Test and Evaluation Command
The United States Army Test and Evaluation Command, has a rich history, even though we are a new organization. Prior to 1962 each branch of the Army conducted their own testing on new equipment by using the Technical Services organizations to conduct engineering tests under controlled conditions and by using Service Test Boards to test how well the equipment worked in the field in the hands of soldiers. In 1962, the Technical Services and Service Test Boards were consolidated within the Army Materiel Command forming the Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM). TECOM performed this consolidated testing mission for many years, but in 1972, as a result of a Blue Ribbon Panel recommendation, the Operational Test and Evaluation Agency (OTEA) was created to establish an independent field agency for Operational Evaluation, separate and distinct from the developing, procuring, and using commands. In 1976, the TRADOC Combined Arms Test Activity (TCATA) was formed. TCATA performed operational testing for each of the Army's branch schools. Subsequently, in 1988, the seven existing TRADOC Test Boards were combined with TCATA and then, TRADOC redesignated TCATA as the Test and Experimentation Command (TEXCOM).
In 1990, as a result of Congressional statute and DOD direction for each service to establish an independent Operational Test and Evaluation Agency, the Operational Test and Evaluation Command (OPTEC) was formed by combining OTEA with TEXCOM. Portions of OTEA were redesignated as the Operational Evaluation Command (OEC). Then in 1996, OPTEC assumed the Army's developmental evaluation mission from the Army Materiel Command and became the sole evaluator for Army systems. With the consolidation of Army Evaluation, OPTEC added the Evaluation Analysis Center (EAC).
In 1999, OPTEC was transformed once again when it was redesignated as the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and assumed the developmental testing mission by adding the Developmental Test Command (DTC) formerly known as TECOM. The other organizations within OPTEC were also redesignated. TEXCOM became the Operational Test Command (OTC), while OEC and EAC combined and became the Army Evaluation Center (AEC). Consequently, ATEC now does the majority of all testing and evaluation for the Army, all the way through each system's life cycle, from early development of new prototypes through continuous evaluation of fielded systems.
Prior to 1 October 1996 the Army had two testers and two evaluators. AMC conducted developmental testing and developmental evaluation while OPTEC conducted operational testing and operational evaluation. Numerous studies saw redundancy and recommended consolidation of both testing and evaluation. The decision was made to consolidate evaluation into OPTEC but consolidation of testing was deferred due to the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Starting in FY97, this resulted in two testers, TECOM (DT) and TEXCOM (OT) with evaluation consolidated in OPTEC.
In late FY97, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Operations Research and the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army directed a study to determine if Army testing should be consolidated. The Consolidation of Army Testing Study took many factors into consideration and recommended consolidating Army testing into one command. The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army approved the consolidation and issued guidance along with his approval.
The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army guidance was to build the new organization around OPTEC. Consequently, on 1 October 1999, OPTEC was redesignated as the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). To maintain independence, ATEC will report through the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Army to the Vice Chief of Staff Army. TEXCOM was redesignated as the Operational Test Command (OTC). TECOM transferred from AMC to ATEC and was redesignated as the Developmental Test Command (DTC). Additionally, the Army Evaluation Center (AEC) was formed by consolidating the operational evaluators (OEC) and the developmental evaluators (EAC) into one organization. All organizations were directed to stand up in place on 1 October 1999.
The Consolidation of Army Testing implements the recommendations of the Army Science Board to consolidate testing and evaluation, provides unity of command, results in more efficient and effective testing, and postures Army test and evaluation for the future, while not creating any additional personnel reductions or causing personnel to relocate.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Park Center Four, a leased installation in Alexandria, VA, by relocating and consolidating Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) with its subcomponents at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), MD. This recommendation would meet several important Department of Defense (DoD) objectives with regard to future use of leased space, rationalization of the Department's presence within the National Capital Region (NCR), and enhanced security for DoD Activities. Additionally, the scenario would result in a significant improvement in military value.
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