Australia’s chief defense scientist met with U.S. Army leaders Jan. 27, to explore opportunities for research and development partnerships.
The U.S. Army’s engagement with foreign partners in fostering science and engineering is essential to ensuring that soldiers, as well as American allies, have access to the world’s best technology, said Dale A. Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM.
“We are trying to expand our international outreach,” Ormond said. “Seventy percent of the money spent worldwide on science and technology is outside the U.S.
“There are great scientists and engineers everywhere. [It's important to] go find out who they are and work with them.”
Dr. Alex Zelinsky, Australia’s chief defense scientist, and his staff members traveled to Aberdeen Proving Ground, or APG, to discuss current and future mutual areas of interest with RDECOM. He leads the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation, or DSTO, with 2,500 employees who perform research and engineering for the country’s army, air force and navy.
“We have collaborated quite closely with the U.S. Part of Australia’s way of doing business with the U.S. is we always try to develop a niche capability, which we are very good at, so we have something to bring to the table as a partner,” Zelinsky said.
Subject-matter experts from two of RDECOM’s research and engineering centers at APG – the Army Research Laboratory and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC – described their efforts in areas such as intelligent autonomous systems, the role of materials in vehicle and Soldier protection, human research and engineering, and information electronic protection.
The directors of ARL and CERDEC, Dr. Thomas Russell and Jill Smith, respectively, presented briefings that included their organizations’ collaborations with the Australian DSTO.
ARL has partnered with Australians in armor and penetration mechanics, Soldier-portable improvised explosive device, or IED, detection systems, and electronic warfare vulnerability analysis. The lab also provides research grants to Australian universities, and its employees have participated in the U.S. Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program with Australia.
CERDEC’s collobarations include solar solutions for soldier nano-grids, night vision and electro optics, and counter-IED research.
The Australians continued their tour of RDECOM with a visit to CERDEC’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, at Fort Belvoir, Va., Tuesday.
RDECOM’s Forward Element Commands in Japan, England and Chile partner with foreign universities, militaries and industry to foster science and technology solutions. Functioning under the RFECs, the International Technology Centers, including one in Australia, promote cooperation between RDECOM and international researchers to advance capabilities relevant to the U.S. Army mission.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness – technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment – to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.