. (See 5 CFR 531.406(b).) What will happen to employees who would have retired during a shutdown furlough? For employees who, on or before the requested retirement date, submitted some notice of their desire to retire, agencies should, when the lapse in appropriations ends, make the retirement effective as of the date requested. The retirement request may be informal (such as a letter requesting retirement), and can be either mailed or personally submitted to the agency. Any additional required paper work, such as the formal retirement application form, may be completed when the agency reopens. No time spent by the retiree in such actions after the effective date of the retirement may be considered as duty time, since the individual would no

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9
longer be an employee of the agency. When an employee’s pay is insufficient to permit all deductions to be made because a shutdown furlough occurs in the middle of a pay period and the employee receives a partial paycheck, what is the order of withholding precedence? Agencies will follow the guidance on the order of precedence for applying deductions from the pay of its civilian employees when gross pay is insufficient to cover all authorized deductions found at TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=1477. Will there be an impact on an employee’s General Schedule or Federal Wage System within-grade increase (WGI) waiting period due to an employee being in an Absent - Uniformed Service status during a shutdown furlough? No. The furlough has no impact on an employee’s General Schedule or Federal Wage System WGI waiting period if the employee is in an Absent-Uniformed Service status (i.e., Nature of Action Code 473, which is used when the employee has restoration rights). An absence for the purpose of engaging in military service is creditable service in the computation of waiting periods for successive WGIs when the employee returns to a pay status through the exercise of a restoration right provided by law, Executive order, or regulation. (See 5 CFR 531.406(c)(1)(i) and 5 CFR 532.417(c)(4).) MARCH IS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond published a memorandum for all employees March 1 detailing the accomplishments of women throughout history. “The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and our supporting installations will conduct various activities this March to recognize and celebrate the many contributions made by women. I heartily endorse these activities and encourage all personnel to participate in these programs to acknowledge – and honor – these heroines of our past and present,” Ormond wrote. View the entire document at the RDECOM SharePoint, http://go.usa. gov/2gtT. See related article, Page 23. VERA/VSIP DEADLINE EXTENDED RDECOM G1 announced an extention of the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay deadline. The new deadline 4 p.m. (EST), March 8, 2013. “We wanted to ensure all employees are given the fullest opportunity to take advantage of this offer. For information, visit your personnel office or RDECOM G1 on SharePoint. RDECOM JOURNALISTS TAKE TOP HONORS May an employee volunteer to do his or her job on a nonpay basis during a shutdown furlough? No. Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an employee. (See 31 U.S.C. 1342.). Can I take a TSP loan while I’m furloughed? View less Agencies and employees should refer to the TSP website or contact their agency repre sentative for information. Agency representatives may contact the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board at (202) 942-1450 for information. Congratulations go to Picatinny and ARL public affairs professionals winning multiple categories of the Army Materiel Command-level Keith L. Ware competition. RDECOM PAO took 2nd place in the Community Relations category for the Young Women in Science and Engineering College & Career Workshop. Tanya J. Gibson from Army Research Laboratory earned a 1st place award in the Community Relations Special Event category for her Veg-ucational Outreach entry. She also earned a 2nd place in the Television Information Program category, and 3rd place for a news feature article. ARL PAO earned 3rd place for its 2011 Annual Review publication in the Newsletter category, and 2nd place for an initiative in new media. The ARL homepage took 3rd place in the Webpage category. Picatinny’s Ed Lopez won 1st and 3rd place for two news articles. First place winners will compete in the Army-level KLW competition later this month.

RELATED LINKS Office of Personnel Management:



Army Research Laboratory NCO promoted to master sergeant
ARL Public Affairs ADELPHI, Md. — Sgt. 1st Class LaFonte’ Bennett of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, Battlefield Environment Division, was recently selected for promotion to master sergeant. This is a major accomplishment for Bennett, who joined the Army in May of 2000. “It’s a great honor and privilege to be selected to receive this promotion among so many other outstanding noncommissioned officers in today’s Army,” Bennett said. “I will do all I can to ensure I’m worthy of such a great opportunity. “This promotion is in no way based off my actions alone, it’s more about the strength of character of the Soldiers and NCOs that I’ve had the great privilege to not only serve with but learn from as well, including Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Payton, Sgt. Maj. Christopher Harris, Sgt. 1st Class Antwon Gholson, Sgt. 1st Class James Copeland, Staff Sgt. Steven McGloin, and last but not least my family,” Bennett added. “I wouldn’t be where I am this early in my career if not for them and the hundreds of Soldiers I’ve come to know and love in my 12 years as a Soldier. Airborne all the way!” Bennett’s prior military jobs include field artillery meteorological crewmember, quick reaction force rifleman and QRF platoon sergeant. His military training includes attending Airborne School; Air Assault School; the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape course; all four levels of Army Combatives; Pathfinder School; Rappel Master Course; and the Master Fitness Trainer Course, among others. Bennett’s awards and decorations include three Bronze Star Medals with Valor, the Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster); the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal,

RDECOM SOLDIER GETS PROMOTED ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army promoted Capt. Michael Orr from the rank of first lieutenant, effective Feb. 1. Brig. Gen. Daniel Hughes, deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, and headquarters staff gathered Feb. 8 to congratulate Orr on his promotion. Orr is Hughes’ aide-de-camp.

BRAZILIAN OFFICIALS VISIT ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, (center) U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command deputy commanding general, meets with a visiting delegation of Brazilian Army officials Feb. 4 at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

Sgt. 1st Class LaFonte’ Bennett of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, Battlefield Environment Division, was recently selected for promotion to master sergeant. (U.S. Army photo)

National Defense Service Medal (with bronze star), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal (with four Bronze Stars), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Driver Badge Wheel/Track and others. He is also a member of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara. Bennett has deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received an associate’s degree in criminal justice, a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in social psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

ARMY PROMOTES SENIOR NCO ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army promoted Master Sgt. Frank Munley from the rank of sergeant first class, effective Feb. 1. Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie, senior noncommissioned officer for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, and headquarters staff gathered Feb. 4 to congratulate Munley on his promotion. Munley worked for the RDECOM command sergeant major, but departed Feb. 20.

From the State of the Union address:
“Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.”
— President Barack Obama

RDECOM Public Affairs NATICK, Mass. — Dr. Jack Obusek is the technical director of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. He leads about 700 Department of the Army employees and 16 Soldiers. He oversees about 100 contractors and executes an annual program budget of about $353 million. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in biological sciences from the University of Delaware, a masters of physical therapy from Baylor University and a doctor of science in applied kinesiology (with distinction) from Boston University. Before joining the Senior Executive Service as NSRDEC director in January 2011, Obusek served as the center’s associate director with responsibility for strategic plans and programs. Obusek served as a U.S. Army officer for more than 27 years, culminating his career as the commander of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, also at Natick. He also served as U.S. representative to a NATO medical research panel. His military education includes the Military Health System Executive Skills Capstone Course, the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. What do you want the rest of RDECOM to know about your workforce NSRDEC is the critical HUB for RDECOM and the Army in generating and applying technology to the Soldier System – the only Army platform with a human “chassis.” I see this role as critical not only to the Army but for all services. When Natick Labs was established in the 1950s, the intent was to create an Institute of Man, where every aspect of human performance, when inte grated with clothing, equipment, and nutri tion, can be studied. Establishing this capability was the result of the conditions experienced during World War II that America’s forces were not able or prepared to counter. Today, along with our installation part ners at NSRDEC, we continue the mission to enhance human performance – making the U.S. Warfighter the most capable in the world. As our experience over the last 10 years of war has shown, the Soldier on the ground remains the most important battle field system. I see NSRDEC’s role increasing as we pivot to adjust our focus to future battlefields

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Technical Director Spotlight: Obusek focuses on Soldiers

Dr. Jack Obusek is the technical director for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. (U.S. Army photos by David Kamm)

and the potential deployment of Soldiers to new missions in challenging environments. Systems engineering is critical to the inte gration of new technologies that we apply to the Soldier System. I see NSRDEC’s role as the lead systems engineer for technology development for the human platform as key and critical role in the future. Because the human platform is highly complex and inherently variable, when we conduct research to enhance capability, we need a broad spectrum of expertise covering a wide variety of disciplines. Therefore, NSRDEC’s workforce, as we like to say, includes people with diverse backgrounds that range from aerospace to zoology.

How do you encourage collaboration and sharing across RDECOM? Soon after I became the NSRDEC tech nical director, I established an Enterprise Transformation Process. I viewed this pro cess as a means of changing the way we do business rather than just a reorganization. We moved away from commodity-based thinking and began to task organize com munities to solve the most urgent Soldier problems. By creating communities of in terest around Soldier challenges, we bring the right people together from all Science & Technology arenas, Warfighting centers (the Army Capabilities Integration Center and Army Centers of Excellence), program

managers, and test and evaluation organi zations, to develop ways to solve the hard problems Soldiers face now and in the fu ture. As part of our Enterprise Transformation process, we also moved to a portfolio planning process: looking at collabora tive S&T planning by portfolio (individual multi-threat, human systems integration and performance, and force projection and sustainment portfolios) agnostic to where the solutions come from. And then encourage competition in order to seek the best possible solutions from across the entire RDECOM enterprise. You can see this as a combination of top-down and bottom-up planning: employ ing both home-on-home bilateral organi zational program discussions with leaders and scientists and engineers from across all RDECOM organizations, to encouraging investigator-to-investigator contacts and pro viding incentives for developing cooperative proposals and projects. In using this combination approach, we also take maximal advantage of informa tion technology sharing capabilities and social media to promote better awareness and understanding about what we are doing across the S&T spectrum. As we execute programs under this transformed process, collaborating across RDECOM is not just an option but an es sential way of doing business. What are the biggest challenges facing your organization? In this era of fiscal contraction, everything is considered on the table for possible reduction, including travel, technical conference attendance, the hiring of people with new skill sets, and certain types of training. As leaders, we need to find creative alternative means that continue to excite the workforce and meet their needs. There are also a large number of highly skilled personnel getting ready for retirement in the not-too-distant future. We are challenged to transfer their knowledge and capture their years of experience in successful S&T development and methodology. Their experience must be preserved for the future workforce, and we are doing this through formalized knowledge transfer programs that are proving to be highly successful. We also need non-traditional means of bringing in new talent with fresh perspectives. For example, we have launched an intern cohort initiative in which interns are assigned “supermentors” and rotate through the organization gaining the bigger picture right from the start.

year, our S&T efforts enabled the cutting edge development of female body armor. This was a top 20 invention by Time magazine for 2012. I am excited how the NSRDEC workforce has been responding to new initiatives. Embracing change is never easy but a flexible agile workforce will embrace change for the better and see where opportunities exist. Embracing NSRDEC’s enterprise transformation is part of being flexible. Through an organizational redesign, we have created a new portfolio management construct. This new structure promotes more effective S&T project planning and oversight. There are quite a number of new technologies that make NSRDEC an exciting place to work, whatever your field of expertise. By gaining a deeper understanding of human and material sciences, for example, we will be able to effectively forge new science and engineering frontiers. The promise of nanomaterials to provide leap ahead capabilities in Soldier protection and functional uniforms or synthetic biology that promises to provide the ability to “code” sequences into 3D printers to create new materials with novel properties. NSRDEC is enthusiastic and ever committed to keeping Soldiers’ dominant on the battlefield with the decisive edge. What advice do you have for the workforce? Sequestration and Continuing Resolution Authority present us with challenging times, but we need to view these as opportunities to exploit rather than roadblocks. The organiza tion needs to be prepared, ready and able to turn those opportunities into reality. I would advise employees to look for ways to apply their talents to address new and emerging Army problems. We need to be flexible and agile to accom plish the mission. I also recommend that em ployees consider taking risks in their careers moving into areas that stretch their thinking. It’s critical to build teams of people with di verse backgrounds. Science and engineering is more of a team sport than anytime in the past. Teams must agree on common objectives and goals allowing all to share in the success. Relationships matter – take time to build your networks and exercise them to the point of developing strong mutual trust. Have a clear-eyed understanding of why you are working on a project, what it will do for the Soldier on his or her mission, and be able to articulate it to anyone. RELATED LINKS Biography:

Obusek has advice for the RDECOM workforce.

Moreover, and one of a kind, we formed an R&D partnership with University of Massachusetts at Lowell in February. HEROES, Harnessing Emerging Resources Opportunities Empowering Soldiers, brings together NSRDEC scientists and students collaborating on flame-resistant and high-performance fibers, aerial delivery and photovoltaic solutions. Efforts like this helps to overcome such workforce challenges. We are also committing more energy to partnering with federal and state representatives, academia, and industry. We are addressing challenges by placing special emphasis on our core competencies, such as fiber and material science and engineering. For example, we are applying significant effort with our tri-compartment polymer fiber extruder that has been used by NSRDEC scientists and engineers to develop new variable loft fibers. Industry partnerships with companies like Polartec allow for rapid technology transfer and the production of new clothing to protect the Warfighter. What excites you about the future? The people of NSRDEC are more creative and innovative than ever, and I’m sure the other RDECOM technical directors see similar things in their organizations. We benefit from both an experienced and a newer, younger workforce. As much as 50 percent of our workforce has been hired in the last five or so years and the innovation and technical expertise these individuals bring to this organization and the Army is outstanding. Given the opportunity and encouragement, NSRDEC employees perform. Last calendar


MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Future Soldiers will have flexible electronics everywhere
By David McNally RDECOM Public Affairs ADELPHI, Md. — More than 10 years ago, U.S. Army researchers saw potential in flexible displays. With nothing in the marketplace, the Army decided to change that by partnering with industry and academia to create the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University. The goal was to get this technology into the hands of Soldiers. The Army established a research center with industry and universities in 2004. Fast forward nine years. Teams of researchers have scored significant breakthroughs and racked up more than 50 patents. The original goal of the program may soon be met. “We were starting to develop a lot of new kinds of electronic gizmos to help Soldiers,” said Nick Colaneri, center director. “The prob lem was, they all needed displays. Flat displays today are made out of glass. Glass is heavy and it breaks. So, we’re all about getting the glass out of displays.” Researchers say the most important result was figuring out how to put conventional elec tronics onto plastic using existing electronics manufacturing equipment. This manufacturing breakthrough opened a world of possibilities. “The process allows us to glue plastic onto a carrier in a standard manufacturing fabrication facility and then de-bond it -- kind of like a Post-it note. Literally the plastic peels off from the carrier,” said Eric Forsythe, Ph.D., Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, team leader and flexible electronics deputy project manager. “This allows us to leverage traditional man ufacturing paradigms for flexible displays,

Future Soldiers will have plastic electronic sensors embedded in their helmets and uniforms. Research has brought electronics to flexible plastic through the combined efforts of industry, academia and Army scientists. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

which then reduces overall entry costs to enable displays while enabling the capability to fabricate electronics on plastic. And that’s really the key for large-scale manufacturing of displays.” “We’re going to unburden Soldiers by getting rid of a lot of the batteries that have to be carried today,” Colaneri said. “The nearestterm application we’ve been talking about is a display on the Soldier’s sleeve.” Imagine what a Soldier could learn by glancing down at his or her sleeve such as current mission requirements or any battlefield command. That’s what Army researchers are thinking about for the Soldier of the future. “The Soldier is going to have a display that is essentially embedded on his or her uniform that will provide information when it is needed,” said David Morton, Ph.D., ARL program manager for flexible displays. “The system will

determine what information is needed, so as not to overload the Soldier with additional information. If a Soldier needs friend or foe information, or instructions on what to do, it will be provided instantly.” Morton said the Soldier of the future will have more reliable technology. “The display that’s on the Soldier will not break,” he said. “It will use very low power, and it’s not going to wear out. More importantly, from a systems standpoint, it’s made in a commercial environment. It didn’t cost too much to insert, which means we can give it to all Soldiers.” The Army understands the advantages of flexible displays, Morton said. “It’s all about getting networked information down to the individual Soldier,” Colaneri said. “Today you may have a squad leader with ac cess to the network, any of the information that’s coming from the headquarters, or the network of sensors around the battlespace. But, the individual Soldier relies on hand signals or shouts in terms of communication. This will give a great deal of situational awareness, just simple stuff -- ‘Where am I? Where are the bad guys? Which way is out? What other assets are available to help out in critical situations?’” For the first few years, funding for the center came from the ARL. Industry partners are heavily invested, too. The Flexible Display Center in Tempe, Ariz., has more than 40 engineers and technicians. They collaborate with several professors at ASU, Princeton University and the University of Texas at Dallas. Many graduate students are also involved in the project. “Most importantly, we have 30 dues-paying industrial companies who have teams of re searchers working together with us on various projects, whether it’s developing new materials, new manufacturing equipment for making the parts, or making the displays. Once we’ve worked all the bugs out and figured out how it’s going to get made, we are eventually going to get it into the hands of the Soldiers,” Colaneri said. This won’t be the Army’s only use of this technology. Morton said military vehicles of the future will have plastic displays. “They will be essentially a sheet of plastic that is, with the electronics -- 1/16th of an inch thick and will weigh almost nothing,” Morton said. “When a vehicle is in combat and hap pens to get hit, you won’t have to worry about things flying off and killing people.” A significant portion of the volume and weight of things inside a military vehicle is due to making them rugged. A 10-pound monitor may need 10 pounds of metal to bolt it down. However, a sheet of plastic attached with


Army researchers are developing new ways for Soldiers to wear electronic devices that give information to the user, such as a wrist monitor.

Velcro poses a much lighter and minimal risk. Years of research in this area has opened the Army’s eyes to many potential applications for flexible electronics on plastic. “It turns out there’s actually more Armyrelevant applications for flexible electronics than flexible displays,” Morton said. Morton and the team work closely with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which sup ports Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Imagine an EOD Soldier in the field with a lightweight, flexible X-ray sensor. That’s just one of many potential uses for flexible elec tronics on plastic. “We’re going to be able to apply electronics everywhere,” Morton said. “Think of plastic patches on the outside of tanks that are sensors. The Soldier may have sensors on his or her back built onto the uniform for friend or foe identification. There will be sensors built into the helmet, maybe acoustic, could be optical. The communications antenna may be built into the clothing. If you can put electronics on lightweight, flexible plastic or build it into the fabric, essentially you can put it everywhere.” Morton constantly updates Army planners on research progression. “We’re driving the technology forward. We know what’s coming and we have an estimate of when it’s going to arrive,” Morton said. “We’re not only driving technology, we’re pro viding critical inputs for the development of our requirements road maps. We’re driving the customers by saying, ‘This is what you can

plan for and insert.’” “You see it all around you, most visibly in the multi-touch phones,” Colaneri said. “It’s being enabled by a whole host of electronic technologies. In the units you’re using the display is still a piece of glass. It’s small, flat, hard and rigid. As we move toward the displays that can be unfolded or unwrapped or can be anywhere -- on your sleeve or pants leg, I think we’re go ing to see an evolution to information everywhere -- connectivity between electronic systems that are throughout our lives, ultimately empowering and unburdening us in our daily lives as consumers.” Forsythe is also optimistic about the Army’s flexible display and electronics re search program. Because of the partnership, some companies are bringing flexible displays to the marketplace as early as next month. Korean consumer electronics maker LG, a member of the Flexible Display Center research team, announced its intent to “revo lutionize the e-book market.” LG intends to market its first product in Europe in May, ac cording to a company press release. “It’s been highly successful both in how research can be done in certain applications. It’s certainly been successful in terms of ac celerating technology for the Soldier, which ultimately is our goal, to get technology to benefit the Soldier,” Forsythe said. RELATED LINKS

By Timothy Rider ARDEC Public Affairs PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a 3-D picture worth? Engineers at Picatinny Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., are working on a project to find out. They plan to reap a daisy chain of dollar savings by developing technologies that will be at the center of a revolution in how the Army meets its constantly changing needs for equipment. A prominent feature of the plan has the Army providing manufacturers the specifications for a needed part in an interactive 3-D model format, including data that can be used with modern, computer-aided machine tools. Currently, when the Army wants a part made, it provides an “official product representation” as a technical data package, or TDP. The packages include two-dimensional drawings along with product manufacturing data that provide the basic dimensions and tolerances. Manufacturers use the data packages to set up their shops for the production of a wide range of parts to meet the Army’s needs -trigger assemblies, cannon breeches, turret parts and grenade safety pins -- everything from new to improved parts or parts to replace depleted inventories. “Much of the manufacturing world works with 3-D data,” said Sanjay Parimi, a project officer with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. “However, we very often only provide industry with 2-D technical data packages, increasing the cost and time for acquiring manufactured goods.” The reason for the added cost is added work. The manufacturers must take the Army’s 2-D technical data package and convert it into a 3-D computer-aided design, or CAD, format, which is the language used by modern machine tools. That conversion can occupy a team for a week or even longer, depending on the complexity of the parts. “They’re not going to swallow the cost of translating the data from 2-D to 3-D,” Parimi said of manufacturers. “They’re going to pass on that cost and risk to the government.” The risk, he explained, is making a mistake during the data translation. The Army does not provide official product representations in a 3-D format for several reasons. Until recently, the Army had no way of validating 3-D CAD data. Also, the Army had not adopted the use of a “neutral” standards-based CAD format that would allow vendors to use CAD data, regardless of which

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Schematics for future weapons to be rendered in 3D

Army researchers us fully annotated 3-D modeling for computed aided design (U.S. Army illustration)

CAD platform their business used. Teams from two of the Army Research Development and Engineering Command’s organizations -- Picatinny Arsenal’s ARDEC and Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, had both been working on projects that sought to modernize the Army’s technical data packages. “It made sense to join forces and put a more comprehensive program together,” said Paul Huang, a materials engineer who is the project lead for models-based enterprise activities at ARL. He added that they are all part of the same Manufacturing Technology team working multiple projects in the “same space.” TOWARD A NEUTRAL ARMY 3-D STANDARD The ManTech team began by investigating whether they could use a CAD format that is “neutral” among the competing versions from various CAD vendors. The format they explored was based on an industry standard called STEP, which stands for Standard for the Exchange of Product model data, Huang said. In its current form, CAD vendors do not support the translation of STEP without some critically important data on how to manufacture the product. Consequently, the Army does not provide its official product representation in STEP. Another approach would have been to

pursue changes to STEP that supported the Army’s needs, but since the STEP is based on agreement across an international body, that process would not have moved fast enough, Huang said. “This leaves the Army back at square one,” Parimi noted. “We still need the 2-D drawing as the official product representation. We recognized the need to send out 3-D data in a neutral format was important, but the technology to do that wasn’t there.”

“Our goal then was to replace the 2-D PDF with a 3-D PDF design document that includes 3-D visualization and the product manufacturing data to make it so all of the design outputs can easily become inputs to the manufacturing world.”
— Sanjay Parimi Facing a wall the team could not get through, the team, “got a ladder and climbed over it,” Huang said. Team members investigated the common Portable Document Format, commonly known as a PDF, which allows viewing in 3-D and is readable on standard personal computers without additional cost. However, it does not

support extracting the data needed by the CAD software. “Our goal then was to replace the 2-D PDF with a 3-D PDF design document that includes 3-D visualization and the product manufacturing data to make it so all of the design outputs can easily become inputs to the manufacturing world,” Parimi said. Having developed a way to reach their goal with PDF, they then looked further. Current technical data packages, commonly called TDPs, include every detail about the finished part, but no information about how to make the part. The team envisioned a TDP that would have not only the 3-D PDF documents that interoperate with CAD, but would also include step-by-step “how to” data, including video-like sequential illustrations that explain how various tools can be used to fashion parts. Creating odd and distinctive shapes that require instructions is especially important, and typical, in gun manufacturing, according to Parimi. The Army must figure out how it will be manufactured, thus it makes sense for the Army to relay that knowledge to the people who will do the job. “It saves money, and it saves time,” said Parimi. “By providing the data, we’re positioning (manufacturers) further along in the learning curve. They don’t have to spend as much money figuring out how to manufacture the part.” The team is also developing a way of representing “systems integration data.” Translation: A guide that explains how to assemble an assortment of individual parts into a working system. That data would be valuable over a system’s service life, Parimi explained. After an Army weapon comes off the assembly line, it may remain in service for decades exposed to the Army’s brutal operating environments. During that lifetime of service, a system is likely to be shipped to depots for replacement parts, upgrades or modifications several times. Maintaining both the assembly information and the parts data means that Army depots would never again have to pay for planning parts-making or assembly. All the data would remain a part of the 3-D data package. “The technical data package is more important than any of the parts,” Parimi noted. “If you have the data you have everything you need to make more parts.” Parimi characterized the current version of the 3-D data package as “somewhat mature.” He asked manufacturers for feedback on the proposed solution. Of 46 who responded, 84.4% plan to use the 3-D technical data package in their manufacturing planning, 76.1% plan to use the 3-D TDP to develop their computer aided modeling program, and 73.9 percent plan to use the 3-D TDP as a way to convey instructions to the shop floor. 3-D TECHNICAL DATA PACKAGES -ONE PIECE IN A LARGER EFFICIENCY PUZZLE Parimi and Huang entered into the field of models-based enterprise attempting to meet different specific needs. Haung was leading an initiative to improve how organic Army facilities share workloads. Parimi had found a 2-D TDP inadequate to the task of communicating the design of a particularly vexing gun part and began exploring a better TDP. After their efforts merged, however, they have set their sights on a much bigger prize: “providing knowledge and functionality to provide better procurement packages to the DLA,” said Huang, referring to the Defense Logistics Agency, which is the central focus for obtaining parts across the Department of Defense. “Another goal is to provide better procurement packages for the Army’s contracting centers,” added Parimi. Ultimately, Huang explained, “We didn’t want to create a point solution, we wanted to be able to hand them a better way of doing things.” To that end, their efforts are now focused on developing a way to manage 3-D TDPs that operates more like a social media site than a file drawer. Named the Product Data Management System, or PDMS, it maintains extensive data on a system throughout its service life. Parimi describes it as a “living,” secure, internet-based system that can be accessed by authorized personnel for reference or update whenever needed. For example, a Soldier may have an idea for a how to improve a product based on combat experience. The Soldier could submit the suggestion via the PDMS. An Army engineer in the U.S. could review the suggestion and begin refining it, then prototype it, test it and submit the new design as change proposal that leverages the 3-D format. If the Army approved the improved part, it would then be the official representation of the part and available for production. There are multiple variations of that example, explained Parimi. Basically, any improvement in a part design, assembly or maintenance as represented in the 3-D technical data package could be improved with a similar process. The key is that Soldiers,

maintenance personnel, depots and product engineers can always access an up-to-date official representation from anywhere via the Internet. FIELD REPAIRS AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE -- IN 3-D The original 3-D technical data package can also be used to assist in the field maintenance of Army systems, since visual representations of products and parts are used to instruct Soldiers in the disassembly, cleaning and replacement of parts needed to keep a system working. The Army is already using training manuals accessible with a tablet or handheld computer that use 3-D product representations. An example is the 3-D Interactive Electronic Training Manual, or IETM, for the XM7 Spider Networked Munition System. A 3-D IETM allows Soldiers to disassemble and re-assemble virtual models of a system. The 3-D feature allows them to rotate components in the model to view them from different angles or “zoom in” to get a better view of small parts. The 3-D data is also used to provide videolike assembly and disassembly instructions and is incorporated into self-paced tests, all to improve a Soldier’s maintenance skills. Parimi is developing plans to deploy 3-D PDF, PDMS and IETM elements. He is working with their customers in Project Manager Soldier Weapons and Project Manager Close Combat Systems to bring the technology to fruition in a way that would support actual products being used by Soldiers. One such project with PM Soldier Weapons includes developing 3-D digital work instructions to save time and money in the conversion of M2 .50 caliber machine guns into the upgraded M2A1 variant that was announced last year as an Army Greatest Invention of 2011. And it starts with seeing things, in three dimensions -- just as they are in the real world. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” Huang said. If that’s true, then wouldn’t a 3-D picture be worth one thousand words to the third power: a billion words? If not, the ManTech team may just have to settle for billions of dollars in savings. “That is why we see a huge impact with this technology,” Huang said. RELATED LINKS Online:


MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Dan Nattress and Deborah Haley of the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center use fresh ingredients to provide tube foods to high-flying U-2 pilots. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Natick tube foods keep U-2 pilots flying high
By Bob Reinert USAG-Natick Public Affairs NATICK, Mass. — Imagine key lime pie with the consistency of baby food squirting out of a container roughly the size of a toothpaste tube. The thought of it might make your stomach churn, but one group of high-flying consumers has given two thumbs up to the dessert choice. These discerning diners also think beef stew, truffle macaroni and cheese, chicken a la king, and, especially, home fries and bacon from a tube, are out of this world -- or at least in the upper atmosphere. That’s because they fly U-2 reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force and its NASA research equivalent, the ER-2. Try chowing down while wearing a pressurized suit and helmet at the edge of space, and you’ll soon discover why these elite pilots have come to regard the tube foods, produced only by the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, as the very height

Combat Feeding has been supplying tube foods to U-2 pilots for five decades.

of culinary achievement. “We’ve been making these for years and years,” said Dan Nattress, a food technologist with Combat Feeding. Combat Feeding has been supplying tube foods to U-2 pilots for five decades. For a community of only about 100 pilots, CFD supplies approximately 28,000 tubes annually of the food, which has a shelf life of three years at 80 degrees. The silver containers attached to feeding probes insert through ports in their helmets and provide nourishment on flights that can last as long as 12 hours. That makes caffeine a popular ingredient among pilots.

“The aircraft itself is every difficult to fly, and it’s actually very difficult to land,” Nattress said. “They want to be very alert when they land. Fairly soon before they’re landing, they’ll open up a caffeinated product.” The tube food menu also needed a boost three years ago, when the Air Force asked CFD to bring its products into the 21st century.


“Once you’re fully suited and under pressure and connected to oxygen, there’s no movement inside the helmet, except when you breathe in and breathe out.”
— Deborah Haley “Things change,” Nattress said. “In the 1970s, your expectations were different than what they are in the 2000s. We had no direct communication with the user prior to 2010.” To rectify that, Nattress and Deborah Haley, chef and physical science technician with CFD, visited Beale Air Force Base, Calif., from which the U-2s fly. “Since then we’ve had a few pilots who have come here and walked through,” said Nattress, “and they are just totally amazed at what we do to make these.” At Beale, Nattress and Haley got a taste of a pilot’s life, even trying on the pressurized gear. “Things are a lot more difficult,” Haley said. “Once you’re fully suited and under pressure and connected to oxygen, there’s no movement inside the helmet, except when you breathe in and breathe out. “So swallowing is a conscious effort. You have to actually think about that, because there’s no air movement. It’s a lot different sort of feeling to it.” Once pilots are fitted to the four-layer suits by a pair of technicians, they are then shoehorned into the U-2 cockpits, which actually do have heaters to warm the food. “I mean, the suit itself is one thing, and you look inside the cockpit -- it is just very small,” Nattress said. “It really gave us a much better idea of what they go through on a regular basis.” The Air Force asked CFD to produce four products identified by pilots -- peach melba, beef stroganoff, key lime pie, and a breakfast item, which became bacon with hash browns. They were added to a revamped 15-item menu, all made with

The U-2 provides high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance, day or night, in direct support of U.S. and allied forces. It delivers critical imagery and signals intelligence to decision makers throughout all phases of conflict, including peacetime indications and warnings, low-intensity conflict, and large-scale hostilities. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Tube foods used by U-2 pilots are attached to feeding probes that are inserted through ports in their helmets. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Deborah Haley (left) and Tina Howard, of the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, sample tube foods while wearing pressurized suits during a visit to Beale Air Force Base, Calif. (Courtesy photo)

fresh ingredients ground to fit in the tubes. “They didn’t want us to completely revise all of the products, but we knew that there were things that we could do to improve them that wouldn’t be major,” Haley said. “We made some suggestions to develop layers of flavors, and that’s my whole thing, is really developing layers of flavors in these tubes. “So that was the thing just tweaking it and taking it (to) the next level,” he continued. “Now the pilots are getting really excited about the food. It’s so much better.” Certainly, Nattress and Haley have

faced challenges and experienced a failure or two along the way. In the early stages of developing the now successful peach melba, Nattress recalled that it had a “dirty sock kind of taste.” Much the same as the pilots they serve, however, the CFD staff continues to push the envelope. In the near future, for example, chicken tortilla soup will find its way onto the menu. “We’re constantly thinking ahead,” Haley said. “It takes a while to find just the right balance so that when it comes out of the tube, you’ve hit just the right flavor profile.” Haley said that she just wants people to know about the science and hard work that go into improving the quality of life for Air Force and NASA U-2 pilots. “We’re such a unique program,” Haley said. “There’s no one else doing what we’re doing.” RELATED LINKS

ECBC Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Robert Pazda says his team within the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is accustomed to having to fit 10 pounds of equipment into a five-pound bag. But his team’s latest project -- the Global Strike Near Real Time Battle Data Assessment System -could change all that. “The Army always wants everything smaller, lighter,” said Pazda, the branch chief for Electronic Design Integration within the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division of the center’s Engineering Directorate. His team focuses on integrating electronic parts that comprise state-of-the-art devices. The Global Strike NRT-BDA System incorporates unattended sensors and a remote Warfighter Interface to provide timely reporting of conditions during reconnaissance op erations. One sensor includes a chemical agent de tector similar in shape and size two a twopound soda can. The sensors are intended to be air deployed and have been tested from a P-3 Orion aircraft at 1,000 feet. The sensor is equipped with an accelerometer, which triggers the release of the cap and small parachute (ballute). Once it lands, spring-loaded legs pop open, allowing it to sit upright. The detector is also equipped with a GPS tracking device. Once the detector has landed and the position remains the same, the device initiates the start sequence of the detector so it can detect chemical agents and other threats, in addition to seismic activity. This detector, which was a redesign of the Joint Chemical Agent Detector, can feed information to a satellite and then to Soldiers manning a Warfighter Interface as far as a few thousand miles away. One of the earlier challenges with the Global Strike NRT-BDA was fitting all three antennas onto a circuit board that was two and-onequarter-inch in diameter. It contained a GPS antenna for location purposes, an iridium antenna that sends information up to a satellite, and a short-range communications antenna. In a later design the short-range communication antenna was no longer required. “It’s a pre or post assessment tool,” Pazda said. “You could drop it and know something is there and strike, or you know something’s there and avoid the area.” ECBC has collaborated with other organizations to design sensors and other parts that the Electronic Design and Integration Branch incorporated into the device. They worked with ECBC’s Engineering Design and Analysis

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Army researchers develop better remote sensors

Soldiers with U.S. Army Europe’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry keep watch during a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2010. (Photo by Spc. Joshua Grenier)

Branch, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Air Force Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Kansas State University and Smith’s Detection. There are still challenges to overcome for extended operational time. Currently, the de vice will last four to six hours, but the goal is to have it monitor its surroundings for several days. The Global Strike NRT-BDA has displayed survivability with plans for improve ment. Pazda said the biggest challenge his team faces is rapidly changing technology. “My world is challenging. We do so much with electronic wizardry, but people don’t realize the tens of millions of dollars that were invested in things like cell phones that took decades to perfect what we have today. That’s the challenge in this electronic age, to keep up with technology since things hap pen at a very quick pace,” Pazda said. He noted that the first transistor was in vented in 1948, and the first integrated circuit was created in 1951. In 15 years, the world has gone from cell phones to smart phones with internet functionality, to cam eras and applications that can do just about anything. With the increasing pace of ad vances in technology, there is a greater push to keep up with the latest generation of technological changes that go along with those advances. “We have to investigate those products and integrate the newest capabilities to sup port the Warfighter,” Pazda said. RELATED LINKS ECBC:

A sensor for the Global Strike NRT-BDA System is approximately the size and shape of a twopound soda can. It designed to be air deployed and is equipped with a small parachute. Springloaded legs pop open upon impact with the ground, allowing it to sit upright once it lands. (U.S. Army photo)



Navigating new waters: Army samples ocean floor for underwater munitions project
ECBC Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Five miles off the southern coast of Oahu, Hawaii, a three-person submersible was lifted off the back of a boat by a mechanical crane. The underwater vehicle floated on the surface of the ocean for a few moments as the crew in the chase boat unhooked the submersible as it prepared for its 550-meter journey into the depths of the ocean. Crisp light blues faded slowly into darker shades of color, and the temperature grew colder in the vast blackness. Even with the underwater lights, the researchers inside could only see 20 meters in front of them, through portholes barely as big as their faces. One of those researchers was Mike Knudsen, the field remediation air monitoring manager for the Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction, or CBARR, Business Unit of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. Knudsen was part of a CBARR team that supported a multi-phase research effort called the Hawaii Undersea Military Munitions Assessment, known as HUMMA, to investigate sea-disposed military munitions along the Hawaiian coast. “A typical dive is between eight and nine hours in a small metal sphere that is seven feet in diameter, and there are three people in there,” Knudsen said. “It was a small, cold space. But an absolute, can’t-pass-up-opportunity. I was excited.” According to the HUMMA project website, both conventional and chemical munitions were discarded south of Pearl Harbor following World War II, including 16,000 M47A2 100-pound mustard-filled bombs. For two weeks beginning on Nov. 23, CBARR supported its second mission for HUMMA, and provided chemical analysis for nearly 300 samples collected by the submersible, including 165 sediment samples, five water samples and 36 samples of shrimp tissue. “Our job on the dive was to provide chemical warfare material sampling expertise and to help locate items on the bottom of the ocean. One of the big pieces of the job was to watch the sonar to make sure the sub doesn’t run into things or get snagged on other hazards,” said Knudsen, who has made a total of six dives down in the submarine. Old munitions deteriorating on the sea floor decorated the muddy sediment like railroad tracks on the sonar map. There are no plants at these depths and few animals, but every once in a while the crew caught a glimpse of a shark

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center scientist Mike Knudsen, air monitoring manager for Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction, boards the Pisces submersible operated by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

or sting ray. Knudsen attributes the sightings not to luck but to the bait traps used by the submersible to catch shrimp for bio analysis. John Schwarz, CBARR analytical chemistry laboratory manager and project lead, took the equivalent of a mobile analytic platform and stationed it on a boat in order to analyze the collected samples. A glove box was used for sample preparation and MINICAMS accurately monitored air inside the designated laboratory space. All equipment in the designated onboard laboratory, including computer monitors, had to be tied down due to the ship’s movement on the ocean surface. Schwarz said the experience was more unique than anything else he’s done for CBARR. “On the ship we were able to successfully execute the quality of analytical procedures and protocols for samples as we would in our fixed laboratory back at our headquarters at

the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland,” Schwarz said. “To me that’s why it was a big achievement. We did it on a boat in the ocean.” While Knudsen and CBARR teammate Jim Swank, the designated explosive ordnance disposal technician of Pine Bluff Arsenal’s (Ark.) Field Technology Branch, spent their days in darkness underwater, Schwarz spent his nights working in the laboratory analyzing samples and clearing them of chemical agents. According to Schwarz, the munitions themselves are too dangerous to lift from the ocean floor and are unlikely to wash ashore due to the depth of their location, where the water temperature hovers around the 40-degree Fahrenheit mark. The possible chemical agent inside the World War I-era weapons would be frozen at that temperature. But there was one



MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications-electronics center Outreach team lead Erica Bertoli explains to fourth grade students at Lisby Elementary, Bel Air, Md., that Iron Man is only a super hero because Tony Stark is a brilliant engineer. . (U.S. Army photos by Amanda Rominiecki)

Outreach initiative brings science, engineering to students
fun and entertainment to the seemingly daunting ideas of engineering and STEM. “What sets it [STEM Superstar] apart, is that marriage between creativity and en gineering,” Bertoli said. “We’re trying to demystify math and science and give stu dents the confidence to believe they can do it.”

By Amanda Rominiecki CERDEC Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — “Can someone tell me why Iron Man is the best superhero, what his true super power is? -- Iron Man is the best superhero because Tony Stark is an engineer! Tony Stark made himself a superhero.” Traditionally, STEM outreach initiatives target older students in middle school or high school who have a greater general knowledge base and more advanced math skills. The STEM Superstar program aims to reach students earlier in their academic career -- before they learn to be fearful of math or science that can often deter stu dents from STEM career paths -- and set a foundation for a future that might involve the statement, “I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” Bertoli said. For the program to be successful it had to be tailored to the younger students’ interests and level of understand ing. Connecting popular movies and su perheroes to STEM and engineering, like the invention in “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” that makes it rain food and its engineer creator, or Tony Stark and the suit he engineered to become the superhero Iron Man, allows students to connect

“Piloting a STEM program with local elementary schools allows CERDEC to demonstrate to students that engineering is an enjoyable, attainable and rewarding career path.”
— Jill Smith STEM Superstar began as a pilot program in November 2011 at Hickory Elementary, Bel Air, Md. and evolved into a five-year, county-wide initiative to bring STEM to elementary students in the area surrounding Aberdeen Proving Ground. During the 2012-13 school year, the pro gram will serve 12 schools and approxi mately 6,000 students. “Piloting a STEM program with local elementary schools allows CERDEC to

demonstrate to students that engineering is an enjoyable, attainable and rewarding career path,” CERDEC Technical Director Jill Smith said. “Encouraging students to pursue science and math early in their ed ucation can help ensure our country has a competitive and successful S&T workforce in the future.” The program is broken into hour-long sessions spread across four days at a spe cific school. During that hour, CERDEC Outreach team members lead a short les son designed to show students the basics of STEM and engineering, followed by a STEM mission that will leave the students STEM Superstars by the end. There is no requirement for teachers to prepare stu dents prior to the program, ensuring more information does not have to be placed into already-full lesson plans. During a STEM Superstar lesson at Lisby Elementary in Aberdeen, Md., CERDEC Outreach team members asked a young student why he doesn’t use a baseball for dribbling during a basketball game -- be cause the ball is solid and won’t bounce well, unlike a basketball. They asked a stu dent what happens if she doesn’t run fast enough heading into a gymnastic flip -she won’t make it all the way around, she’ll fall. Helping the students connect what

they think is just “sports stuff” to physics principles like force and momentum is an other way the program makes STEM more approachable. After the lesson, students participate in 30-minute missions specific to each grade level that challenge them to work as a team to solve a given problem. The mis sions, while centered on STEM, are rooted in creativity and imagination. They work together to create a design and bring that design to life, building a prototype from a box of unusual items like reflective bubble wrap, small wiffle balls, PVC pipes and plastic beakers. “Too long there has been a paradigm in this country that you’re either a math and science kid or a creative, artsy kid,” Bertoli said. “It’s a disservice to the kids and our country. Engineering, innovation--it’s driv en by creativity.” The missions allow students to en gage in problem-solving, group work and the application of several subjects, which has multiple benefits, according to Meadowvale Elementary Principal Debbie Freels. “Students walk away from STEM Superstar with an understanding of STEM, but they also see how all the skills they’ve learned in different subjects can come to gether to create something new and solve a problem,” Freel said. “As an educator, it can be difficult to show young students that we aren’t just teaching them addition and subtraction because it’s in the math book. It all has a greater purpose and a real life application.” Younger students have missions surrounding aliens and space travel while older students have missions asking them to solve real-world problems. Fourthgraders need to design something that gives an ordinary person a ‘super pow er’, much like Iron Man. Fifth-graders are challenged to create something that would make the world a better place or make life easier. “Students need experiences like these to let them know it’s okay to not have the right answer the first time around,” said Dan McGonigal, a fourth grade teacher at Lisby Elementary. “It’s OK to think out side the box, it’s OK to be wrong; they can come out of their shell and learn to solve problems in a risk free environment.” After completing their prototypes stu dents are asked to present their idea to the class, explaining how it works, its benefits, problems they ran into during the process, and --for the older students -- any potential unintentional harm their

A number of elementary schools include STEM into the curriculum by way of schoolwide programs or teachers including it in lesson plans. McGonigal is involved in a STEM Cohort at Towson University, looking into a possible STEM certification for teachers. Meadowvale Elementary, with the aid of a Department of Defense grant, has created an after-school STEM Club program for its fourth and fifth graders that had to be restructured in its second year to accommodate the high level of student interest. “STEM is the way of the future and we have to ensure we are laying a foundation for our students,” said Karen Jankowiak, Meadowvale assistant principal. “The dis cussions we have with Harford County high school and middle school administrations reaffirm the need to prepare students for upper level math and science courses, now, at the elementary level. If they aren’t prepared, it just closes doors for their fu ture.” CERDEC Educational Outreach works to support STEM education through other means outside the STEM Superstar pro gram. CERDEC worked with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, the Army Testing Center, the Army Research Laboratory and the entire APG STEM community to bring an annual STEM Expo to APG, which brought more than 400 high school students to learn about organizations at APG in November. An annual Math and Science Summer Camp is hosted by CERDEC Outreach, continuing STEM education into the summer months for area fifth-10th graders. CERDEC also partici pates in the Army’s eCYBERMISSION pro gram and the Maryland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Throughout the STEM Superstar curricu lum are messages that relate back to the work CERDEC engineers, and the countless engineers from other R&D organiza tions, do at APG, located right around the corner for most of the students, and where many of their parents work. “We show them the amazing things en gineers at CERDEC do -- creating night vi sion goggles to let Soldiers see in the dark, making Sense Through the Wall that lets Soldiers see what’s on the other side of a brick wall,” Bertoli said. “To a kid, what CERDEC engineers do can seem like really giving Soldiers super powers and that’s a powerful message.”

Fourth graders explain their prototype to RDECOM’s communications-electronics center Outreach team members. STEM Superstar engages students from kindergarten to fifth grade in stimulating activities challenging students to think creatively and solve problems like an engineer. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

idea could cause and how much of their budget they used. “We wanted to make a super powered router so you can take the Internet wherever you go,” one fifth-grader at Lisby Elementary said. “It’s solar powered and portable. You don’t have to be in your house to use it and everyone can use the internet for free.” Another team created a prototype that would collect fish in a river in hopes of ef ficiently collecting the fish for food, while keeping in mind the live animals. “The wheels spin from the river current and power the arm that sucks up the fish,” said another Lisby fifth-grader. “But we have to be sure the wheels don’t hurt the fish and that the fish can escape if it gets full.” “This program truly is special,” Freel said. “It brings the program into our class rooms, into a familiar setting, and provides a unique opportunity for our students to actively participate in a fun and engaging lesson that they will remember. Not only that, but for the teachers it serves as an anchor point that they can refer back to in future lessons.” Harford and Cecil county officials were critical in the successful launch of the pro gram, said Bertoli, citing the positive re lationship between APG, county officials, and principals and administrative staff at the county schools. Over the next four years, the STEM Superstar program plans to visit every elementary school in the two counties, ensuring every student has taken part in the program at least once. “The program is a reflection of the dedi cation of Harford and Cecil counties to pro vide the best opportunities and further the education of their students,” Bertoli said.


TARDEC Public Affairs DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — Research, Development and Engineering Command Director Dale Ormond envisions a structural change within the command to better integrate the science and technology centers in the future. But functionally, he emphasized, S&T teams are more essential than ever to future operational readiness. “I don’t think there’s an organization in the Army that can do what you do,” he declared during a recent town hall address at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center. “I see tremendous things come out of this command every day,” Ormond said to associates. “One of the great things about our type of organization is we have men and women whose priority is helping some guy or gal out on point in the middle of nowhere execute their mission and come home safely. We’re doing that as profoundly as anybody in the Army because we’re putting new capabilities in that Soldier’s hands.” He has proposed a new way to think about developing and delivering technology that meets Army needs, though. “I’m trying to get us to collaborate across RDECOM in the most profound way, so we can take advantage of the expertise that exists at all the other RDECs [research, development and engineering centers]and provide even greater capabilities to help the Army execute its mission,” he asserted during the Jan. 16 town hall. “This organization was stood up [in 2003] because the Army saw the value of the RDECs and ARL [Army Research Laboratory] and recognized if we could collaborate in a positive way, it would only work to the benefit of the Army.” During the course of his initial nine months as the command’s first civilian director, Ormond has been planning and implementing actions to establish RDECOM as the Army’s “go-to” organization for engineering expertise — a fully integrated source for technological solutions that ensure battlefield dominance. By linking RDECOM’s seven centers and laboratories together in a collaborative network providing technological expertise, he intends to position the command as the powerful and diverse S&T provider the Army envisioned 10 years ago. Revitalizing the network of 16,000 associates may also involve a name change for the centers and labs. Proposals include what Ormond described as the FedEx model: the prominent package delivery business

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

RDECOM director envisions fully united lab network

RDECOM Director Dale A. Ormond (left) visits Dr. Paul Rogers at the command’s tank and automotive center at Detroit Arsenal. (U.S. Army photo)

consolidated its assets under one banner with identifying designations to strengthen the overall brand but also promote their specialties, such as FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office. TARDEC could evolve into “RDECOM Ground Vehicle Systems” under this proposed plan. The Armament Research Development and Engineering Center could become “RDECOM Armaments,” and Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center could become simply “RDECOM Soldier,” and so on. Another proposal would combine all the RDECOM organizations under one headquarters called the Army Research and Engineering Laboratory. RDECOM leaders are considering the rebranding effort to change the paradigm for how work gets completed and vehicle systems become integrated to best serve Soldiers in the field and, long term, to lower costs. The effort involves deleting duplicative practices and using a common approach that focuses on each lab’s or center’s core competency, such as TARDEC’s specialties — systems engineering and integration. “We ought to have the same approach to systems engineering — the same terminology, the same assessments, conduct trade space analysis the same way,” Ormond announced. “If we do it all the same way, then systems engineers could even move back and forth between RDECs and

integrate and do systems engineering on platforms. We’re enabling risk assessment and the decisions make sense because we all talk the same language and use the same approach.” Success hinges on two factors. First, every organization that interacts with RDECOM has to adopt a 30-year plan so that budgeting, facilities plans and workforce needs will be known and can be aligned with the Army’s goals to become more efficient, more flexible and ready for the next security threat. Also, Ormond believes technology development moves faster when the Army collaborates with private industry and transfers its research and development to the vehicle builders. The RDECOM director reassured TARDEC employees that S&T research and development will remain prominent and relevant to a military that doesn’t want to lose its edge if the United States needs to defend its interests in another part of the world. “We contribute to the fight every day.” “While other budgets will be going down, S&T budgets are expected to be fully funded — equivalent to what they were in previous years,” Ormond said. “If [the country] has a need to buy new capabilities and we haven’t invested in S&T, we won’t be ready and we will lose traction with the rest of the world.” RELATED LINKS Online:



Engineers brainstorm ideas for ground vehicle projects
By Bob Van Enkenvoort TARDEC Public Affairs DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — You’re an engineer assigned to develop new technology to meet an emerging need in the field. Meanwhile, design students — with their markers and paper ready — turn your words into real-time sketches. You scan the drawings. Army warrant officers who have recent combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan also offer their wellqualified viewpoints. The student quickly illustrates a new rendering that becomes the catalyst for another engineer’s idea, which is also incorporated into the sketch. Such collaborative synergy quickly produces multiple usable ideas for further discussion. That was the process as College for Creative Studies design students, U.S. Army Tank, Automotive, Research Development and Engineering Center engineers and highly experienced Army warrant officers from Fort Lee, Va., combined Dec. 1719 in Warren, Mich., to collaborate on ideas for two current projects: a Mobility Demonstrator and a Virtual Window. The Mobility Demonstrator is a future vehicle that can be either tracked or wheeled. The focus is on future flexibility for propulsion and running gear commonality. The Virtual Window allows Soldiers in the back of an armor-encased vehicle to see what is outside of it. This first-of-its-kind Innovations Solutions Training Event was organized by TARDEC project teams and G1 Workforce Development members to quickly spur ideas by putting engineers, Soldiers and industrial designers — who typically don’t work together face-to-face in the same room to collaborate. TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers said TARDEC is bringing innovation into its processes. “We’re trying to change the paradigm, get out of the typical development process and bring in new ideas,” he said. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charles Fannin looked at the aggressive agenda when he arrived. “I’m thinking with things that I’ve dealt with in the past, I was like, ‘How can we talk about ideas and solutions and have them drawn up or visualized in such a short amount of time?’ It was fascinating. As we were talking, things were being drawn up instantly with concepts and designs. I’m just in awe of what the students were capable of doing,” Fannin said.

Innovations Solutions Training Event participants pose with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. (U.S. Army photo)

CCS transportation design associate professor Thomas Roney said that kind of collaboration is key to the process. “It gets these people that maybe aren’t used to being together all in the same room and bouncing ideas off each other. It creates a synergy that you get some better ideas out than you probably would have without that happening,” Roney said. At the end of the three-day event, 141 ideas were attached to the wall for CCS students to use as they explained their ideas. The sketches will be sent for operations security review once TARDEC engineers pore through them to identify potential ideas that could move forward. “Several good ideas and great sketches were developed for the Virtual Window project. Some of the sketches will be utilized to communicate the current implementation for the project. Some of the ideas that came out of this event have potential to influence future implementations of the Virtual Window project as well,” Virtual Window Project Manager Andrew Kerbrat said. “You’re looking at the beginning stages of innovation,” said James Scott, who was part of a CCS class that helped design ideas for Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator Bravo in 2010. He now works for TARDEC’s Advanced Concepts team as an industrial designer. “This is probably the most important

process because you’re able to explore new ideas. This is a chance to get a lot of innovative ideas down on paper in a short amount of time,” Scott said. “At the end of the day, 80 percent of the ideas are unfeasible, but, perhaps, 20 percent have nuggets of innovation that could be further investigated.” ‘A VERY POSITIVE EXPERIENCE’ “It was just a great combination of the right people at the right time with the right environment,” TARDEC Mobility Demonstrator PM Mike Blain said. “It was, from my opinion, a very positive experience.” Blain said the students were only given so much information about each project. “We [the PMs] know our projects hands down, so we were able to tell them what we wanted, but, yet, not tell them so much that we kind of got the answer that we already had. We wanted to sort of give them the boundaries but not constrain them so much so that we got the same answer that we were already moving toward.” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Rodney Crow, who directs ordnance and warrant officer training at Fort Lee, agreed. “I think everyone had a great event here. The collaboration


20 Senior aviation engineer developing next generation
By Heather R. Smith AMRDEC Public Affairs REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — The future of Army aviation will be like a scene from a science fiction movie – putting together a wide spectrum of engineering talents and disciplines and the machines they will de sign and build. “We’re talking about aircraft that takes off like a helicopter and converts to go fast like an airplane,” said Dr. Bill Lewis, director of the Aviation Development Directorate at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. The program, known as Future Vertical Lift, is going to require engineers who can think outside the box and be truly innovative in solving the challenges of future. Future Vertical Lift will be a family of vehicles that will include four versions: light, medium, heavy, and ultra. Lewis said these are exciting times in Army aviation – the Army hasn’t designed a new aircraft in more than 30 years – and engineers are generally excited to come onboard and take part. “On the battlefield in 2040, autonomous systems are going to be doing a lot of things that manned aircraft are doing today, and we have to think about how we’re going to implement those autonomous systems on the battlefield. But to get to those autonomous systems, there’s lots of really neat work that needs to be done in terms of developing algorithms for aircraft to determine safe landing areas, to do navigation, to understand the threat, to be able to avoid the threat, to be able to detect possible fire and queue up weapons against those things in an automated fashion. Those are the kinds of things that engineers got into the engineering business to do, those challenging engineering solution sets. When you turn them loose, they do a really good job of being creative and going after solutions that are either innovative, novel or out of the box scenarios.” One of the challenges Lewis faces is not just developing a new family of vehicles but first developing a workforce to do something they’ve never done before. “We designed our last aircraft that we have out there today in the early ’80s,

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Dr. Bill Lewis, director of AMRDEC’s Aviation Development Directorate, provided a briefing of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator, the Future Vertical Lift family of vehicles, and the Apache Block III to MG(P) James L. Huggins Jr., incoming Department of the Army G-3/5/7, during a January 2013 tour of AMRDEC. (U.S. Army photo by Merv Brokke)

so the workforce I have today has never designed a helicopter, has never designed an air vehicle of this nature. We’ve modified a lot of them; we’ve enhanced them; we’ve tweaked those. But we never have, from the ground up, done those kinds of preliminary detailed design processes to get to a new concept. I have to build a workforce that has the capability of doing that.” Typical working in Army aviation are

“On the battlefield, in 2040, autonomous systems are going to be doing a lot of things that manned aircraft are doing today.”
— Dr. Bill Lewis in the engineering fields of aerospace, mechanical, electrical, materials science and propulsion. Coming along in the future of flight, Lewis said, are the addition of computer engineers, because of the complexity of digital systems, and systems engineers. “The big piece about systems engineering is, it’s not about the transmission, it’s not about the engine, it’s not about the radio,” Lewis said. “It’s about how all those things work together, because the more digital, more cyber-physical we get in the process, the more the aircraft becomes a very highly interdisciplinary cross-coupled system. That system has to work at a system level.

“That has to occur in our future systems, and that capability will exist, and we need people who understand the interdisciplinary nature of that engineering specialty,” said Lewis. To develop the workforce, Lewis has implemented preliminary design groups and mentoring programs. As a former systems engineer, it is his goal to impart to the current and next generations what he learned throughout his career and as a young engineer during the production of the OH-58D Kiowa in the 1980s. “I’m 60 years old. I’m not going to be around for a long time, relatively. So what I need to do is take the knowledge and experience I have and try to infuse that into the workforce so that they understand, without going through those exact processes, the logic, the rationale, the experience that they can utilize in going forward. A lot of that is documenting engineering processes and pieces, or talking about how you do a flight test or what kind of aircraft is suitable.” For the engineers who are working this program today. it’s their time in the spotlight. “This really is the time for a rotorcraft engineer to really cut their teeth, learn the business, get excited about what they do every day and reap the benefits of technologies that are out there just beyond the reach of what we’re doing today,” Lewis said. RELATED LINKS Online:


21 AMRDEC engineer is living the dream
By Ryan Keith AMRDEC Public Affairs REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — From an early age, Anna Locke wanted to be an engineer. “Since I was just a child, I remember hearing stories of my father’s efforts to help our Soldiers as an engineer for DoD. I thought he had the most interesting job in the world,” Locke said. Today Locke is fulfilling that dream as an electrical engineer at the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s Prototype Integration Facility. “I fell in love with the high-pace environment and the hands on acAnna Locke tivities such as hardware fabrication and aircraft modification installs. Not everyone can say they get to climb around on helicopters for a living,” she said. In seven years at the PIF, Locke has done much more that climb on aircraft. PIF program manager Danny Featherston describes Locke as an invaluable team member and critical to the facility’s success on a wide array of projects. Her management of the OH-58D Common Missile Warning System integration project was instrumental in its success. The CMWS was voted on by Soldiers as one of the 10 Army’s Greatest Inventions award recipients of 2011. “The CMWS program was one of the most challenging and exciting projects I have worked on,” Locke said. “The excitement came from knowing this modification has the potential to save aircraft and more importantly, Soldier lives.” Locke found inspiration in another recent effort, the GAU-19/B, which she describes as the coolest program that she has ever supported. “It really brought me back to memories of my father’s projects and stories; having the opportunity to participate in some live fire testing, witnessing a .50 caliber Gatling gun light up a hillside is an incredible sight,” she said. For the last 10 years, the PIF has used the talents and intellect of its dedicated mix of a government and industry workers to provide the Warfighter with rapid solutions. Locke said she is excited about the future of engineering, and specifically the facility’s efforts going forward. RELATED LINKS Online:

Newly promoted Master Sgt. John Herring describes his experiences as the senior enlisted advisor at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center. (U.S. Army photo by Merv Brokke)

Senior aviation NCO brought Soldier experience to AMRDEC
By Ryan Keith AMRDEC Public Affairs REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Days prior to leaving Redstone Arsenal for a new assignment in the Republic of Korea, Sgt. 1st Class John Herring was promoted to master sergeant. The promotion reflects a successful 16year career, which most recently included the role of senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center. “Military promotions are a measure of past performance, they look at what you did in the past, but they’re really a statement about the Army’s expectations for the future. Master Sergeant Herring will only wear those master sergeant stripes for a week or so. As soon as he lands in Korea he’ll pull those off and put a diamond in the middle, the diamond of a first sergeant,” said Col. Jeff Mockensturm, the AMRDEC deputy director. As the senior enlisted advisor to AMRDEC, Herring was instrumental in establishing the center’s Current Operations Cell, a group designed to foster innovative research to find solutions and funding for theater priorities and to deliver quality, on-time results and products. During the ceremony, AMRDEC Director Eric Edwards praised Herring’s service over the last three-and-a-half years. “John was able to bring some tactical relevance and real-world influence to what our Ops Cell is doing; to help us better understand what we as engineers here in this Center mean to that deployed man or woman

in uniform over there in harm’s way. He’s done a lot of great things to help us get that Ops Cell up and running,” Edwards said. While serving at AMRDEC, Herring deployed as the senior science and technology advisor to Combined Joint Task Force Paladin in support of efforts to counter improvised explosive devices. “Sergeant Herring is no stranger to pulling tough tours,” said Mockensturm. “He’s had four combat tours - in OEF and OIF. And so a lot of those young Soldiers in that unit [stationed in the Republic of Korea] and young NCOs are going to be looking to him for his expertise in knowing how to lead in combat; which he has clearly demonstrated. “He’s an excellent Soldier,” Mockensturm said. While at Redstone, Herring completed, with cum laude honors, a bachelor of science in business administration from Columbia College. A few weeks before to his promotion, Herring was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster, from RDECOM Director Dale Ormond for his exemplary service while assigned to AMRDEC. Herring was also inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Michael and was presented the Bronze Award by Col. Bob Marion, project manager for Cargo Helicopters and senior vice president of the Army Aviation Association of America’s Tennessee Valley Chapter. RELATED LINKS Online:


MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

Next-generation smartphone technology capable of diagnostic biological detection
ECBC Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Anyone with a smartphone will tell you they can do pretty much anything with it, from managing their stocks to using it as a flash light. But the latest applications for smartphones go beyond the conveniences of modern society--they save lives. The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is developing cellphonebased wide-field fluorescent imaging of microbeads for pathogen detection. In simpler terms, researchers are developing technology to collect a sample, analyze the results, geotag the location of the sample and send the results to a laboratory for further review--all from a smartphone. Scientists at ECBC worked with a team at the University of California, Los Angeles, to adapt its prototype of a plastic, clipon “microscope” to fit an Android phone, commonly used by the Army. This device clips directly over the smartphone camera and operates just like a microscope. The user collects a sample, slides it into the device and snaps a picture. An application downloaded to the phone will read the sample and analyze the results quickly, generating a clear positive or negative detection of the test agent. The UCLA team is developing the hardware and the software for the device, with ECBC’s team providing the diagnostic and detection assays that it will utilize. “This takes the place of a standalone microscope and automates the process, which is perfect for Soldiers or clinicians who are in a remote area without access to a laboratory,” said Patricia Buckley, a research biologist leading ECBC’s effort on the project. “Computing in smartphones has grown to be so complex that it can actually replace the computer for these devices.” ECBC has partnered with Holomic, a small business in California, to develop a second hardware add-on that can take existing assays in the field and integrate them into the smartphone, making the results more user-friendly and available for archival within the biosurveillance community. This embodies the same concept of building an electronic database that can be clearly read and interpreted. Usually there is a need for diagnostic and detection equipment that is then linked to a computer for analysis. Both of these technologies utilize equipment that is already in the Soldiers’ repertoire, significantly reducing the need for additional heavy, expensive equipment and removing the need for a separate computer to run the components. One of the most significant effects of this technology is that the results from either device can be stored in the phone and later added to a biosurveillance cloud database, allowing for an electronic archive of data that is available to anyone with access to the cloud. This is especially important because of the ability to tag the location from which the sample was taken, allowing for further surveillance and monitoring of that area. The technology is designed for both military and civilian use. “This is ideal for the Solider out in the field, in a remote area without a cell tower nearby. He or she can still capture the data and store it until it can be sent back to the command post,” Buckley said. “It can also be valuable for clinics or hospitals in underdeveloped areas which may not have sophisticated testing equipment. They are more likely to be able to afford a device like this, which combines the ease and reliability of testing with the ability to communicate the results to a larger facility or organization.” The team is focused on biological diagnostic tests, with a current focus on testing blood and urine for Salmonella typhimurium, a causative agent for food poisoning. The team plans to add testing for four additional pathogens. The ECBC, UCLA and Holomic teams will continue to develop these projects, fully funded by the Joint Science and Technology Office of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency or the Chemical Biological Medical Systems Joint Project Management Office, with plans to begin field tests of the prototypes throughout the country to determine their accuracy and ability to send and receive data. “The coolest thing about this technology is that it’s taking a common test that’s done often in a laboratory and applying what we do here: reduce the size, reduce the cost and reduce the weight. All with a package that is already being used by civilians and Soldiers everywhere,” Buckley said. “It’s an exciting testament to the work we do here at ECBC in support of our mission.” RELATED LINKS ECBC:

Patricia Buckley, a research biologist in ECBC’s Research and Technology Directorate, holds up a prototype of the next-generation smartphone technology, which uses wide-field imaging of microbeads for pathogen detection. (U.S. Army photos)

The next-generation prototype for smartphone technology developed by ECBC and UCLA scientists can collect a sample, analyze the results, geotag the location of the sample on Google Maps, and even send the results to a laboratory for further review.



Women’s History Month: APG and Winnie the WAC
By Egon Hatfield RDECOM Histor y Of fice ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Although the A xis Powers were handed major defeats at Midway in June 1942, Stalingrad in Februar y 1943 and Tunisia May 1943, World War II continued to rage during the summer of 1943. In order to free up more combat troops for the world-wide conflict, the Army of fered American women an oppor tunity to fill non-combat positions. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a public law establishing the Women’s Army Corps, known as WAC, July 1, 1943. Members of the WAC received the same pay, allowances, benefits and privileges as male soldiers, and were subject to the same disciplinar y code. WACs arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the same year. Some women held culturally traditional positions such as clerks and nurses. Mechanically-inclined women worked on vehicles and test-fired small arms. Women with mathematical abilities plotted azimuths and computed firing ranges. However, the most famous WAC was on paper. The car toon character Winnie the WAC was born at Aberdeen Proving Ground in late 1943. Her creator, Cpl. Vic Herman, then in basic training at APG, was a car toonist / illustrator before the war. He was famous for creating Elsie the Cow for the Borden Company as one of his projects. The editor of APG’s camp newspaper, The Flaming Bomb, inter viewed Herman and persuaded him to produce a car toon for the weekly paper. Herman wanted a WAC to be the subject of the car toon series. Herman chose Pfc. Althea Semanchik from Dur yea, Penn., as his model. Semanchik was assigned to the instrument section of the fuze chronograph depar tment, working as a “computer.” The car toon became so popular that the Army’s syndicated Camp Newspaper Ser vice soon chose Winnie the WAC to run in its 1,200 member papers. Winnie the WAC and Herman shot to international fame in 1945. The USO Aberdeen conducted an annual popularity contest named Ordnance Joe. A gag vote for Winnie the WAC resulted in the car toon character sweeping the

Left: Women contributed significantly to mission accomplishment during World War II. Above: The idea of women in military uniform was softened by the popularity of a newspaper cartoon depicting female soldiers. (U.S. Army photos)

contest with the help of the WACs. The prize for the contest was a threeday pass to New York City. The USO decided to send Semanchik and Herman. The trip to NYC hit the pages of Life magazine, Yank and The Stars and Stripes. The two winners met NYC Mayor LaGuardia and movie actor Dick Powell. They visited The Stork Club, appeared at The Stage Door Canteen and saw several Broadway shows. They also suppor ted a WAC recruiting drive. But the culmination for them was a modeling session for the countr y’s leading car toonists at the Pen and Pencil Club. The now-famous Althea Semanchik returned to APG and continued to ser ve until her discharge on Jan. 17, 1946. Many veterans felt the car toon provided lots of laughs during the war, but it also accomplished the goal of helping Americans get used to the idea of women ser ving in the militar y. RELATED LINKS ECBC:

Pfc. Althea Semanchik from Duryea, Penn., became the model for the famous cartoon character Winnie.


MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9

College student scores publication in major journal, thanks to summer work at Army Research Laboratory
ARL Public Affairs ADELPHI, Md. — University of Florida Junior Thomas Underwood was published in the February 26 edition of the Journal of Applied Physics, a major accomplish ment for any post-doctoral researcher yet achieved by an undergraduate student. His paper, “Physics Based Lumped Element Circuit Model for Nanosecond Pulsed Dielectric Barrier Discharges,” was accepted into the journal is based on the theoretical developments of the model that Thomas worked on while he worked at ARL. “I was fortunate enough to be Thomas’ mentor during his internship in 2011 in which we worked on this topic,” said Dr. Bryan Glaz, ARL research aerospace engineer. “Thomas was very enthusiastic about his work. Even though he was an undergraduate student, he demonstrated the ability to independently conduct Ph.D. level research.” Underwood said his college research mentor encouraged him to apply for a summer position here, where he said he gained the most in “learning about the research process. My mentor for the summer in addition to the other research engineers that I came into contact within the Vehicle Technology Directorate were extremely supportive and instrumental in assisting me throughout the summer. Overall the summer program at ARL taught and guided me through the entire research process from developing a new idea to writing and presenting it,” said Underwood. At ARL, he worked to establish a circuit method for approximating the physics of plasma actuators. “Existing models relied on complicated discretization schemes that when coupled with a computational flow solver, often take months to converge to a solution. Obviously in the design process, such a simulation is highly impractical,” said Underwood, who is scheduled to graduate in 2014 with a double major of nuclear engineering and physics and a minor in mathematics. “Plasma actuators are of interest at ARL as they have shown potential for improved control over aerodynamic performance which could enable Army air vehicles, such as rotorcraft, with next-generation capabilities. The inherent advantages of plasma actuator flow control devices include: fast response time, surface compliance, lack of moving parts, inexpensiveness, and lightweight.” The purpose of Underwood’s work, Glaz said, was related to the study of a new aerodynamic flow control. “Our interest in these new directions in plasma based aerodynamic flow control is due to the potential for these approaches to lead to Army air platforms, such as rotorcraft, with next-generation aerodynamic performance. In the context of rotorcraft, effective aerodynamic flow control could result in leapahead payload and speed capabilities. In order to properly study these new flow control approaches, we need to develop computer models for simulation. However the plasma based approach that I had Thomas working on was a very new development in the research community and no one had yet developed a numerical model of the plasma that could be coupled with aerodynamics computer codes.” Another important goal of Thomas’ model was that it needed to run very quickly, otherwise the coupled plasma/aerodynamics simulations would take far too long to run, Glaz said. The journal’s peer reviewers “all commented that the model described in Thomas’ paper is the first approach to address these issues. So there was a limited body of previous research for Thomas to build on when he began his summer internship. As a result, Thomas was required to develop the theoretical basis for his model with almost no point of reference. I was extremely impressed with his ability to independently and creatively approach solutions to complicated new research problems which no one has yet addressed. The complexity of the problem Thomas addressed as an undergraduate summer intern here at ARL, as well as the quality of his work, is consistent with the initial portions of a Ph.D. thesis.” Underwood is currently applying to graduate school, with his toward a doctorate degree in applied plasma physics or biological physics. “Throughout the time spent in a doctoral program, I hope to push the boundaries of thought within the field of physics while still refining my academic abilities and striving for excellence. Ideally, all of the research and time spent in academia will lead me to obtain a tenure-track faculty position in either the Department of Physics or Mechanical Engineering at a university. I feel that no other career choice could fulfill my lifelong passion of inquiry better than being a professor,” said the native of the rural Sebring, Fla. RELATED LINKS Online:

Thomas Underwood was selected as the Army Research Laboratory, Vehicle Technology Directorate’s top undergraduate intern in 2011. (U.S. Army photos)

After returning to the University of Florida, he cleaned up some of the numerical algorithms in his work leaving it suitable for submission to a distinguished journal.

between the students, engineers and Soldiers … It was an event that I’ve never seen in my 26 years [in the service], and I hope it continues.” Any program dealing with technology can ultimately be traced back to the good of the Soldier. This is no exception. “It’s always good to have the end users of whatever we’re trying to develop involved in the planning process. That way, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel later,” Crow said. “If you bring in Soldier feedback up front rather than bringing them in at the end, well, they’re going to think you’re working toward their benefit, and, at the same time, they identify all those little things that may not work in the end product because they’re the guys who ultimately will have to use it.” Crow believes his crew of warrant officers participants will also benefit as they teach Soldiers at Fort Lee. “They’ve seen more perspectives here than they’ve had the opportunity to in the past. The creativity that just spurred from this kind of environment, I think they’ll be able to take that back and pull some of that out in their own teachings.” Roney added, “For the students, it’s been a great experience because you get to talk one-on-one with firsthand users of things. The information isn’t filtered, which is great. The combination of students, engineers and chiefs — the active duty folks — has been real valuable.” Engineers who deal with information in other ways than drawing benefit from using design artists, Roney said. “The ability to be able to put their ideas into a picture, right away, in a simple form, I think is always kind of a magical and really beneficial thing that happens, because it levels the playing field. Not everybody can draw, but in this case it doesn’t matter because everybody’s input is being put into the drawings. It gives equal weight to everybody’s ideas, which is really important.” For the people who can’t draw, Roney said, “It makes them feel more a part of it and to quickly see their idea in some kind of drawing format, helps them out. It helps them visualize things easier.” STUDENT LEARN ABOUT CAUSE AND EFFECT CCS students — who gave up three days of their holiday break to participate — impressed the warrant officers. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Wills said, “Their ability to take what’s in their minds and draw it to a piece of paper as fast as they can amazes me,” he said. Students found it interesting to have direct contact with end users as often they design with less of this “up-front” information than they would like. CCS student Alex Langensiepen said, “We usually don’t get a whole lot of one-onone interaction with the people that we are designing for. To get a chance to actually talk to the guys who are using this stuff is really helpful as far as the design process goes.” “We often just have to use our imaginations and try to think of all the situations,” Langensiepen said. “It’s better with the guys up front telling you this isn’t going to work or this will work.” The students also benefitted from having the chance to climb in and on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and a Stryker Armored Combat Vehicle. Recent CCS graduate Toufong Lo said, “Coming here, you get a chance to talk to everybody and see the pieces, which is very important for us. In the studio, we don’t get to see anything, it’s all in your mind and you’re just trying to project it on paper. In here, there are a lot of things involved. When it comes to solutions is when it hits you. You can do this. You can do that. It’s a great experience.” Being able to see the vehicles up close gave students a different perspective as they realized the cause and effect of adding new technology to vehicles that already have cramped quarters. “Usually, it’s easy to kind of design when it is open-ended, but a lot of creativity comes out when there are a lot of restrictions. When it is really restrictive and you don’t have a lot of space, you can find a lot of of creative solutions like we have now,” Langensiepen said. Lo added, “You just don’t realize how hard it is because when you see the object, the vehicle, it’s like a different perspective. You just open your mindset. As a student, the first two years, you’re close minded. When you get outside, it’s like another dimension that you have to adjust yourself to. There are a lot of issues that we looked over, and we just never understood until now,” Lo said. Roney and his students enjoyed taking part in something that could help improve Soldier safety down the road. “It gives a chance for everyday folks like myself and the students to contribute in a very direct way, which I think is nice.” RELATED LINKS Online:

thing that was curious about the munitions, Schwarz said. They were home to an increased population of Hawaiian Brisingid sea stars that made the deteriorating munitions a natural habitat. During HUMMA, a few sea stars were collected and sent to Smithsonian scientists to study. CBARR was first brought onto the research team as chemical experts in 2009; two years after the HUMMA project began. The research effort is funded by the U.S. Army and led by the University of Hawaii to investigate the environmental impact of the sea dumped munitions on the surrounding environment. During that time, prime contractor, Environet, and the University of Hawaii mapped the ocean floor and used the Pisces submersible to collect samples within 10 feet of munitions. “The Army considers this research effort extremely important to both helping close data gaps in DOD’s understanding of the effects of chemical munitions in the ocean environment and helping validate and improve upon procedures developed for investigating sea disposal sites, particularly those in deep water,” said Hershell Wolfe, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, in a November press release. Wolfe recognized Schwarz and the CBARR team in a letter of appreciation dated Jan. 10, 2013, citing “a selfless willingness to duty by working nearly around the clock in support of HUMMA’s demanding mission goals.” University of Hawaii Principal Investigator Margo Edwards, Ph.D., shared a similar sentiment for CBARR’s efforts. In a press release, she stated, “UH’s partnership with the U.S. Army and Environet significantly increased Hawaii’s and the world’s understanding of seadisposed munitions: how they were disposed in the past and how they have deteriorated right up to the present time. The forthcoming field program will hopefully allow us to expand our understanding of the potential environmental impact of munitions that may contain chemical agent, and develop methods for monitoring and modeling future deterioration.” The Army and University of Hawaii are finalizing the research report for their latest mission. The next phase of the project will evaluate performance differences between human-occupied submersibles and remotely operated vehicles, and also test new sensors and instruments that will improve the visual mapping and sampling of the munitions. RELATED LINKS ECBC:

FINDING A PROPER MASK FIT Currently fielded mask styles, including the M40 series and M45, are designed to fit 95 percent of head sizes. Newer masks, in cluding the Joint Service General Purpose Mask (M50) and M53 series, are designed to fit 98 percent. The program, which is part of ECBC’s Protection Engineering Division, fit 100 peo ple in 2011 and has fit 38 in 2012 as of Aug. 23. Most requests come from the Army’s chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological defense school at Fort Dix, N.J., and chemi cal school at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army uses the M45 as the hard-to-fit mask solution, Learn said. It comes in four mask sizes and five nose-cup sizes, which are interchangeable. Most other standard-issue masks have only three sizes with a fixed nosecup. Interchangeable nosecups allow for a more custom fit. The Hard-to-Fit Program does not re design a new mask for those who do not fit in the standard version. The group alters a mask to fit a person’s face by mixing and matching parts. “If someone decides they need a hardto-fit mask, they will contact us and tell us what mask they were best able to achieve a fit with, although they couldn’t get a passing fit,” Learn said. “That gives us a good idea about what size they would be in the M45. Sometimes they are extremely hard-to-fit, and they will travel to ECBC’s mask issue, where I will meet them and work with the fitting facility to make sure they can achieve a proper fit.” The program began in the late 1970s, when engineers would make someone a custom mask, which had significantly higher costs as well as time. SERVICE FOR SOLDIERS’ EQUIPMENT NEEDS Learn said an important part of her work is to communicate with users and provide solu tions to their issues and questions regarding chemical, biological, and radiological protec tive equipment. Her group works in the sus tainment part of the equipment life cycle and is responsible for managing the items after they have been fielded. Servicemembers can request parts information and make recommendations to the engineers for improving equipment. The Protection Engineering Division also per forms extensive testing of par ts to ensure products fulfill user needs and

MARCH 2013 – ISSUE NO. 9
expectations, she said. “Our masks are designed to protect against all chemical and biological agents that are currently a threat. We do a lot of agent testing here at Edgewood with other branches,” Learn said. “We supply the canister, and we give them a test plan with what agents and challenges they need to test against to make sure our materials are up to par.” PROTECTION FOR GROUND VEHICLES In addition to her role with the Protection Engineering Division, Learn began working a few months ago with the Program Manager of Ground Mobile Platform CBRN Survivability. The organization provides CBRN survivability expertise for all major Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ground-vehicle programs to allow them to meet the CBRN survivability mission requirements. For the service’s ground vehicles, the in corporation of CBRN sensors, CBRN filtra tion systems, CBRN individual protection and decontamination systems need to be ad dressed. “We make sure that if there’s a CBRN need in the vehicle, they know what kind of equip ment is available for them,” she said. “We give them lots of information -- the weight of products, the function of products, and where to order to them. We are the CBRN point of contact between the joint program managers within the JPEO-CBD for all ground mobile systems. “We provide a set of tailored services to a major defense acquisition program at all stages of development.” Learn said this new role will expand her fo cus and allow her to learn about all aspects of CBRN protection. ‘I’VE BROUGHT IT TO THE FOREFRONT’ Learn, who earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2004, said her greatest success as an Army engineer is revitalizing the Hard-to-Fit Program. Her involvement in the process has brought greater organization, ease of use, and quicker service, said Jim Church, Learn’s su pervisor and branch chief of the Joint Service Physical Protection Engineering Branch. “[The program] existed before I got here, but I feel like I’ve brought it to the forefront. I’ve produced articles on the program and tried to tighten the circles to make sure everybody understands what the program can do for them,” she said. RELATED LINKS

“Not being able to get your hands on the right fitting mask could be a career ender for some,” said Edgewood Chemical Biological Center engineer Cindy Learn. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

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