Fort Belvoir, VA –
Project Manager, Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting (PM SMPT), executed a relinquishment of charter ceremony on Fort Belvoir, July 14.
In his final act as Project Manager for SMPT, Col. Douglas Copeland, turned over the organizational charter to Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Soldier, signifying the disestablishment of the project management office, after more than 20 years of providing Soldiers with capabilities designed to enhance lethality, mobility and survivability.
Initially established as Product Manager Sensors and Lasers in 2002, the SMPT team developed and delivered night vision devices, thermal weapon sights, Soldier borne sensors, aiming lasers and precision targeting systems. In 2009, and commensurate with increased responsibilities due to wartime requirements, the team was converted to a Colonel-led project management office and re-designated Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers. In 2019, the team was renamed Project Manager Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting and continued to deliver critical technology to U.S. forces.
“I was incredibly lucky to get to join the team that we’re celebrating today. This PM team is filled with incredible professionals. We have military, civilians and contractors who are literally the best at their craft and experts in their field. It’s my hope that I was able to provide the team with the right resources, a steady approach and clarity-in vision and intent along the way,” said Copeland.
During his time as project manager, SMPT accomplished many things, including equipping the Army with the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular beginning just 12 months after requirement approval. Copeland thanked the SMPT team for allowing him to be part of their successes and credited them for their ability to adapt and overcome obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This team did a lot of incredible things, even despite the pandemic. It forced us to disperse and work from home, but that didn’t stop you. This team maintained a high performing and close-knit culture even while teleworking. That says something about the men and women on this team. We never missed a fielding. There’s a global shortage of subcomponents and all sorts of challenges that we had to work through, and this team made it through on its own initiative. You did it, not me. I look forward to seeing the members of this team continue to do great things for the Army,” said Copeland.
Personnel assigned to SMPT will continue to serve after re-organizing within Project Managers Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) and Soldier Lethality. Copeland will remain with PEO Soldier serving as the Assistant Program Executive Officer, Soldier.
“If you want to get a master class in watching somebody command a formation day in and day out, that’s what Doug has done from day one. This is tough work and I’m incredibly proud of him. I know the team is proud of him and there’s no doubt wherever his future takes him, people are going to be lucky to have him in their formation,” said Schneider.