A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new Army Test and Evaluation Command’s Technology Integration Center Laboratory near Operational Test Command headquarters on Fort Hood on Thursday.

John Diem, the executive director for U.S. Army Operational Test Command, said the new 8,500 square-foot facility will provide a secure environment to test designs, select the best technologies and will include secure networks to improve communications between other Army labs, integration facilities and testing ranges.

“The biggest challenge that we have is the current facilities are not together, so we have our teams split unto multiple facilities; this is really about the testers, this is their facility,” said Diem, executive director of U.S. Army Operational Test Command.

The lab will bring testers, engineers, analysts and technicians to find the best tools, share expertise and insight with other government agencies, testers, training and experimentation centers, engineers, academic institutions and industry partners together, to develop operational tests of the latest systems and technologies.

“The ATIC helps OTC kick into high gear our goal of finding, testing and integrating the best tools available for our mission,” said Diem. “To do that, the ATIC must be an incubator of talent, tools and techniques.”

Diem said the new lab will have global connectivity, secure and reconfigurable work and technical integration areas and state of the art construction features. It will also reduce costs and inefficiency by eliminating the need to develop the command’s own tools. The new lab also reduces the number of buildings that lab personnel currently occupy across Fort Hood into an individual location.

Diem said ultimately the facility was built for the soldiers to ensure they have the best equipment the nation can provide them, and challenged testers, leaders and test officers to accomplish that goal.

“I challenge you to use it, to shape its future and to never hesitate to ask — even demand — that it support you excellently as you work to ensure that our ultimate customers — the American soldier — are equipped with systems that are effective, suitable and survivable,” Diem said.

The lab is expected to cost approximately $4.6 million and construction should be completed by January 2019.

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