Skip to comments.Compton cites vital role of EPG at fort [Huachuca]
Posted on 08/25/2013 12:47:40 PM PDT by SandRat
EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of a two-day series involving the commander of the Army Electronic Proving Ground on Fort Huachuca.
FORT HUACHUCA When it comes to Army testing at this southern Arizona Army post theres a fortunate nexus in having a proving ground and schoolhouse on the same installation, said Col. Raymond Compton, the commander of the Electronic Proving Ground.
This is the only proving ground that has a resident Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) schoolhouse on the same installation, the only one, Compton said Wednesday during an interview with the Herald/Review.
By having soldiers who are in intelligence training available to assist in the testing of new systems germane to their fields, as well as others, such a Signal Corps soldiers on the post, it opens an avenue other proving grounds subordinate to the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) do not have, Compton said.
Then there is the added plus of having other high-tech organizations located on the southern Arizona Army post, to include the Armys Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), the Information Systems Engineering Command (ISEC) and the Defense Departments Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), as well as others, creating a special strength when it comes to developing, testing and fielding systems, the colonel said.
For the Electronic Proving Ground, we have the ability to have TRADOC with us we can work with other partners on the post as well as others in the operational test communities, Compton said
Posts special team
Its Team Huachuca which brings a lot to the picture, Compton said, noting when EPG completes a test JITC then has the opportunity to certify a system as being interoperable for all the U.S. military services, a critical need in todays defense world.
If a system is going to be a fixed stationary unit, ISEC people work on the installation aspects, he said.
And, when a system is no longer needed, ISEC removes them, Compton said.
When it comes to electronic systems there is access to the whole acquisition cycle here, from the birth to the death of a system, he said, adding Fort Huachuca is a unique place.
As of Tuesday, the ATEC commanding general made it official: the Intelligence Electronic Warfare Test function on the post is now part of EPG, which gives Compton nearly 40 soldiers under his command.
In the past, EPG had a battalion plus of soldiers but the green suiters, a common Army reference for soldiers, slowly went away, leaving only the commander position to be filled by a soldier.
The importance of soldiers in a test environment cannot be ignored, Compton said.
My drive is to bring in the green suiters, the soldiers, the operators, as much as I can early into the tests, he said, adding. Ive been having great discussions with the MI schoolhouse (MI).
Another unit which is helping is the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, the colonel said.
Some years ago, Compton was part of the 11th Signal Brigade, the 40ths parent organization.
The former Signal Corps officer branched transferred into the Acquisition Corps.
GIs critical testers
The importance of soldiers in the testing arena is maybe they can tell me of a problem so I can tell the program manager, Compton said.
It was not a dig at the testers, rather its another way to ensure what is being developed works in a rough and tumble combat environment.
If I can get the soldiers early, its a benefit to all of us, he said.
The colonel once attended a technology seminar in which a new handheld device was being touted but he questioned how a soldier wearing gloves could use the device because the fingers could not feel the areas to work the piece of equipment.
The Army now has special gloves, with small pieces of plastic at the fingertips so its easier to use a handheld, he said.
Soldiers can tell you if you are going down the right path, he said.
Sometimes in the development stage people can by myopic, the colonel said.
When it comes to something new we are thinking of it as one piece of equipment but soldiers look at it as a system, not only how a piece of equipment is used but how it interacts with other pieces of equipment and how do I apply it, how do I use it, Compton said.
A scientist or a contractor or a government employee needs as much help as we can give them but not just the technical side of the problem, but the operational side of the problem as well, the colonel said.
Not only is he hoping to strengthen the synergy on the fort, but Compton wants to reach out to the National Guard to work on the newest equipment but I hate to say to pick their brains, but rather to to get another green suit factor.
Likening it to a football team which needs specialists, the colonel said if a soldier specialist is needed Ill draft him.
Some of the equipment being developed and tested has a lot of intelligence potential and thats why EPG and the MI schoolhouse combination is critical to look beyond if something is feasible and determine it will work in the various environments it will be used, the colonel said.
The way EPG and Fort Huachuca is going to succeed is to speak with one voice not only training soldiers here but to use them to help test products so we can give a better system to the next generation of soldiers, Compton said.
TOMORROW: The EPG commander talks about some testing being done on on and around Fort Huachuca.
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