Magazine article National Defense
Army Deploys Testers to Assess Systems That Were Rushed to War
THE ARMY HAS FIELDED scores of new high-tech combat systems in Iraq and Afghanistan, but much of this technology was put into the hands of troops without undergoing the full-scale Army acquisition process.
This was the case because the traditional process is "notoriously slow," said Frank Bartosik, who works at the plans and operations division of the Army Test and Evaluation Command in Aberdeen, Md.
Several ATEC teams have been dispatched to Iraq and Afghanistan to evaluate the performance of new equipment and to determine whether any of the combat systems fielded had flaws that needed to be fixed, Bartosik said. They also wanted to determine whether troops were using the proper tactics, techniques and procedures.
A key objective is to determine whether test and evaluation programs need modification to the "reality on the ground," Bartosik added. It helps the testers in theater become more knowledgeable about how sys terns are being employed and their level of effectiveness, and it gives them greater expertise on the evolving threats, he said.
"The enemy employs a tactic, and we observe that tactic and devise a countermeasure," Bartosik said. "The enemy then devises a countermeasure to our countermeasure. It goes back and forth all the time."
The Army Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground is responsible for testing force-protection systems, including the cage-like slat armor it fabricated to keep rocket-propelled grenades from penetrating the hull of the Army's Stryker, and various iterations of add-on armor for the humvee and other light tactical vehicles.
The armor kits designed for light tactical vehicles add considerably to a vehicle's weight, and the extra weight can adversely affect vehicle drive trains, axles and cooling systems. …