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Army senior enlisted leaders test the IVAS at Fort Belvoir, Nov. 20.

Last month, shortly before Thanksgiving, Program Executive Office Soldier hosted Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston to highlight the office’s new programs, initiatives, and give a tour of its project sites.

Twenty nine senior enlisted leaders representing personnel, operations, logistics, planning and communications, among other senior Army offices, accompanied Grinston during the staff ride.

Members from PEO Soldier’s product leadership teams presented on the capabilities and status of various programs being developed to meet the mission of making Soldiers more agile, adaptive, and lethal in all operational environments. This event also gave senior Army leaders the opportunity to get hands-on experience with equipment.

“There’s no substitute for putting on the equipment and walking through scenarios to see how our Soldiers are going to be able to train in the future,” said Grinston.

At Project Manager Integrated Visual Integrated Augmentation System, visitors donned the capability set three militarized form factor prototype of the IVAS, a headset that includes a squad radio, sensors, target recognition, and a network cloud package to provide next-generation situational awareness to Army squads.

At the Soldier Integration Facility, participants ran through a synthetic training environment with a Squad immersive Virtual Trainer tool that enables Soldiers to train and iterate mixed-reality scenarios to maximize efficiency and effectiveness with precision tracking and after action reviews. The SIF is an enterprise-level workspace for PEO Soldier and its stakeholders to test programs like IVAS, Nett Warrior, and initiatives working to integrate legacy equipment with improved technology and designs.

The sergeants major also received an overview from Project Manager Soldier Lethality on the Next Generation Squad Weapon and fire control optic. They then fired the M4 with the Family of Weapons Sight-Individual and Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular in order to highlight the integrated thermal and image intensification feature as well as the rapid target acquisition capability set.

The groups then received briefs on and fired the ACP 9k subcompact weapon and the M17 Modular Handgun System, weapons currently being fielded to various Army units.

At PEO headquarters, representatives from Project Managers Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting and Soldier Survivability gave updates on the ENVG-B, Family of Weapon Sights, Joint Effects Targeting System, Soldier Borne Sensor, and other programs for body armor and uniforms.

“The new equipment within the Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting portfolio is going to be a great tool for our leaders as we build cohesive teams that are highly-trained and ready,” said Grinston.

Both the hosts and guests agreed that the event was worthwhile and agreed that PEO’s initiatives will improve the capabilities of Soldiers.

“It was an awesome opportunity to have the senior sergeants major on the Army staff have a hands-on and immersive experience with some of the incredible products being developed and fielded by PEO Soldier,” said PEO Soldier Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Vern Daley, who led the event. “Hopefully this will help to provide perspective to these sergeants major as they continue to plan and guide our Army and its modernization efforts.”

“The work that has gone into this is amazing,” said participant Sgt. Maj. Mark A. Clark Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 Sergeant Major. “I think our Soldiers are going to benefit from it, but it’s also going to obviously keep us at the cutting edge, having the advantage over our enemies.”