Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), has described the Army’s integrated science and technology (S&T) program as a triad: Overall management is performed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA ALT); the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) leads the development of future concepts and capabilities for Soldier requirements for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC); and AMC provides the capabilities to meet the needs of the future force: an expeditionary force, able to deploy globally and rapidly and to conduct a variety of operations in austere and forbidding locations. AMC’s laboratories and research and development centers comprise about 80 percent of the Army’s S&T capabilities.
The CTO provides AMC with a single authority for its S&T and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) operations.
To provide these cutting-edge capabilities, AMC has formed a network of more than 200 partnerships and agreements worldwide, including research partnerships with academia, small business innovative research agreements, cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with industry, and international agreements with more than two-dozen countries. AMC actively seeks insights into Soldier requirements, working in close alignment with Army Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs), labs and prototype integration facilities and AMC’s S&T advisers consult with forward R&D elements, developing battlefield-generated requirements from operations within each of the combatant commands.
In 2012, to better coordinate and manage this growing effort, AMC created the Chief Technology Office (CTO). The CTO provides AMC with a single authority for its S&T and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) operations. The new office also provides oversight for ASA ALT and other Army commands, ensuring that AMC’s S&T activities and investment strategies are aligned with Department of Defense (DOD) and Army priorities.
Via has referred to the CTO as a “synchronization agent,” overseeing research, development and integration of technologies; the office also serves as a vanguard, setting the strategic direction for a range of sophisticated products and services to the Army, joint forces and U.S. allies. Innovative technologies developed through AMC’s S&T network include every solution imaginable – and several previously unimaginable – to fulfill the future Soldier’s mission requirements: weapons systems, communications and navigation technologies, Soldier protection and mobility concepts, power supply, robotics, sensors and even foods. While varied, the solutions in this portfolio are aimed at the same goal: To increase the effectiveness, health and reliability of the Warfighter, and to maintain and extend his or her technical advantage over an adversary.
Chief Technology Officer
Patrick J. O’Neill was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in March 2011. He assumed the role of Acting Chief Technology Officer at the Army Materiel Command on Sept. 29, 2014. Previously, he was the technical director of the U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. As technical director, he was responsible for overseeing the entire Technical Program performed by approximately 325 analysts within AMSAA. Under his leadership, AMSAA conducted analyses across the Materiel Lifecycle to inform critical decisions for current and future Warfighter needs. O’Neill ensured that high quality analytic products were produced to support senior decision making in five core competency areas: materiel performance and effectiveness analysis, logistics analysis, field data collection, certified performance data development, and the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness. He was AMSAA’s senior technical representative on key technical and programmatic forums within the Army, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the national defense community.
O’Neill served as the acting director, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity from November 2012 to July 2013. As acting director, he oversaw a multi-disciplined workforce of over 325 analysts, engineers, mathematicians, and scientists that provide lifecycle materiel/ logistics systems analysis to support the Army Materiel Command and senior decision makers across the Army. In addition, he was responsible for the oversight of the DOD’s Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness and for developing/providing joint service-approved methodology, Modeling and Simulation, data and analysis for all service systems.
From March 2011 to November 2012, O’Neill served as the technical director, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity. Prior to this appointment, he served in various leadership positions as the Chief, C4ISR, Mobility, and CBRN Analysis Division; chief, Combat Support Analysis Division; chief, C4ISR/Mobility Branch; chief, Acquisition Support Analysis Branch/Reliability and Engineering Branch, Logistics Analysis Division; chief, Command and Control Section; chief, Weapon Systems Integration Section, Combat Support Division; chief, Theater Area Air Defense Section, Air Warfare Division; chief, Aircraft Systems Evaluation Branch, Air Warfare Division; chief, Air Defense Evaluation Branch, Air Warfare Division. He served on MSE SSEB at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He served as an analyst at HQDA G-4 during Operation Desert Storm. He also served as chief, Projects Division, at the Joint Program Office for Test and Evaluation, Andrews AFB.
O’Neill holds a Master of Science, National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; an MS, computer science from Johns Hopkins University; and a bachelor’s, mathematics and computer science (double major) from Loyola University. He graduated No. 1 in class, with cumulative 4.0 GPA. He was the first student ever to graduate from Loyola with a 4.0 since institution of numerical grade scoring system circa 1954.
O’Neill has published numerous AMSAA Technical Reports and presented numerous papers in national and international Operations Research and military forums.
Q&A: Patrick J. O’Neill
As AMC’s Chief Technology Officer and leader of all aspects of AMC’s S&T development, where do you see the strategic direction of AMC going in terms of cutting-edge technology?
The future will be about our ability to continuously innovate new technologies while shortening the development cycles to provide the Warfighter with faster, lighter, fuel efficient and more lethal capabilities to stay ahead of the changing threats. The challenges the Army faces, especially with the continued competition for resources, will be daunting. Our chief of staff, Gen. [Raymond T.] Odierno, characterized it well by describing that the “velocity of instability is increasing, protecting technology is very critical.” Everything about how the Army designs, develops, and executes will be critical; however, the Army has the brightest scientists and engineers in the world, and will find a way to accommodate the future operational needs of the force. It is all about the Soldier.
How will the Army’s shift out of Afghanistan affect opportunities to partner with AMC for S&T development? Are there any particular kinds of opportunities you imagine will either increase or decrease?
The Army, regardless of conflicts (like Afghanistan) must collaborate with industry and academia. We are focused on thinking collectively about the Army and AMC’s future. In addition to an operational shift, the Army is experiencing an environmental shift. We are in an environment that is being shaped by the globalization of technology, the presence of novel and adaptive adversaries, and the expansion of non-traditional missions to include disaster relief and humanitarian efforts. As we look ahead, it will be important to keep these areas in mind as new opportunities come our way.
Are there any developing/future projects you can discuss for which industry might be interested in collaborating with the Army?
Uncovering some of the most game-changing uses of technology will be critical and ongoing. Some of the key technology areas are discussed in the “Army Operating Concept.” The U.S. military must maintain its superiority and the question we have to ask ourselves is how we do this when some of the most game-changing innovations will come from the commercial sector and will be widely available to everyone. Companies with innovative technologies are encouraged to collaborate with the Army, and find events to showcase their technologies.
Can you discuss or describe some partnerships that have provided an industry benefit from Army Science?
Army scientists and engineers have throughout history provided a benefit to society. Often, technologies share common applications in both tactical and civilian applications. A prime example is the concussion detection technology, developed by the Army and the National Football League. This technology helps identify the possible risk of traumatic brain injury. 3-D printing holds significant capabilities for industry and Soldiers. Over the past many years, 3-D printing has been adopted by industry as an enabler for the next generation of products and systems. To maintain dominance in light of a future of unknown and often rapid changes, the Army must posture itself to proactively innovate; to efficiently identify technologies; to develop solutions; and to deliver capabilities to the Force. 3-D printing is a great example of those efforts, and it offers incredible potential.