After visiting the Army Research Laboratory, I thought it would be great to let you know about the organization’s contributions to the total force. While speaking at a town hall, I challenged the ARL senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. Keith Taylor, to get more of the force involved in their work, to learn from the force and select Soldiers for an assignment in their organization. An assignment on this team will teach you how the Army runs, how a piece of equipment gets into Soldiers’ hands, and allow you to provide valuable insight to the members of ARL as they look to the future.
So here’s a blog post from him to let you know about this unique organization in our Army. – Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command senior enlisted leader
Today’s frenetic pace of technological change accelerates demand for new and better military equipment and Soldier protection to ensure continued overmatch. The next technological advantage for the U.S. will come not from afar, but from within the Army itself. Innovation focused on the needs of the warfighter thrives at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
As an element of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which is led by Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, ADL’s diverse team of 22 Soldiers and more than 2,500 scientists, engineers and technologists create the Army’s building blocks of basic and applied research. The contributions of the lab undergird the protection of America’s Soldiers, the defense of our citizens, our technical superiority as a global leader and standard-setter, and our military dominance. ARL is celebrating its 25th year this year as “the nation’s premier laboratory for land forces,” as its slogan says. Headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland, ARL was formed in 1992 by the merger of eight Army laboratories.
Under the leadership of Director Dr. Philip Perconti and myself, ARL provides the raw materials of basic research to discover, innovate and transition science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. To enable the Army to pursue its Army Warfighting Concept, ARL focuses on nine essential research areas: discovery, artificial intelligence and machine learning, tactical unit energy independence, distributed and cooperative engagements in contested environments, science for manufacturing at the point of need, accelerated learning for a ready and responsive force, manipulating physics of failure for robust performance of materials, human agent teaming, and cyber and electromagnetic technologies for complex environments.
Near-term ARL research has led to innovation in armor survivability, improvised explosive device countermeasures, threat detection and the ballistic helmet and ground sensors. ARL immediate contributions to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom include the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Armor Weight Reduction Spiral Program. This enabled the Army to directly meet MRAP program protection requirements for a high priority, anti-armor, improvised explosive device threat. The program’s goal was to introduce lightweight composites, new materials and enhanced ballistic mechanisms to reduce the add-on weight of final armor packages. The resulting composites were applied to individual platforms to maximize the vehicle and increase Soldier survivability.
ARL organizes its work into eight technical work science and technology campaigns that address an expanse of issues: human sciences, information sciences, and sciences for maneuver, sciences for lethality and protection, materials research, computational sciences, assessment and analysis, and extramural basic research. ARL’s diverse assortment of facilities and its workforce of government engineers and scientists comprise the largest source of world-class integrated research and analysis in the Army.
The military workforce encompasses a wide array of operational experiences. It is comprised of Signal, Infantry, Ordnance, Field Artillery, Armor, Military Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Aviation professionals. They utilize their operational experiences to translate Soldiers’ needs and operational requirements to the civilian workforce. They use this broadening assignment to impact the Future Soldier force. I habitually remind the scientists “The projects you research warriors are conducting are saving Soldiers lives daily.”
ARL has consistently provided the enabling technologies for many of the Army’s most important weapons systems. Technology and analysis products are moved into the Army’s research, development and engineering centers and to other Army, Department of Defense, government and industry customers. ARL’s programs enable the transformation of the Army into a more versatile, agile, survivable, lethal, deployable and sustainable force. To equip the force of the future, the Army need look no further than within its own ranks, to the able men and women at ARL.
Pictured above: Dr. Grace Metcalfe, researcher at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Adelphi Laboratory Center in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, is part of the team that has developed and successfully tested new ways of generating THz emissions.