Original Date: 08/08/1994
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
The U.S. Army Combat Systems Test Activity (CSTA), located at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, provides a premier range and test facility for the Department of Defense. Chartered in 1917 to provide testing of field artillery, weapons and ammunition, CSTA now operates under the Army's Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM) and has become a world-class, all-purpose testing center. CSTA encompasses state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, advanced instrumentation, and comprehensive support capabilities to test a wide range of military weapons systems, equipment, and materiel. Testing covers the full range of life cycle support from concept evaluation and research prototypes through advanced development to quality assurance testing of production items. Testing is primarily performed for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, but CSTA also offers its services to other government agencies and private industry as well.
Capabilities at CSTA are sustained by scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technicians, and support employees, totaling 1000 military and civilian personnel. These capabilities include the ability to design, develop, and construct state-of-the-art instrumentation incorporating advanced technologies necessary to keep pace with testing requirements of current military systems. Soldiers from the field participate as members of test teams, bringing valuable field experience and training to the test effort. Located on 52,000 acres, CSTA maintains numerous exterior and interior firing ranges, automotive courses, environmental chambers that simulate temperature conditions, underwater explosive test ponds, non-destructive test facilities, and an extensive industrial complex to support equipment maintenance and experimental fabrication. These capabilities are used in the three principal directorates for technical management including Live Fire Vulnerability, Automotive and Support Equipment, and Armament and Advanced Technology.
CSTA's impressive capabilities are enhanced by a strong, dedicated workforce that is not content with just being a government test facility with unique capabilities. It has actively sought to expand its capabilities and improve customer relations, satisfaction, and productivity over the last few years. This effort is initiated with a basic Test Performance Rating Questionnaire mailed to each customer at the completion of the test or with the final test report if one is produced. This simple approach provides CSTA with important information and is used to guide actions to ensure that the customer is satisfied with performance and value.
An expanded marketing program has developed capability briefings, published new brochures, and provided customer awareness training for the test directors who have the greatest contact with CSTA customers. New customers from other services have been secured, and an Office of Research and Technology Applications established to address technology transfer areas and to enter into creative partnerships. The successful marketing effort is reflected in the $51 million dollars CSTA customers have invested in its facilities since the program began.
Communication is continuously stressed, as customer service is a critical element to CSTA's success. Issues with customers can be directly addressed by a team that visits the customer with the power to resolve the issues or to include the laboratory directors or the technical director in the problem solution. Customer conferences are held periodically to discuss issues that are important to the customer.
These elements of and emphasis on customer satisfaction and service set CSTA apart. With defense dollars continually at risk of being reduced, ensuring that military and civilian customers are satisfied with testing capabilities and support means the survival of this unique facility. This concerted effort on CSTA's part led to its award of the U.S. Senate Productivity Award for Maryland in the Service Category, with a citation for "commitment to its employees, its customers, the community and to continuous improvement of productivity and quality." The BMP team found the following practices to be among the best in government and industry.
TABLE OF ACRONYMS:
The following acronyms were used in this report:
|ARDEC|| ||Army Research and Development Engineering Center|
|ATIRS|| ||Army Test Incident Reporting System|
|CSTA|| ||Combat Systems Test Activity|
|FIS|| ||Firing Impulse Simulator|
|FPS|| ||Frames Per Second|
|LAT|| ||Large Article Test|
|LOPS|| ||Low Odor Base Paraffin Solvent|
|MTS|| ||Moving Target Simulator|
|PMIS|| ||Program Management Information System|
|RCD|| ||Resource Coordination Division|
|RPM|| ||Readings Per Minute|
|TAQ|| ||Total Army Quality|
|TECOM|| ||Test and Evaluation Command|
|TRMS|| ||Test Resource Management System|
|TWI|| ||Trench Warfare I|
|TWII|| ||Trench Warfare II|
|UNDEX|| ||Underwater Explosion|
|VESA|| ||Vibration Expert System Analyzer|
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Point of Contact for this survey.