Fort Hood: Post, local schools partner in effort with global reach

After five years in the making, the Operational Test Command opened the doors on post to its new Technology Integration Center. (Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Army leaders were joined by local school leaders at a ribbon cutting Wednesday on Fort Hood to show off a new facility that will have a global reach.

After five years in the making, the Operational Test Command opened the doors on post to its new Technology Integration Center.

“The center is opening just as the Army really kicks into high gear in its modernization efforts,” the executive director of the Army Operational Test Command John Diem, said.

The center will connect test technology developers and users worldwide with other engineers, analysts, technicians and those in education.

But more than that, it will provide an anchor point for the test command to work with the Army Futures Command headquartered in Austin as well as Fort Hood and III Corps.

“Some of our adversaries have made rapid advancements in technology, you've heard of electronic warfare operations by the Russians,” Diem said.

“We need to the trained workforce to move in that direction."

It’s a workforce that could come straight from Killeen’s education system, so the facility’s mission is reaching off post, as well.

The Killeen Independent School District, Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas signed a charter pledge on Cyber Information Sharing right after Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

KISD students will be able to get their associate’s degrees ahead of schedule by enrolling in the Early College High School Program at Central Texas College, and then finish off their degree plans at Texas A&M Central Texas campus and finally, get internships at Operational Test Command.

Then, cyber-wise students can move into jobs right on post.

“The ATIC will allow us to bring other government, industry and academic partners together routinely and expeditiously,” Diem said.

“We are looking to find the best tools while sharing expertise and technical insights with other organizations to leverage and promote collaboration of technology.”

During the daylong ceremony, Texas A&M University-Central Texas also announced the creation of a research park on its growing campus in Killeen.

Internship programs in the facility could start within the next four to five years.