The ongoing modernization initiative within the Army represents an exciting time for the workforce at Picatinny Arsenal, which is making multiple contributions as the new U.S. Army Futures Command takes shape.

That was a key message from John F. Hedderich, Director of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, during a town hall on March 26 at the Lindner Conference Center.

Army leaders have indicated that the Army Futures Command will include the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM, based at Aberdeen Providing Ground, Maryland.

Hedderich’s organization at Picatinny Arsenal reports to RDECOM, and is commonly referred to as RDECOM-ARDEC.

Many aspects of the command, including its structure and the location of its headquarters, have not yet been finalized.

“We’re still going to be doing the same work that we’ve had to do, so we have to focus on mission,” Hedderich said.

To support the new modernization initiative, the Army directed RDECOM, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, to focus on the six modernization priority areas.

Cross-Functional Teams, or CFTs, were created to address each of the six modernization priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation of Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift Platforms, Army Network, Air and Missile Defense Capabilities, and Soldier Lethality.

Hedderich explained that ARDEC is making major contributions to the CFTs.

 “I’m really excited about the next few years,” the director said. “It will really be a test for us.”

After Hedderich spoke at the ARDEC town hall, Maria Allende, Acting Chief of the Strategic Technology Investment Office, provided more detail on how ARDEC was contributing to the Cross Functional Teams.

A Nov. 7, 2017 directive from the Secretary of the Army enabling the Army Modernization Task Force served as the impetus for standing up the new Army Futures Command. It explained how the Army’s modernization strategy is focused on streamlining and accelerating the current requirements and capabilities development process.

 “On average, the Army takes from three to five years to approve requirements and another 10 years to design, build, and test new weapon systems,” the directive states.

The modernization process is intended to leverage commercial innovations, cutting-edge science and technology, prototyping and warfighter feedback to streamline and accelerate modernization efforts.