Article updated December 3, 2014.
With a number of uncertainties coloring their activities, officials at the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are preparing their program objective memorandum, laying out several key projects and goals for the coming years. The leaders are calibrating efforts to align with expected congressional funding as well as with the capabilities soldiers require for mission success.
For fiscal year 2015, sequestration will not affect that budget timeline; however, fiscal year 2016 presents a different challenge, with possible large cuts to funding. The situation shadows the development of the program objective memorandum for fiscal years 2017 to 2021. Planning programs and budgets for the upcoming years involves making choices about what demands attention in an age of diminished resources and about where resources might remain viable. The autonomous systems command and control and sensing systems, or communications systems that might be on autonomous platforms, is one area of the portfolio undergoing adjustment. “That is something we’re going to have to go back and reinvestigate because there’s been an added incentive—though it’s not been finalized—through the various budgetary processes of re-emphasizing autonomous systems,” explains Robert Zanzalari, associate director, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). “That’s a business area that we think we’re going to have to try to go back into if there really is going to be a concerted effort to do more work at the platform level.”
CERDEC has nine strategic initiatives underway. They illustrate what the organization seeks to accomplish for warfighters from a science and technology perspective. They are not ranked in order of importance.