Focusing on Tomorrow, Today

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LTG Thomas H. Todd III
Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition
Systems and Chief Innovation Officer
U.S. Army Futures Command

Army Science and Technology efforts are dovetailing with force modernization in support of a Multi-Domain Operations-driven future.

By Thomas H. Todd III, Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Systems and Chief Innovation Officer, Army Futures Command

From Armor & Mobility, Fall 2022

United States Army Futures Command is responsible for force design and force development and is the capabilities developer and operational architect for the U.S. Army. Persistent discovery and innovation in science and technology (S&T) are essential to achieve this mission.  Army S&T focuses on transforming the Army of 2040 and beyond by making scientific discoveries, designing emerging capabilities, and linking S&T to the operational environment.

The Army invests in S&T to manage risk, create options, and exploit opportunities. The time horizon in view is a crucial driver of the role that S&T work can play. For efforts focused on the Army of 2030, S&T work can burn down risks and deliver near-term capability improvements. S&T lays the foundation for the discovery of future transformational capabilities that have the potential to transform the Future Operating Environment (FOE).

AFC S&T is aligned with the Army’s six modernization priorities (long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality), and we prioritize our discoveries in line with the Army’s nine priority research areas (PRAs) (disruptive energetics, RF electronic materials, quantum, hypersonic flight, artificial intelligence, autonomy, synthetic biology, material by design, and science of additive manufacturing). The realm of the possible is unlocked by expanding the known realm. PRAs focus on obtaining answers to scientific questions that could change the future of technology for the Army through a leap-ahead scientific discovery or bridge a key scientific knowledge gap that is holding back the advancement of technology. The resulting knowledge products of PRAs should shape the Army of 2040 and be a direct input to Army Senior Leaders for consideration into strategic decisions essential to enduring Army modernization.

To persistently modernize the Army through discoveries and innovations in S&T for the future, we acknowledge that our people are our most valuable resource and most significant asset. Our S&T workforce possesses broad and deep Army-unique expertise organized in competencies and borne of excellent academic preparation and extensive on-the-job experience. In addition, our workforce is empowered to collaborate within and across competencies in pursuing innovative ideas.

In addition to our internal workforce, we have strong relationships with academic and industry partners to continually engage with the knowledge, talent, and discoveries happening worldwide. We engage with academia through the Army Research Office and the University Technology Development Division. We engage with industry through the Army Applications Laboratory and our Small Business Office, in addition to the numerous partnerships within our labs and centers.

AFC S&T works closely in a bi-directional relationship with the Futures and Concepts Center to link S&T to concepts and requirements. We also work to address the gaps and opportunities identified by the operational community by developing potential offset technologies and capabilities that enable these future concepts. An essential and emerging part of our S&T execution plan includes linking S&T efforts to operational experimentation events such as Project Convergence and EDGE. These events inform technology transition, provide opportunities for industry to engage in joint operational experimentation, inform strategic investments, and provide feedback to the S&T enterprise by engaging with Army warfighting organizations and soldiers on the effectiveness of the technologies with future warfighting capabilities.

Army S&T enterprise plays a key role in AFC’s mission to assess and integrate the FOE, emerging threats, and technologies to provide warfighters with the concepts and force designs needed to dominate a future battlefield.  S&T plays a critical role in fully developing the Army of 2030 and developing a path to the Army of 2040. The combined efforts of the Army labs and centers and partnerships with universities and industry will enable persistent modernization to help ensure dominance on the battlefield.



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