Army's New Technology Must Pass Muster at Fort Bliss, Texas

By Eric Beidel

FORT LAUDERDALE - This summer more than 3,000 soldiers returning from combat will head to Fort Bliss, Texas, and begin testing new equipment .
“I think Fort Bliss is one of the most important things the United States Army has done in a long, long time,” Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said Feb. 23 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual winter symposium in Fort Lauderdale.
Bliss will become the permanent home of a brigade that will be dedicated to the testing and evaluation of new technology. This will have “historic meaning,” Chiarelli said. The effort is part of a larger Army initiative to reform is procurement system, and to expedite the process of delivering new equipment to deployed soldiers.
“We live in a world with an outdated acquisition system, a Cold War acquisition system that, when left to its own devices, will take 10 years to pump something out,” Chiarelli said. If the Army were the creator of the iPhone, it would take another six years to get it into the hands of soldiers, he said.
The new brigade will test the Army’s next-generation communications network that would give soldiers access to critical data. The unit also will test vehicles and robots.
The Army can send new products to the task force to find out, “Does this have value? Can you integrate this?” Chiarelli said. “This is huge. It’s something that’s been missing.”
Troops at Fort Bliss already have begun testing smart phones in combat scenarios.

Topics: Procurement, Science and Engineering Technology, Test and Evaluation

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