Iowa Graduate Students Redesign Combat Outposts for the U.S. Military
Combat outposts, or COPs in U.S. military parlance, undergo brutal attacks in the Middle East. Yet the tentlike structures that house the soldiers offer little by way of protection, leaving them vulnerable not only to injury but also to posttraumatic stress disorder. Graduate students at the Iowa State University College of Design are trying to change that. Led by professor and interior design department chairman Lee Cagley, each student interviewed university ROTC members, then incorporated the findings into a series of renderings. Zhenru Zhang, for example, envisioned hexagonal structures in shock-absorbing reinforced concrete. The hope is to ultimately secure a grant from the Department of Defense for students to design and build full-scale prototypes on an abandoned COP simulation site at nearby Camp Dodge.