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 TRANSFORMATION
 SPECIAL REPORTS
Command Field Tests 'New-Fangled' Equipment
By Staff Sgt. Brent A. Hunt / U.S. Army Garrison

FORT HOOD, Texas, Jan. 28, 2005 – Before any new-fangled piece of equipment is used by U.S. soldiers, the Operational Test Command at Fort Hood tests it in every conceivable scenario to make sure the everyday soldier can use it in the field.

Located with Operational Test Command headquarters on west Fort Hood are five of their test directorates. Each directorate tests different types of equipment fielded throughout the Army.

One such test directorate is the Transformation Technology Directorate, which integrates modeling and simulation tools with real life scenario test instrumentation for supporting operational testing of transformation technology.

"A lot of time is focused on the future. In order to predict the future you have to understand both our capabilities and the enemies' technology."
Gayle Shull, Director of
Transformation Technology

“Whatever environment a piece of equipment needs for testing, we provide it,” Gayle Shull, director of Transformation Technology Directorate said. “Our organization is involved when the piece of equipment is ready to be fielded, and we are involved mostly in creating a real-life scenario.”

Among the many responsibilities the directorate is charged with, predicting future technologies while at the same time providing current technology expertise to test teams is their spot in the Operational Test Command food chain.

The Transformation Technology Directorate’s role lies in accrediting and certifying technology for specific applications, monitoring technology during tests and experiments and performing system manager responsibilities for development and acquisition.

“A lot of time is focused on the future,” said Shull. “In order to predict the future you have to understand both our capabilities and the enemies' technology. For instance, when we look at a weapon, we look at what it can do not what it is doing.”

Predicting future technology needs is what the directorate is all about. Their task is to develop, acquire or modify required operational testing, experimentation and evaluation in support of the Army’s largest undertaking in years, the transformation of the Army.

“We work with the developer to make sure we can fix items quickly,” said Shull. “This March, we are going to test 11 different systems of the Army Battle Command System during the 4th Infantry Division’s field exercise, Joint Red Flag and Roving Sands.

“They (the 4th Infantry Division) will have soldiers deployed to the simulation center, where they will war game with real life scenarios,” Shull continued. “Operational Test Command wants to see the capabilities and limitations of the system.

“We don’t want to provide soldiers with a scenario that is too easy or is unfairly too difficult, but real,” Shull said. “We have to give soldiers a reason to use a piece of equipment and a realistic scenario provides that.”

Another undertaking the Transformation Technology Directorate is very concerned with is being involved in the community. Students of Shoemaker High School in Killeen participate annually in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology robotics competition and Operational Test Command are the students’ mentors.

“We are involved in the community to find talent that is out there,” Shull said. “The Shoemaker robotics show is a way to work with future technology students and it’s also a great way of reaching out to the community and possibly hiring them one day.”

Also, Transformation Technology Directorate is out in the community with the Student Education Employment Program. What this program does is have college students alternate school semesters with an internship at the command. If they complete their hours at the schoolhouse, students can noncompetitively fill a vacant position at a government agency.

“We find that when a young engineer comes here and can lead a major procurement program, it is quite an incentive for a student to work out here,” Shull said. “We have so many years of operational testing it’s amazing.”

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