Chapter V. Basic Research
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


3. Army Corps of Engineers Research Philosophy

The Army Corps of Engineers conducts basic research at four locations which are geographically distinct and which have unique program objectives. The basic research philosophy of each of these four laboratories is summarized below.

The focus of basic research at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) is to enlarge the knowledge base available for solving the special problems of seasonal and severe cold that occur in a great many parts of the world. The program is organized into studies of the properties and processes of snow, ice, and frozen ground (the three dominant materials associated with cold regions) and studies of the propagation and exchange of energy in these materials across the spectrum of wavelengths from seismic and acoustic to infrared, optical, and millimeter wave. CRREL vigorously pursues focused research objectives using a balance of theoretical, field, and laboratory investigations. Field efforts extend from the polar regions of the earth to the seasonally cold regions of the temperate climate zones. CRREL's physical resources are unique in the world and include low temperature laboratories, large low temperature geophysical and geotechnical experimental facilities, and research field sites in New England and Alaska. Complementary and supporting basic research is conducted through the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

The Topographic Engineering Center (TEC) conducts basic research programs in support of its mission in combat engineering to provide soldiers and their commanders with superior knowledge of the battlefield so that future Army force projection can be accurate, efficient, and, when required, lethal. In support of this mission, basic research is conducted in terrain analysis, image processing, photogrammetry, knowledge-based systems, data base development, battlespace environments, spectral photogrammetry and signal analysis, neural network applications, terrain visualization, data fusion, and image compression. This research is designed to advance and maintain a technology base that will provide superior technology in support of combat operations through development of terrain-related systems and information. Specific areas include work that will enhance visibility, improve selection of vantage points, aid route selection and navigation decisions, improve detection of features, and facilitate terrain visualization for real-time battlefield operation as well as modeling and simulation. The research includes the exploitation of full-spectrum remote sensing (including hyper-spectral) data; computer sciences, including artificial intelligence; and advanced photogrammetric and terrain visualization techniques.

The Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (CERLs) conduct basic research in support of their mission to design, maintain, and rehabilitate the Army's infrastructure and to sustain installation environmental quality. This research includes the advancement of the sciences required to develop the techniques, strategies, and tools to provide Army planners, designers, construction managers, and facilities operations managers with the basis for better decision making. Basic research also supports development of tools and technologies to enable Army environmental managers at all levels to meet environmental requirements, exercise stewardship of Army natural and cultural resources, and perform mission-essential functions without causing annoyance to the surrounding civilian population. The efforts include the development and advancement of technologies in the following areas:

The Waterways Experiment Station (WES) executes a robust basic research program to develop the fundamental knowledge base required by the Army in the fields of civil and environmental engineering. Specifically, the research philosophy focuses on technology barriers for the Civil Engineering Reliance areas of Airfields and Pavements, Sustainment Engineering, Survivability and Protective Structures; and the Environmental Quality Reliance area of Installation Restoration. The civil engineering basic research program emphasizes the following:

The focus of the environmental engineering basic research program is on the development of biological and chemical oxidative technologies for remediation of explosives- and organics-contaminated media found on the Army's installations, with emphasis on identification and elimination of undesirable intermediate products; the goal is to identify and quantify those factors that control the degradation of explosives, energetics, and organics in solids and ground water and develop environmentally acceptable remediation processes.