WARREN — United States Army officials announced Friday that the Army National Automotive Center, based in Warren, is refocusing on its role as the focal point for public-private mobility technology development.

The NAC is part of the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and is based at the Army’s Detroit Arsenal at I-696 and Van Dyke Road.

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Part of the refocusing effort is the naming of the new director. David J. Thomas, the former associate director of TARDEC’s Intelligent Ground Systems group. Thomas brings nearly 30 years of Army experience to the role. He replaces Paul Skalny, who retired late last year.

“The NAC will continue to serve as the Army’s focal point for the development of dual-use automotive technologies and their application to military ground vehicles,” Thomas said.

TARDEC NAC was charted by the Secretary of the Army in 1993 to help facilitate joint efforts between industry, government and academia. According to Thomas, the NAC’s primary focus moving forward will be making those connections.

“NAC associates are placing a renewed and greater emphasis on making the right connections and linking our customers with the right technology expertise,” Thomas said.

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In going forward, Thomas stresses the NAC will build upon prior success. He points to the Hybrid Truck Users Forum, the Advanced Battery Initiative and the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance as key strategic initiatives.

“In all these cases, the NAC did exactly what we were chartered to do,” said Thomas. “The NAC connected people and organizations with existing and emerging technical programs that facilitated the execution of advanced research, development, engineering, integration and productions and field support. In short, we make connections.”

For 2012, the NAC will place a heavy emphasis on powertrain and combustion; lightweight structures and materials; energy recovery and thermal management; alternative fuels and lubricants; hybrid propulsion systems; energy storage and batteries; analytical tools; hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles; and alternative energy initiatives.

TARDEC’s NAC actively seeks companies that can aid the Army in addressing these energy security issues. Proposals and ideas can be submitted confidentially to the TARDEC NAC through the NAC’s Ground Vehicle Gateway at https://tardec.groundvehiclegateway.com/

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Via the gateway, experienced personnel link companies with subject matter experts from TARDEC business groups with industry and academic partners.