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Soldier Center looking for good ideas.

The Army Natick Soldier Center (NSC) in Massachusetts is seeking creative equipment ideas from soldiers who have served in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

In January 2004, NSC's Operational Forces Interface Group (OFIG) implemented the Soldier Innovation Initiative to capture equipment modifications made by soldiers in the field and to identify new equipment made by soldiers from materials available to them while deployed.

OFIG members visit installations to gather feedback, often targeting installations with units returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. A survey designed by OFIG psychologists prompts soldiers to submit their innovations, creative modifications, field solutions, and items newly created or improvised while deployed. Soldiers are asked not only to provide information on their ideas but also to provide digital or hard-copy photographs to enhance understanding of their ideas. Soldiers are also asked to provide contact information so that they can be reached for clarification. Project officers conduct a review to determine whether the ideas merit further study. Submitters are sometimes invited to the NSC to aid in the prototyping and evaluation process.

Some ideas that have emerged as a result of the Soldier Innovation Initiative are a map pocket sewn inside a patrol cap, a modified sling that allows the M4 carbine rifle to hang in a ready position, and a commercial earpiece for the handheld Soldier Intercom that permits better integration with the user's helmet.

OFIG continues to solicit new ideas for assessment and possible development and fielding. To submit an idea, visit the group's Web site,, and click on "NSC Innovative Idea Survey."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Army Natick Soldier Center
Publication:Army Logistician
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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