Distinguished Visitor (DV) Day for the U.S Army’s new Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) took place on Wednesday, November 6, in Fort Pickett. Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Dr. Bruce Jette, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord, and other VIP guests were welcomed by the diverse team of program developers and testers from Program Manager Integrated Visual Augmentation System (PM IVAS), as they displayed the strides they’ve made since the initial Soldier Touchpoint this past March.
Army Futures Command (AFC) Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team (SL CFT) in partnership with PEO Soldier has leveraged industry to create a multifaceted platform for Soldiers to fight, rehearse, and train at the highest levels. The IVAS capability set is designed to not only unify the current wearable weapon technologies on a Soldier, but will also be able to monitor individual diagnostics, performance, and location. The data will then be integrated into a squad level platform to ultimately increase Soldiers’ situational awareness and overall lethality.
Jason Regnier, Technical Director for PEO Soldier Project Manager IVAS emphasized the strategic need for the Army’s future technology modernization efforts.
“The major aspects of the IVAS technology are to see, shoot, and fight in the dark, be able to communicate, and have situational awareness that will give our Soldiers an unfair combat advantage at all times. The enemy is beginning to increase their capability and we are losing our advantage. They’ve got armor, they’ve got weapons, and they’ve got night vision technology. Our only chance is to outplay them with technology.”
The major aspects of the IVAS technology are to see, shoot, and fight in the dark
In order to ensure and maintain consistent combat advantage, the Army has assembled a team of military, civilian, and industry professionals with the explicit goal of adapting state-of-the-art technology to the specific needs of the warfighter. The Soldier Touchpoint development style is a product of the Soldier-Centered Design, the driving force behind Army Futures Command (AFC), Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team (SL CFT), and Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier’s collaborative cutting-edge modernizations. Intentional warfighter feedback is critical to staying on track to making realistic and impactful developments in the Army’s current technology that will work to outmatch all adversaries. These technologies are being developed specifically for the warfighter, so it is imperative to collect feedback from Soldiers and units throughout a variety of forward deployed specialties to ensure that the solider as a system can perform most effectively.
Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson explains, “That's why these touch points are so very important, something that is really revolutionary that we've not done before. Before this concept Soldiers would have to adapt to new equipment developed by engineers, most with no military background, but now we are making the weapon system adapt to the Soldier.”
The fielding timeline of this new weapon system has been a hot topic at Soldier Touchpoints. The IVAS team understands that their goals require constantly pushing the boundaries by modifying old processes to develop new and relevant technology. Through these efforts, the IVAS program has intentionally leveraged nontraditional funding and condensed the traditional DoD acquisition cycle to field the equipment faster than ever before. The expedited timeline is a feat unique to IVAS and one other major equipment development, the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B). The acquisition cycle was highlighted by Army Vice Chief of Staff General Joseph Martin on DV Day.
“The difference is that on average it took about seven years until we could field a piece of equipment. By utilizing this approach we now see fielding equipment just under three years. That’s so important because the speed in which technology evolves has changed over time. If we're not careful and we're not aggressive in the way that we iteratively develop capabilities to meet requirements, by the time we get something fielded the technology that surrounds that capability will already be obsolete.”
He goes on to emphasis the importance of using these processes and implementing Soldier feedback early, so that we can have a capability sooner than expected with most up to date a leading technology.
PEO Soldier’s IVAS program has made exponential strides since the first STP this past March. Martin and other US government leadership traveled to Fort Pickett for a short visit to visualize the progress of the current IVAS capability set.
PM IVAS is committed to ensuring the feedback that comes out of the upcoming second Soldier Touchpoint continues to develop and enhance new capabilities to better equip our future warfighter.