By Ana HendersonJuly 23, 2019
"I love coming to YPG" that's what Maj. Gen. Joel K. Tyler, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) had to say about visiting the hottest installation under his command.
Tyler's last visit was 2018 just after he assumed command of ATEC, "The people made a deep impression and that includes the community leaders who are so supportive of this place. So, I really wanted to highlight that to the rest of the commanders, staff and ATEC and show how things have changed and how they have stayed the same and to see how YPG is adapting to the future."
Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) had that opportunity when ATEC chose it as the location for the ATEC Commander's Conference.
Nearly all of ATEC's commanders, proving ground and test center commanders, sergeants major, and technical directors converged at YPG in late July for the quarterly ATEC Commander's Conference.
Tyler explained that holding the conference is a good way to stay in tune with the needs since ATEC is a large organization with approximately 8,000 people and 21 geographical locations. ATEC has around 2,000 efforts or projects a year which is about 700 Army programs.
"The Commander's Conference really gives us an opportunity to get together and assess where we are as the larger organization and hear from each of the subordinate organizations as to how they are doing and what they need. It also helps us come together as a single body and figure out where we need to go."
The Army's focus has become modernization. In July of 2018 the Army Futures Command (AFC) was created, and in 2019 ATEC was put in direct support of AFC which is driving Army modernization.
"It's interesting to see how people are adapting to new technology and new requirements, and to see how we fit as part of this modernization effort" says Tyler adding, "For every line of effort that AFC is pursuing, it is being touched somewhere across ATEC."
YPG is embracing the modernization. It's leading the way in long-range precision fires with the Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA). In 2018 YPG used ERCA to fire 62 kilometers, nearly doubling the current standard, and hopes to extend that range to 70 or more kilometers.
"At YPG you have long-range precision fires which is an enormous effort and Yuma has the world's experts on it -- so it's wonderful" says Tyler.
Earlier this year YPG acquired a new high-technology software system and tools to conduct non-destruction inspections of cannons. This month, YPG is acquiring the first of many high-mobility and multi-tracker radars to keep up with the advanced weapons.
YPG was able to showcase its assets to the leaders of the various ATEC organizations because as Tyler explains no two installations are the same,
"I think it's really valuable for each organization to appreciate the challenges and opportunities that they all go through. I always say, our nine subordinate organizations are all different - differently funded, or missioned or situated. So I think there is value from hearing from each other and they are addressing those challenges."
One thing Tyler is adamant about is that all this progress could not be possible without the workforce which he genuinely appreciates.
Tyler first of all thanks everyone for what they do. "The commitment and the passion that the workforce brings to the work every day is just incredible" adding,
"Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground - change comes quickly. I think we are living in a very dynamic era. The Army is figuring out the future, and the future gets figured out at places like Yuma Proving Ground. So we need you to be adaptive, we need you to be committed, and we need you to help people think through the problems of the future. My job is to make sure you have what you need to do that."