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Army news service (Dec. 16, 2004): Army, industry, academia collaboration brings new technology.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Alliances are as important in developing new technology as they are in sustaining positive diplomacy, an Army researcher said.

The Collaborative Technology Alliances sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory were on display to highlight the importance of cooperation in creating the soldier of the future at the Army Science Conference.

"The CTAs represent an excellent business model for leveraging the investments and talents of others in collaboration with Army scientists and engineers while increasing the likelihood that cutting-edge technology gets into the hands of our soldiers," said Dr. John Parmentola, Army director for research and laboratory management.

The five CTAs bring together Army, academic, and industry experts to accelerate the creation of new technology that is vital to the future force. By investing more than $180 million between 2001 and 2006, the Army hopes to spur the development of robots, energy sources, sensors, decision architectures, and communication networks that will make the fighting force more effective.

Through partnerships, the Army expects to achieve the best results by taking advantage of the practicality of industry, the frontiers of research and technology through universities, and the ability of Army Research Laboratory to shape and transition the results for Army application.

"Each researcher is brilliant in his or her own right, but together the brilliance increases exponentially; it's a force multiplier," said Ginny Fite of General Dynamics Robotics, one of the collaborators in the Robotics CTA.

Each CTA has members from Army Research Laboratory, an industry lead, and members from academia, small businesses, and historically black colleges or other minority institutions.

"We are equal partners in a consortium--military, industry, and education," said Susan Archer of Micro Analysis & Design, an industry member of the Advanced Decision Architectures CTA.

The Advanced Decision Architectures CTA focuses on understanding human behavior and adapting technology to conform to function most compatibly with human instincts, essentially creating technology that helps soldiers make better decisions.

"There is so much information and technology out there," Archer said. "We help the soldier pull a needle out of the information haystack."

The other four teams are the Power & Energy CTA, which seeks to increase the efficiency, mobility, and survivability of power generators used on the battlefield; the Communications & Networks CTA, which seeks to develop more secure, mobile, and lightweight modes of communicating on the battlefield; the Advanced Sensors CTA, which develops sensors that increase situational awareness; and the Robotics CTA, which is designing robot technology for unmanned missions that can keep soldiers out of dangerous situations.

Military, industry, and academia all have different things to offer, and all help the others in their mission, members of CTAs said. For example, academia receives concrete direction about the needs of the Army through direct communication with Army officials, so researchers are able to focus on practical military needs, said Dr. Stuart Jacobson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is a member of the Power & Energy CTA.

Industry then provides an outlet for manufacturing the new technologies developed on campus, he said.

Jacobson is designing a battery that uses internal combustion to make energy, allowing batteries to last four times longer.

A provision of the Collaborative Technology Alliances program allows the Army Research Laboratory to withhold up to 10 percent of the annual funding amount to fund parties external to the Collaborative Technology Alliances program for innovative research. Inquiries should be made to the collaborative alliance manager.

For more information about CTAs, visit <www.arl.army.mil/alliances>.
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Title Annotation:Conferences, Workshops & Symposia
Author:Field, Steven
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:577
Previous Article:Subject: Update on Transition to the Federal Procurement Data System--Next Generation (FPDS-NG).
Next Article:Army news service (Dec. 16, 2004): Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, e-Business Conference (May 23-26, 2005).
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