Army Test and Evaluation Command Commander Maj. Gen. John Charlton visited White Sands Missile Range Jan. 17 to 19. Charlton, who assumed command in December, visited several of WSMR's key facilities to get a firsthand look at the installation's test capabilities. We asked him a couple of questions during his visit in regards to his new position and his plan for WSMR.
What have you learned during your time in your new position?
Test and Evaluation is different and a complex business, but the basics of leadership and management remain the same.
What message would you like to give to the WSMR workforce?
They provide a vital service for our Army and I thank them for their dedicated service.
What does the future look like for WSMR when it comes to fiscal constraints and cutbacks?
Based upon our workload model, WSMR's testing capabilities are still very much needed in the out-year. We have submitted our critical funding requirements needed to sustain these vital capabilities and support the projected workload to the Army. We must constantly be looking for efficiencies to maximize the utilization of our limited resources. Every individual has an opportunity to participate in this by being vigilant in identifying ways to reduce costs and save money.
Is there a plan in place to upgrade testing equipment to keep us competitive?
Yes, ATEC has an annual investment process that allocates funding to the Commanders Critical Needs for the following year and serves as the basis for subsequent years. This year, through our participation in the Army Strategic Portfolio Analysis Review meetings, we have gained insight on the Army's modernization priorities. We will analyze this data with the test centers to ensure we are postured to meet upcoming Army capability modernization. We continue to keep the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army Test and Evaluation Test Resource Management Center and the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management informed on the status of our aging facilities and continue working to obtain funding for our highest priority projects in this constrained fiscal environment.
What are your goals and priorities for WSMR, 10, 15, and 20 years from now?
To continue to be the premier open air test range for U.S. and Allied customers that consistently exceeds customer expectations and provides a high quality of life for our Service Members, Civilians and Families. I understand that WSMR just developed a strategic plan which will assist in our long-term planning strategies.
What are you taking back from your visit to WSMR?
How truly big it is and the importance of the mission being conducted there!
Do you think WSMR is doing what it should for ATEC and the Department of the Army?
Absolutely! WSMR's dedicated and professional workforce steadfastly executes its unique and integral mission on a consistent basis.