By CRYSTAL MAYNARD, ATCOctober 17, 2008
The U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center and the U.S. Army Evaluation Center won a top Army acquisition award in the \'Equipping and Sustaining our Soldiers' Systems' category at the 2008 U.S. Army Acquisition Corps Annual Awards ceremony Oct. 5 in Arlington, Va.
The U.S. Army Acquisition Corps annual awards pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian professionals who work behind the scenes to provide combatant commanders and their Soldiers the weapons and equipment they need to execute decisive, full-spectrum operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
There were 13 other Army nominees in the 'Equipping and Sustaining our Soldiers' Systems' category. From March 15, 2007, through March 14, 2008, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, Joint-Service Test and Evaluation Team has responded to one of the greatest acquisition challenges in Army history: to develop, test and deliver MRAPs to theater in a year's time. MRAPs are a family of vehicles that have a "V"-shaped hull and armor plating designed to provide protection against mines and improvised explosive devices.
The Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directed that the MRAP program should be the highest priority to the Department of Defense Acquisition Program.
The MRAP team, consisting of more than 200 testers and evaluators conducting tests at ATC, has ensured that the American Soldier is operating with the best equipment ensuring significantly enhanced crew survivability, minimizing vehicle vulnerability and facilitating operational sustainment.
"As I have said before, MRAPs save lives," said Col. John P. Rooney, ATC commander. "The work done here at ATC has ensured that service members were able to walk away from IED events that otherwise would have been catastrophic and come home to their Family. I don't know of any work that could be more important. I am extremely proud of our team here."
Doug Griffin, a senior ATC test officer and MRAP Automotive Team Leader, said that "the MRAP testing and acquisition process has been a learning experience not only for ATC, but for all of the U.S. military service branches."
"Lessons that we learn now can be used for other high priority test initiatives, which can help to provide the most up-to-date and reliable equipment available," Griffin said.
There are currently more than 11,000 of the vehicles in theater.