ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Maj. Gen. Joel K. Tyler, commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) hosted a Cross Functional Team (CFT) Day in support of the U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) Oct. 25 at ATEC Headquarters.

In attendance were Lt. Gen. James M. Richardson, deputy commander of AFC, along with the Directors of the CFTs and other key personnel affiliated with AFC. The CFTs aligned along eight focus areas, were organized by AFC to place special emphasis on the Army's need to modernize.

The purpose of the forum was to discuss the fundamentals and value of Test and Evaluation (T&E); illustrate the capabilities of the ATEC subordinate organizations and how each are supporting CFTs; and the shaping of ATEC direct support to the AFC, its CFTs and the overall Army modernization.

According to Richardson, ATEC has been supporting Army Modernization Priorities and will continue supporting the AFC and the CFT modernization efforts.

ATEC's continuous and cumulative principles include Shift Left Operational Precepts, Early and Often Combined Soldier Involvement, Critical Operational Issues and Criteria Focuses, and test ready test articles. T&E support to modernization involves testing early, in a continuous and cumulative process to support decision-maker touch points.

"All of this helps us to find out early if it doesn't meet the warfighters' needs," said Richardson.

Since October 2017, ATEC designated T&E integrators to be aligned with each CFT and is developing T&E strategies for each of the 31 CFT lines of effort.

These key priorities are already being supported by ATEC organizations: U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground with the Extended Range Cannon Artillery; U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range with the Mobile Short-Range Air Defense Solution; U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle; U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground with the Assured Position Navigation; U.S. Army Redstone Test Center on active protection; and U.S. Army Operational Test Command supporting experiments up to more rigorous operational tests, such as the recent Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle limited user test.

Each of the ATEC subordinate organizations, to include U.S. Army Evaluation Center and U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, provided an overview of its diverse capabilities, along with the benefits of their unique geographical attributes, extensive instrumentation capabilities, and diverse workforce expertise.

"Bringing together the CFT Directors and other key AFC/CFT stakeholders resulted in extremely successful interactions and introductions of CFT Directors to the entire ATEC enterprise," said Tyler. "Informational and educational dialogue ensued to include an extensive overview of ATEC methods and capabilities."

Richardson and Tyler discussed "idealized" test plans, impacts to cost and schedule due to test article readiness, science and technology testing, and review of contracts and specifications.

Richardson reinforced the importance of including ATEC early for everything from reviewing requirements to guiding risk-based information collection strategies.

Following the morning portion, leaders visited ATC to learn more about the importance of testing to meet the Army's modernization priorities.

The tour highlighted key testing capabilities found at ATC to include light armor ranges, the anthropomorphic device program, Load Effects Assessment Program -- Army, Roadway Simulator, Electromagnetic Interference Test Facility, Moving Target Simulator, and various outdoor ranges.

"Throughout their visit, CFT leaders saw firsthand ATCs unique capabilities," said Col. John Hall, commander of ATC. "It's exciting to discuss the future of the Army and showcase ATC's role in modernization."

"ATEC plays a key role in modernization by conducting essential testing so that our Soldiers retain overmatch against any opponent with safe and effective weapons and equipment. Our direct support to the AFC is a perfect match; we provide independent opinions based on rigorous analysis that allows senior decision makers to make the best decisions possible. Today's meeting with CFTs was an important step in building that relationship," Tyler said.