'Testing takes too long; costs too much' 

3/21/2011 

3 commands merge – changing ‘culture and process’

 “We’re going to transform the command into something different over the next few years … to keep our combat edge razor sharp,” the commanding general of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), said.

 Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commenting on what he termed “a period of austerity,” told an audience of military and industry leaders at the Association of the United States Army’s March Institute of Land Warfare Breakfast that “we must participate in our future, otherwise it will be dictated to us.”

Due to the Base Realignment and Closure process, Dellarocco underscored that the imminent move of ATEC from Alexandria, Va. to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, will combine three headquarters into one. This will set the tone for a change of “culture and processes,” he said. 

ATEC headquarters will be combined with the Developmental Test Command and the Army Evaluation Center.

More importantly, he noted that it’s time to “break the current [testing] paradigm,” and move away from the current reality that “testing takes too long and costs too much.”

By closely aligning development and operational testing with a “beefed up” evaluation process, efficiencies can be found to counter a “declining fiscal environment,” he said.

Dellarocco added that while ensuring safety is still a priority, the reality is the testing process will have to accept more “risk.” 

He stressed changing the current testing philosophy – a robust and exhaustive process -- to a process that he termed as “adequate” which the current “fiscal environment demands.” 

The goal is to develop a more streamlined and expedited process combining a new, comprehensive certification standard for evaluators, tapping the large stable of experienced combat veterans for their hard-won expertise and doing a better job of capturing, utilizing and integrating contractor testing data. 

With these changes and improvements, Dellarocco said the Army can continue to properly test, asses, evaluate and deploy the systems needed for the war fighter.

According to Army officials, ATEC is the Department of Defense’s premier test and evaluation organization that provides essential information ensuring decision makers and war fighters have the right capabilities for success across the full spectrum of operations.

ATEC plans, conducts and integrates developmental testing, independent operational testing, independent evaluations, assessments and experiments that provide essential information to the services.

Triple Canopy, an AUSA sustaining member, sponsored the breakfast meeting.