NEWS | April 1, 2021

USATA leaders, team plan for future

By Michelle Gordon U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command

Personnel from the U.S. Army Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment Activity met for a two-day strategic planning meeting March 24-25 at The Summit on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

USATA Executive Director Richard Parker said the organization meets four times annually to review their plans and ensure their resources are properly aligned with the overall mission and vision.

He said, “This is part two of a four-part annual process to assess the organization’s performance, confirm the value that we are supposed to provide, and then to study our organization resources to determine what changes we need to make over the next five years to become more valuable to the Army.”

The two-day offsite was conducted with approximately 25 socially distant attendees, as well as recorded and broadcasted on Microsoft Teams, in order to provide the more than 600 USATA employees an opportunity to watch and participate in the process.

In addition to strategic planning, the event also included awards and recognitions, employee engagement initiatives, and an operational environment update. USATA Current Operations Team Lead Dwayne McMichael said the operational environment not only affects the TMDE enterprise from a strategic level, but also down to the operational and technical levels.

Parker said he believes the biggest challenge for USATA, which is part of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, is becoming immersed in the planning and the development of the new Army operating concept, multi-domain operations.

“A top priority of [Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command] is to update and upgrade the Army functional concept for sustainment and we want to make sure that we’re part of that,” Parker said. “The TMDE operating concept affects all of the functional concepts, not just sustainment. We have to work with maneuver, with fires, with aviation, with everybody.”

USATA has the primary organizational responsibility of performing the test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment calibration and repair support mission for the Army, other DoD claimants, and thousands of industrial-based customers. It ensures measurements made with TMDE are traceable to national, international, or intrinsic standards of measurement.

USATA Senior Deputy Director Chris Smith likened the strategic planning process to a personal plan — with the endstate being a happy and productive life. For him, that endstate means goals, such as a meaningful career, hobbies and volunteer work. He noted that a personal plan is not static — it is constantly adapting and evolving — and an organization strategic plan should do the same.

“This whole strategic planning process revolves around what we can do that nobody else can,” he said. “That’s the value that we bring to the Army, and that’s where we have to put our resources in order to remain relevant.”