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The Department of Defense on behalf of the Norfolk-based United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) has awarded a contract to Old Dominion University to provide student and faculty research services in direct support of the USJFCOM mission areas of joint training, logistics, integration, experimentation and transformation. The ceiling of the base period of the contract is valued at up to $5.8 million, and the ceiling of the total value of the contract, if all options are exercised, is over $30.8 million.

The award will be managed through the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), an enterprise center of Old Dominion University's College of Engineering and Technology. If fully funded over the five-year period, the award will be the largest research contract in Old Dominion University's history.

The university received notification of the contract Oct. 1. Accepting the award, on behalf of the university and VMASC, Robert Ash, interim vice president of research said, "The university is pleased to continue the unique relationship with USJFCOM that began in 1997. This contract will enable the university to increase and expand its research internships, advance the state of knowledge in modeling and simulation, and continue to attract world-class faculty."

After a competitive search process, the new award for Student-Faculty Support research services will allow the university to continue and significantly expand projects conducted from January 1997 through September 2002, as part of a similar contract worth $5.3 million, where more than two dozen faculty and 150 students provided at least one semester of research support to USJFCOM.

"It comes down to USJFCOM identifying problems that require research effort," said Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, executive director of VMASC, professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of computer science, who will serve as principal investigator and contract program manager. "We put together a team of Old Dominion University faculty and students to work with them on a case-by-case basis."

U.S. Joint Forces Command is the "transformation laboratory" of the United States military that serves to enhance the Unified Commanders' capabilities to implement that strategy. USJFCOM develop concepts, tests these concepts through rigorous experimentation, educates joint leaders, trains joint forces and makes recommendations on how the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines can better integrate their warfighting capabilities. Such work must include and strengthen service efforts, draw on the best of industry and follow the will of the citizens as expressed through Congress.

Under this new contract, VMASC hopes to continue development of their academic Battle Laboratory begun under a Commonwealth Technology Research Fund grant. The goal is to develop an academic research capability closely aligned with the mission elements of USJFCOM, including a wide variety of tasks done under the previous contract: modeling and simulation; information systems, training, development of new warfighting concepts and techniques and assistance with experimentation leading to future military transformation. The new student and faculty research contract provides a foundation of available time that can be used to create research projects and internships that will benefit both the university and USJFCOM.

The first-year ceiling of up to $5.8 million carries an annual potential to provide as many as 55,000 hours of faculty research support, nearly 10,000 hours of undergraduate student research support, and almost 37,000 hours of graduate student research support.

The contract provides student and faculty teams and individuals who possess the requisite knowledge base and academic expertise to assist in supporting the highly technical areas of interoperability requirements definition, technology transition development, information technology, modeling and simulation, and other current and emergent mission-enabling technologies.

The university's role will include the conduct of technical studies related to current and emergent communications technologies; participation in USJFCOM warfighting demonstrations and human engineering, psychological, physiological and behavioral issues. Students and student-faculty teams will also be tasked to conduct research efforts related to the performance of specific weapons and sensor programs and will assist in integrating modeling, simulation, and visualization into warfighting applications.

This article was posted on: October 23, 2002

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