Prominent speakers from government, military, industry and academia talked about the future of the science and technology enterprise operating in a new defense environment during the fifth annual Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS). Here's a collection of their remarks about the ground vehicle community's future challenges and strategies:
"We are trying to change the way we do business so we focus on objectives, outcomes and capability sets. Value streams are really how we see TARDEC being a value to the Army. Through that, we came up with our lines of effort and those are not organizationally aligned, they are outcome oriented and aligned so we are forcing ourselves to work across our organization to produce a capability."
–Craig Effinger, Program Manager, TARDEC's Research and Technology Integration Group
"Those whom we support trust us, and we earn that trust through hard work, visionary leadership, proving our relevance every day and by not only sharing the burden of combat, but by relieving many of those burdens by rapidly identifying problems and providing solutions."
–LTG Patricia McQuistion, Deputy Commanding General, Army Materiel Command
"All the systems you find on vehicles today are all individual boxes, all taking up space and all consuming power. The time's right to change how we develop C4ISR and Electronic Warfare systems. We are in that pause right now. How do we reduce SWAP (size, weight and power) and life-cycle cost while increasing performance and enhancing the resiliency and reliability of systems in a harsh environment? If we had to do it again, how would we develop it differently?"
–Dr. Paul Zablocky, Director of Space and Terrestrial Communications, Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC)
"I am very interested in the development of our technical staff and having the right people in our community to do the R&D work to solve problems in the future. I also want to emphasize the importance of developing not only our people with experiences, but also developing our tools and capabilities."
–Dr. David Gorsich, TARDEC Chief Scientist
"During the war, it was all speed and how fast we can get 'X' capability to the field. We did a lot of that for a good cause, but it developed a mindset that that's how you do business. We are in a different cycle now where cost is king and funding is going down. We have to shape and change how we deliver products — we have to be more efficient and show how to get more bang for the buck."
–COL William Sheehy, Project Manager, Armored Brigade Combat Team
"Because of the war [production], our portfolios are really in good shape and we have relatively young fleets. The challenge is, what technologies do we have to add to those capabilities, or what is the modernization strategy over time? The more we do what we're doing with the 30-year plan, the more I think it's absolutely the right thing to do. If we do it right, we can plan when the budget will be able to support the next generation of vehicles."
–Kevin Fahey, Program Executive Officer, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support
"The Stryker family of vehicles logged over 40 million combat miles and, while doing that, maintained an operational readiness rate of 96 percent, which is a phenomenal amount of capability we needed to stay in the fight. We focused a lot on force protection and survivability. ... We tended to think near term. The reality is we need to think longer than that and use facts and data to ensure we're able to make sound investments [for the future]. Our big thing is commonality. You think about all the different platforms and how to get common parts and components across our fleets. We have to achieve that as we make buying decisions and replace systems, and drive down life-cycle costs."
–Tom Bagwell, Deputy Program Executive Officer, PEO Ground Combat Systems