Forward Operational Assessment
Support to the Warfighter
The Forward Operational Assessment (FOA) Team organizes, trains, and on order deploys to the CENTCOM Area of Operation, conducts Relief of Place (RIP)/Transfer of Authority (TOA) with the last deployed team, conducts liaison with respective commands, and collects data on selected warfighting systems in order to provide information to the Senior Army Leadership for acquisition decisions in support of Warfighters.
A team of Soldiers and civilians from the Army Test and Evaluation Command (OTC and AEC) comprising the FOA team is embedded within various units in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait to collect data on critical systems currently operating in the Iraq and Afghanistan areas of responsibility.
Through much coordination with U.S. forces, coalition partners, and multiple civilian organizations, ATEC's FOA teams have provided the eyes, ears, and knowledge to Army senior leaders with often the only current and relevant information with which to make decisions.
Real-time information is critical, and information from the team allows Army leadership to decide which system to place in the hands of Soldiers. The teams have a direct impact on the global war on terror at the tactical, operational, and strategic level. ATEC's data is being used each time a decision needs to be made on future Army acquisitions.
Soldiers in theater have been eager to provide the FOA teams with data and share their personal experiences in operating systems in the battlefield. The team's mission is not operational testing like OTC conducts in the U.S. It is important for the Army to get the systems right and for Soldiers to understand how to employ and maintain their equipment.
The FOA teams are not just in theater to collect information on the systems, but to identify shortfalls and fix issues dealing with everything from filling gaps in communication to passing information on what Soldiers are actually requesting in new equipment and capabilities.
ATEC's mission is to pass independent assessments to ensure systems are working properly and that the manufacturers of the systems and equipment are fulfilling their obligations to provide the best possible solution and product. Soldiers' lives are the ultimate stake, and they count on the FOA teams to pass accurate information to the decision-makers.
Since November 2003, Forward Operational Assessment teams have provided the eyes, ears, and knowledge to senior Army leadership with their independent assessment of systems, helping Army senior leaders understand the importance of systems functioning properly and helping Soldiers understand how to best employ and maintain their equipment.
Forward Operational Assessment teams will continue to be established in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters to ensure that OTC upholds its motto of "Truth in Testing."