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TARDEC Robots Boss Goes to Washington

POSTED 11/06/2009

ROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI - An emerging military opportunity in Washington D.C. will allow the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, MI, to set the robotic vehicle strategy for the country. 

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OSD) for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics has tapped the expertise of TARDEC’s Joint Center for Robotics (JCR) Director Dr. Jim Overholt to help set the 2010 agenda for the Pentagon-based organization. Overholt began the six-month developmental assignment Nov. 2 as the Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise (JGRE) Director within the Office of Land Warfare and Munitions Portfolio Systems Acquisition Directorate.

“This selection is a great honor for Dr. Overholt and TARDEC,” explained TARDEC Director Dr. Grace M. Bochenek. “Dr. Overholt will be overseeing some of the country’s most cutting-edge, collaborative robotics technologies and bringing them back to TARDEC when he returns. This assignment speaks volumes about the caliber of TARDEC’s personnel and will ultimately infuse the organization with new ideas and processes for fielding robots.” 

Overholt’s assignment will allow the directorate to maintain continuity, since he served as the Army’s JGRE representative since November 2007. Overholt will continue overseeing TARDEC Robotics strategic planning and the Multi-Autonomous Ground Robotics International Challenge 2010 with the Australian Department of Defence during his assignment. JCR Deputy Director Dr. Greg Hudas will run daily activities.

The next six months are a busy time for the JGRE. Overholt will oversee the fiscal 2009 year-end reviews, fiscal 2010 mid-year reviews, kick off the fiscal 2011 advisory board, launch a robotics range-clearing competition and oversee the main JGRE robotics conference sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association.
“Robotics has a significant interest at the OSD level,” Overholt explained. “I’ll be working from an office that has people highly engaged with unmanned aerial vehicles as well as unmanned underwater vehicles and surface craft as well. That kind of collaborating opportunity is really going to be very valuable,” he concluded.

Headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI, TARDEC is the Nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and serves as the Ground Systems Integrator for all Department of Defense (DOD) manned and unmanned ground vehicle systems.  With roots dating back to the World War II era, TARDEC is a full life-cycle, systems engineering support provider-of-first-choice for all DOD ground combat and combat support weapons, equipment and vehicle systems.  TARDEC develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve Current Force effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for Future Force integration. TARDEC’s technical, scientific and engineering staff lead cutting-edge research and development in Ground Systems Survivability; Power and Mobility; Intelligent Ground Systems; Force Projection; and Vehicle Electronics and Architecture.