October 11, 2021

 

For many reasons, Ross Guieb is determined that The Texas A&M University System’s George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) achieves its mission. An innovation hub like no other in the country, the BCDC promises to be good for the nation, the state and the university. But maybe most importantly for him, it promises to be good for his family.

Guieb, who recently retired as a colonel with the Army Futures Command to become executive director of the BCDC, has twin sons in the Corps of Cadets who will commission in two years. The work conducted at the complex on the RELLIS Campus—Texas A&M’s 2,000-acre integrated education, research and testing institution—will ensure that his sons and all other members of the military are safer and more effective as they perform their jobs of protecting the United States.

“I’ve got skin in the game,” Guieb said. “If we have to fight, I want it to be unfair—unfair on our side. The BCDC is all about gaining overmatch.” This means that Texas A&M has become one of the leading sites in the U.S. for researching, designing, testing and building the military of tomorrow.


The complex is “really all about what we believe at Army Futures Command—that America’s tomorrow is worth protecting and it’s worth starting that today, right here, right now,” said Gen. John Murray, AFC, at the 2019 groundbreaking ceremony. Banks, now president of Texas A&M and vice chancellor for national security strategic initiatives, said that the Texas A&M System “is perfectly positioned to accelerate Army modernization through a one-of-a-kind combination of expertise, facilities, culture and organization.”

With the Bush School of Government and Public Service—and the final resting places of George H.W. and Barbara Bush—located on campus, it made sense to name the facility after the 41st president. “What we’re doing is the same thing that he spent his entire life doing: improving national security,” Guieb said.

 

Speed Saves

In a high-tech world, where breakthroughs seem to come every day, quick decision-making is critical. The Army knows that to ensure military prowess, combat and deterrence technology development must mimic the pace of software creation in Silicon Valley.
 

The initiative will not only save time but money as well; it’s cheaper to tweak along the way than to get far down the road before discovering a problem. “We don’t want to get to the end of a project and have our partner say that’s not quite what we wanted,” Guieb said. “This is all about getting things out of the labs and into the users’ hands as fast and efficiently as we can.”

The Research Integration Center

is a three-story building completed last month that will be the intellectual hub of innovation and the command center to direct and evaluate testing on the BCDC grounds and atther facilities. Among the features that make the facility a researcher’s dream are a wall of video feeds, thermal imagery, data streams, analytics and map overlays for real-time analysis. This visual presentation can speed up test insights and help identify needed design changes.

In addition to storing and curating data, this facility will house offices for researchers and U.S. Army personnel, laboratories, a machine shop and spaces for product development.

The Innovation Proving Ground

comprises an off-road test area, a mobility challenge course and a subterranean lab. The outdoor test range includes a variety of terrain, ramps, soil types and physical obstacles and enables researchers to conduct highly instrumented experiments on a wide range of prototypes. The tracking systems used include differential GPS, broadcast receivers, air surveillance radar, thermal imaging, visual tracking and a small-scale weather station.  

In the first demonstration on the range in 2019, two ground vehicles successfully maneuvered autonomously through an off-road challenge course, while a Jeep and air vehicle also operated autonomously by communicating with each other. Many other autonomous vehicle tests have followed.

The Technology Innovation and Modernization Catalyst

will be a 20,000-square-foot, high-tech incubator, to be completed by fall 2023, where civilian inventors, entrepreneurs and other innovators will base themselves. The building will be home to an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering startup space, business services—such as intellectual property strategy and management—and help connecting innovators with potential partners.

“Those who come here,” said Dr. John Hurtado, former deputy director and chief technology officer of the BCDC and now the interim vice chancellor and dean of engineering and the interim agency director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, “will find everything they need to have the absolute best shot at success.” 


To learn how you can play a role in advancing the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex, contact Jay Roberts '05, assistant vice president for development for the College of Engineering, at the bottom of this page. You can also request a Giving Guide below to learn more about other opportunities to support Aggieland.
 

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