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Notes from the "Ground Day" (4 November) of the AUVSI's Annual Program Review

Speaking at the AUVSI's Annual Program Review on Tuesday, 4 November, Major General Robert (Bo) Dyess, the Army's Director of Force Development (G8) related that:

-- The Army's budget situation is not as dire as it was two years ago, but the Service must (still) chose between force structure sustainment, modernization, and training.

-- Army Science & Technology (S&T) budgets have been protected in budget priorities, whereas other investment accounts have declined.

-- The Army is currently in review of the program budget request for FY16 and is about to commence the POM build for FY17-21.

-- The Army's new Operating Concept identifies affordable interoperate autonomous and semiautomous systems as key emerging technologies. 

-- The Army is taking concrete steps to move unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) programs, including the Common Robotic System - Individual (CRS-I), which will provide a small UGV at half the weight and half the cost of the cancelled SUGV, into formal programs of record.

-- The Army is a "technology taker" -- rather than a "technology maker" in the UGV arena, i.e., the Army will look to industry for solutions, rather than develop them.

Christopher O’Donnell, Staff Specialist for the Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise (JGRE) in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, dicussed the JGRE's efforts to increase interoperability protocols, develop test capabilities and modify modeling and simulation programs to support the development of the next generation of Department of Defense (DoD) unmanned ground systems.  He noted that the JGRE has shifted its focus from being a transition mechanism for Science and Technology (S&T) efforts to actually coordinating unmanned ground systems efforts across the DoD.  This coordination includes partnering and leveraging work being done in the Air and Maritime domains.

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