Quick development effort yields benefits in Iraq

The broad agency announcement that the Defense Department released shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is making life easier for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Ronald Sega, DOD's director of Research and Engineering.

A month after the terrorist attacks, the Pentagon issued an announcement seeking concepts and technologies to combat terrorism.

Hundreds of ideas flooded Pentagon offices, and now the effort has led to a few technologies being rushed through the concept and development phase to the battlefields in Iraq.

Those technologies include the phraselator, a small electronic device that helps troops in Afghanistan and Iraq communicate with local residents.

The effort also has yielded the water purification pen, a device the size of a small flashlight that makes water safe for troops to drink.

Recently, Sega said his office has begun focusing heavily on force protection in Iraq, which includes equipping Humvees with more protective armor.

Sega said troops can soon expect to see new counter-mortar radar systems and unmanned aerial vehicles that have been accelerated into production.

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