Yuma Test Center’s three cross-functional team integrators, (left to right) Justin Croutch, Jake Obradovich and Steve Flores are all walking into uncharted territory being the first to hold the positions.
Yuma Test Center’s three cross-functional team integrators, (left to right) Justin Croutch, Jake Obradovich and Steve Flores are all walking into uncharted territory being the first to hold the positions. (Photo Credit: Ana Henderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- Yuma Test Center (YTC) at Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) recently created three new positions for cross-functional teams (CFT) integrators.

YTC has an integrator for the long-range precision fires (LRPF), next generation combat vehicles (NGCV) and future vertical lift (FVL). These CFTs tested at YPG are part of the Army’s Modernization priorities.

All hired in late 2020 and early 2021, the three integrators-- Steve Flores for LRPF, Justin Croutch for FVL and Jake Obradovich for NGCV-- are all walking into uncharted territory.

“We have the opportunity to mold them to what we think they need to be,” said Flores, who formerly worked as the Artillery Branch Chief at the Munitions and Weapons Branch, about the position.

“We are trying to develop what that position is going to be as we are in it,” adds Croutch, the former Engineering Support Branch Chief.

You might ask what exactly does an integrator do? Obradovich explains, “The integrator, no pun intended, integrates all the various CFT efforts supported by YPG to one clear sight picture for YPG leadership.”

YTC at YPG supports six of the eight CFTs that make up the Army Modernization Priorities. Each CFT has milestones and goals to meet, which means there are countless tests performed daily by numerous different YTC test officers.

“We are going to help bridge the gap between today’s test and how it supports the bigger picture of where the Army is going,” explains Flores.

CFT integrators have their eye on the overall modernization effort for which they are responsible; not just one or two tests. This allows them to keep a pulse on how the CFT’s efforts as a whole are progressing. The integrators are able to keep in synch with the test programs to determine if the schedules and milestones are on track, see trends and evaluate their significance, and ensure the overall mission is accomplished.

Obradovich said, “I am working to take the breadth of the NGCV support in CASD, integrate it, understand the details, make assessments, and evaluate that information. This allows one unified message to get passed up to YPG leadership to provide a succinct assessment of programmatic issues. This information provides early assessments of issues observed and allows YPG leadership to pass the info along to ATEC and help inform senior leaders early on in test programs.”

YPG is a developmental test center meaning in addition to testing fielded items, its workforce also test developmental items. That’s where the integrators’ expertise also comes into play.

“YPG does testing every day and we are good at it but what we are doing with modernization is kind of an overhaul in respect how we test. We are pushing the envelope with every system across all the commodities at YPG. So it’s going to be the role of these positions to figure out how we are going to do that. What instrumentation, what ranges, going down those lines to prepare to test things we’ve never tested or can’t comprehend yet because we’ve never heard of it,” explains Croutch.

In addition to coming up with the concept for administering these new tests for those industry partners working with YPG, integrators give them a central contact.