By Kris Osborn, ASA(ALT) August 2, 2012
WASHINGTON (Aug. 2, 2012) -- The Army Test and Evaluation Command has made great progress partnering with the acquisition community to develop next-generation technologies while simultaneously finding efficiencies and saving dollars for the service, said Heidi Shyu, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, in an address to the organization.
"I've always been impressed with the breadth and scope of what [Army Test and Evaluation Command] does," Shyu explained, praising the rigor and independence of the Army's test community. "By discerning challenges, testing plays a crucial role in ensuring our products meet requirements. Without your efforts, we could not maintain the Army Soldier's decisive advantage gained through development of the very best weapons and equipment in the world," she added.
Shyu detailed a series of Army Test and Evaluation Command, known as ATEC, successes and efficiencies, citing the organization's ongoing efforts to lower costs and improve the testing process by increasing modeling and simulation, leveraging the results of contractor testing at times to streamline procedures and identifying the right designs at the front end of the process as a way to minimize developmental risk.
As part of her address to ATEC, Shyu cited a handful of specific instances wherein innovative and enterprising approaches to testing have produced favorable results, such as ATEC's work with the ongoing network integration evaluations, known as NIEs, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
"The NIE process has benefited greatly from having the test community on site assessing interoperability of our emerging systems and getting an independent assessment regarding what is working and what is not working," she said.
While explaining that the NIE process is likely to expand to include more platforms and impact a larger overall portion of the Army's developmental work, Shyu emphasized the importance of aligning and validating requirements so as to effectively "spiral in" promising emerging systems.
In addition, Shyu told a group of ATEC representatives that a process referred to as Test and Evaluation Master Plan reviews, wherein ATEC, Training and Doctrine Command, the research and development community, program managers and contractors collaborate to find efficiencies in test plans, are producing impressive results.
The thrust of the effort involves plans to develop feasible, realistic and relevant measures able to increase test efficiency and simultaneously ensure all regulations and requirements are met. The JLTV testing program, in particular, demonstrated the added value of having government representatives participate in contractor testing as a way to reduce duplication and increase efficiency, Shyu said.
Furthermore, Shyu praised ATEC's effort to work with the Nett Warrior program's program managers in order to organize and facilitate its Limited User Test, or LUT.
"In 2010, the Army had problems finding a venue for the Nett Warrior LUT. ATEC worked with the PM to identify a test unit, adjust test plans and conduct a successful test that paved the way for the program. Nett Warrior is now aligned and ready to participate in an IOT&E (Initial Operational Test and Evaluation) during this Fall's upcoming NIE 13.1," she said.
ATEC also worked with program managers to help align an IOT&E for the Army's Distributed Common Ground System, an integrated intelligence data base able to accumulate, combine and organize information from more than 400 data sources, she added.
Overall, Shyu stressed the importance of continued dialogue and collaboration as the Army's acquisition and testing communities work together toward a common goal.
"Dialogue is vital to success. The testing community has a critical, unique role, but I believe that our combined goals are shared. Everything we do is designed to get high quality equipment into the hands of our Soldiers as quickly as possible," Shyu said.