The Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) has overall responsibility for developmental and operation testing of equipment for all branches of the military and employs about 10,000 people worldwide. In addition to ATEC, Aberdeen is home to the U.S. Army Evaluation Center (AEC), and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC), which are sub elements of ATEC.
ATEC plans, integrates, and conducts experiments, developmental testing, independent operational testing, and independent evaluations and assessments.
ATC is one of eight test centers across the country operated by ATEC:
- Cold Regions Test Center, headquartered at Fort Wainwright, Alaska
- Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Arizona
- Redstone Test Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama
- Tropic Regions Test Center, headquartered at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona
- West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah
- White Sands Test Center at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
- Yuma Test Center at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
Developmental and operational tests are conducted during different phases of technology development. Developmental testing is performed early in the development cycle, tends to be tightly controlled, and its purpose is to evaluate technology against precise requirements and specifications. Operational testing is less controlled and designed to evaluate systems in realistic environments. During operational tests, soldiers conduct missions as though in combat conditions. This is the role of the Operational Test Command, also part of ATEC and headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. OTC has test personnel and facilities at Fort Huachuca, Fort Sill, and Fort Bragg.
The Army Evaluation Center provides independent technical and operational evaluations of defense acquisition programs and technology. These evaluations are used to make decisions at key milestones in the acquisition process. AEC has a workforce of about 800 people.