JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
A Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic team came out on top of a field of 21 world class Southeastern U.S. collaborators producing high impact innovations to win the inaugural presentation of the Przirembel Prize May 10, at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville, S.C.
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicle integration team won the award for its collaboration with various MRAP vehicle manufacturers, other military units, industry partners and the community as they rapidly and successfully integrated more than 16,000 MRAPs and 8,000 MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles with a full complement of communication, computers, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems that give warfighters from all U.S. military services information dominance over their enemies. The MRAP acquisition is managed by the Marine Corps Systems Command under the authority of the Joint MRAP Vehicle Program Office.
The newly created Przirembel Prize, which recognizes collaborations across diverse organizations in the southeastern United States deemed significant by those outside the region, promotes the best practices in open innovation. The award was presented as part of the eighth annual InnoVenture Southeast conference.
"The MRAP and M-ATV effort is one of the most significant military and industry collaborations since World War II," said John Warner, founder and CEO of InnoVenture LLC. "We have succeeded in demonstrating that the southeastern United States is an innovation powerhouse in the world."
In order to reduce the loss of warfighters due to improvised explosive devices on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made MRAP vehicles the number one DoD acquisition priority in May 2007. MRAP vehicles have a V-shaped hull and raised chassis that deflects bomb blasts outward, away from the interior where troops sit, drastically reducing troop casualties.
Marine Corps Systems Command tasked SSC Atlantic to be the sole C4ISR integrator of the vehicles, receiving MRAP vehicles manufactured by a variety of vendors and integrating each with a full complement of C4ISR systems. In addition to the existing variants and configurations of vehicles, the different military branches needed specific C4ISR suites in their MRAPs. Nearly two dozen configurations of the vehicles were designed, prototyped, integrated, tested and shipped from SSC Atlantic to warfighters.
On Dec. 4, 2007, SSC Atlantic met its goal of integrating 50 vehicles per day, and at one point, 75 vehicles were integrated in one day.
"These vehicles are really making a difference in the lives of the warfighters who put their lives on the line every day," said Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley, MCSC commander and MRAP Joint Program executive officer.
Under the guidance of the MCSC Joint Program Office, SSC Atlantic developed working relationships with the multiple MRAP vehicle manufacturers, C4ISR equipment manufacturers, test personnel, integration contractors, local governments, military branch representatives and transportation units to be successful.
"I'm especially proud of how SSC Atlantic developed true collaborative partnerships across the community in order to gain efficiencies and meet the challenging MRAP program productivity objectives," said SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Urbon.
In addition to the MCSC Joint Program Office, military collaborators included the U.S. Transportation Command, the 841st Transportation Battalion, the Army Strategic Logistics Activity Charleston, the Coast Guard Sector Charleston, Joint Base Charleston, the 437th Airlift Wing, the 315th Airlift Wing and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The Defense Contract Management Agency, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the Technology and Logistics, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and the Army Material Command were also involved.
Industry teammates were Scientific Applications International Corporation, Scientific Research Corporation, Stanley Corporation, Imagine One, Mantech and VT MILCOM. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic also collaborated with the city of North Charleston.
The collaboration created more than 1,200 jobs across the government and industry sectors of South Carolina. Additional jobs were created and maintained in third party suppliers of equipment and support services across the region by secondary partnerships for industrial supplies and services.
"This is an amazing example of Republicans, Democrats, the executive branch, the Congress, manufacturers, government bureaucrats, everybody pitching in and doing the right thing," Mr. Gates said.