Fort Belvior, Va –
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) provides Soldiers with a single platform to fight, rehearse and train through a mixed-reality heads up display and a day/night goggle. It gives the close combat force advanced capabilities through digital low light and thermal sensors, targeting, situational awareness, 3D navigation, augmented reality, squad immersive training and cloud computing at the tactical edge.
The military personnel, civilians and contractors of Product Manager IVAS, a directorate of Project Manager Soldier Warrior within PEO Soldier, have spent the last five years designing, developing, producing, testing, and finally fielding these systems for the Army.
Daniel Hosek, civilian lead, IVAS Futures and Development, has been integral to IVAS’ progression. In his current position he ensures technology is developed and matured before it becomes incorporated into IVAS. This involves a continuous process of refining and troubleshooting based on Soldier feedback from touchpoints and tests.
Hosek’s subject matter expertise derives from decades of experience working on the Army’s night vision and low-light devices and sensors. In 1989, the Army Night Vision Lab hired Hosek shortly after he earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt. The Bowling Green, KY native had previously double majored in physics and math at Western Kentucky University.
Earlier programs on which Hosek worked include image intensifier tubes, the AN/PVS-7 night vision device and the Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS). In the early 2000s, most of the Army’s existing night vision programs were folded into the newly-stood up PEO Soldier. Since then, Hosek helped develop the AN/PVS-14 night vision device and the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG), the first fielded Army night vision device to incorporate an uncooled thermal channel. Hosek began working on digital low light sensors in the early 2000’s, eventually shepherding the Electron Bombarded Active Pixel Sensor technology into a night vision system that was fielded on all Apache helicopters prior to 2020.
Since starting work on the IVAS program in 2018, Hosek has seen the system evolve from the design phase to prototyping and production to fielding.
Hosek was pleased with the initial IVAS 1.2 User Assessment in August at Fort Drum, NY, during which Soldiers utilized IVAS 1.2 for the first time in several different scenarios. IVAS 1.2 builds on previous versions of IVAS (1.0 and 1.1) and features more reliable software, a higher-performing low-light sensor, and an improved form factor that increases Soldier comfort.
“We are definitely heading in the right direction and the recent changes are good,” said Hosek.
Hosek noted that getting Soldier buy-in is as crucial as proving that the technology works.
“I think we're really doing a good job of answering Soldier sentiment, which is extremely important,” he said. “You can have the best technology in the world, but if Soldiers do not want to use it, then it's not going to do anybody any good.”
Hosek credits PEO Soldier with fostering a productive work environment.
“The problem set is challenging, but what I enjoy most about it is really the people. Their dedication to the Soldier is apparent every day,” he said. “They know how to focus and solve problems, but they also know how to cut loose, have fun, and take care of each other. The people are what I will miss most when I check out.”
Hosek will retire from the Army in early 2024. He plans to continue pursuing two of his passions – golf and music.
As a “skilled amateur” golfer who plays with a current handicap of 0.8, Hosek has been a regular in Virginia and regional golf tournaments, winning a number of them over the years, including a Virginia State Mid-Amateur Championship and a Kenridge Invitational title. Hosek also considers himself lucky to have qualified for three USGA national championships, two US Public Links Championships and one US Mid-Amateur Championship. While playing for serious titles is enjoyable, Hosek also loves just getting out on the links with friends for fun, or for any work event.
If you are in the northern Virginia area and are a fan of 1970s rock through the alternative rock of today, you might find Hosek’s cover band, Vaguely Familiar, worth checking out, although they have just begun playing out. Hosek sings and plays guitar and some limited keyboard for the group.
Hosek also plans to spend more time with family, most notably his wife Cathy, daughters Emma and Maggie, and sons Dean and Alex. He is also planning on doing some volunteering, which Cathy, as a community advocate, will be more than happy to guide.
Leaders throughout PEO Soldier and the Army greatly appreciate Hosek’s service to the force.
“For over 35 years, Dan has selflessly served Soldiers and our Army. His contributions to the warfighting effort have undoubtedly saved lives on the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Denny Dresch, Product Manager IVAS. “We’re all incredibly proud to have served with him and can’t wait to watch his golf game in the months to come.”