Medical Intelligent Systems Laboratory (MISL)

TATRC Gets a Front Row View at the Future of Army Warfare during Robotics Systems Workshop

April 13, 2018  |  Download PDF

TATRC's Organizational Structure graphic

Several members of Team TATRC were invited to Carlisle Barracks in PA to participate in a weeklong ‘deep dive’ into the topic of how the Army will employ robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) in a future operating environment using the Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) framework. The goal of the Future Force Design IV Seminar was to complete a set of RAS MDB concepts of operations narratives describing the operational application of RAS in the MDB battlefield framework and potential operational benefits, concept and capability implications, employment considerations, force design/organization implications and RAS system vulnerabilities. This RAS seminar was just one part of the larger Future Force Design program, whose goal is to determine how the Army operates as part of the joint force against an enemy who expands the conduct of war into multiple domains at extended distances; i.e. the MDB operating concept.

Dr. Gary Gilbert, the Capability Area Manager for TATRC’s new Autonomous and Unmanned Medical Capability/Medical Robotics Task Areas and Lab Manager of the Operational Telemedicine Lab, was accompanied by Mr. Nate Fisher, Project Manager and SME for Robotics, as well as Mr. Ron Yeaw, who is assisting in the development of TATRC’s other new Task Area portfolio in Virtual Health. The AMEDD C&S Health Readiness Center of Excellence (HRCoE) was represented at the workshop by 5 field grade officers from Fort Sam and one civilian from the Medical Evacuation Proponency Division at Fort Rucker. TATRC is working together with AMEDD C&S HRCoE in the area of exploring capabilities for medical RAS. According to Dr. Gilbert, “It was very encouraging to see the AMEDD C&S HSCoE send five officers and one civilian to this initial RAS capability needs identification effort; that level of commitment from our AMEDD combat developers clearly signals that our AMEDD leadership is seriously considering robotics and autonomous systems as potential medical force multipliers in future combat scenarios."

For Ron Yeaw, the opportunity to see how medical research fit into the perspective of the Army’s Go to War mission was fascinating. “Spending so much time at the MEDCOM level, it’s easy to lose perspective of just how much bigger the elements we are designed to support are. It was a truly humbling experience to have a periscope-up view of the big Army picture. In the big scheme of things, the medical sustainment of our Warfighters is a tiny, but incredibly important aspect.”

Nate Fisher appreciated the opportunity to work first firsthand with others from the RAS S&T community, as well as combat developers. “Discussing the implications of applying RAS technologies in the context of Multi Domain Battle with participants from a wide range of functional areas, served to highlight the importance of applying a comprehensive and integrated approach when employing RAS in the future battlefield. Medical is one of many functional areas that requires a shared understanding and visualization of the battlespace to properly utilize RAS assets,” stated Mr. Fisher.

Mr. Fisher and Mr. Yeaw were able to share their lessons learned from the Carlisle Barracks RAS workshop during a Professional Development session hosted by TATRC’s Science Director, Dr. Fran McVeigh. Mr. Yeaw stated, “COL Kral reminds us consistently that it’s critical to get out of our space and understand the perspective of the Army’s larger, and constantly evolving mission; i.e. this transition to the MDB. Blindly developing solutions without a context of the capability they are looking to fill is not effective. If you don’t understand the WHY, the HOW does not matter.”

This article was published in the April 2018 issue of the TATRC Times.