United States Army Operational Test Command - Mission Statement

U.S. Army Operational Test Command, in collaboration with our Test and Evaluation partners, conducts independent operational testing to inform acquisition and fielding decisions for Army and select multi-service Warfighting systems.

Fire Support Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command - History

The history of the Fire Support Test Directorate, formerly known as The Field Artillery Board, closely parallels that of the U.S. Army. During the formation of the Colonial Army, the Artillery, Engineer and Ordinance branches were combined into one arm of service. This arm functioned under the Commander of Artillery – Brig. Gen. Henry Knox, the first chief of the Artillery under Gen. George Washington. In 1776, Knox recommended to Congress, “That all matters respecting Artillery and Artillery stores be under the direction of a Board of Ordnance whose business shall be the regulation and management of the affairs of this Department and to whom returns shall be made.” Although this was in effect the first Artillery Board of the Army, it ceased to be active and no permanent board existed after the close of the Revolutionary War.

The effectiveness of the Artillery during battles of the Civil War gave permanent representation to this arm of service at the War Department, thus forming the Artillery Board of 1866. By order, the board prepared and submitted a study for an Artillery School and Artillery instruction at Army posts. The result of the recommendation of the board was the organization of the present Artillery School. In the fall of 1866, the board adjourned and never reassembled.

Consequently, there are no such records of proceedings from that date until April 28, 1900 when Headquarters, U.S. Army directed that the “Commandant of the Artillery School together with the heads of several departments constitute a board of Artillery to which the Commanding General of the Army might refer for opinions and recommendations on matters pertaining to the Artillery.” Established in 1902, the Field Artillery Board dealt solely with Field Artillery matters. Orders from the Headquarters of the Army dated June 25, 1902, specified that, “The Commanding Officer of the Battalion of Field Artillery and the Captains of the Batteries of Field Artillery stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas shall constitute a board to be known as “The Field Artillery Board” to which may be referred from time to time all subjects concerning the operations of Artillery in the field upon which the commanding general of the Army may desire its opinion and recommendations.” The present day Fire Support Test Directorate is the lineal descendant of the Field Artillery Board organized at Fort Riley by these orders.

The Field Artillery School of Fire was formed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1911. To better facilitate coordination between the school and the Field Artillery Board, the Field Artillery Board moved from Fort Riley to Fort Sill in 1913. The Field Artillery Board continued to function at Fort Sill until 1916 when its members, together with all other field Artillery officers stationed at Fort Sill, were dispatched to the Mexican border in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Reconstituted after the conflict, the Field Artillery Board remained at Fort Sill from 1918 until 1922. Directed by the Chief of the Field Artillery, Maj. Gen. W.J. Snow, the Field Artillery Board moved to Camp Bragg, North Carolina to be nearer his office in Washington D.C. and the manufacturing centers located in the east. While at Camp Bragg the Field Artillery Board continued its primary function of testing and improving new and existing equipment and techniques. Permanent quarters were built for the Field Artillery Board at Fort Bragg in 1933 while under the presidency (director) of Col. McIntyre. The Fire Support Test Directorate at Fort Sill is located in McIntyre Hall.

During World War II the Field Artillery Board kept abreast of actual battlefield performance of materiel by maintaining observers on all fronts and by remaining in close contact with the other branches of service and civilian agencies. Projects completed during WWII included testing of 105mm and 155mm Howitzers, ammunitions and fuses; skis and sleds for transporting Artillery equipment in snow, mud and jungle terrain; the T-1 Observation Tower for forward observers in jungle operations; summer and winter uniforms; and an amphibious 6X6 vehicle. Additionally, numerous tests were conducted to support airborne unit operations and determine the most effective methods for rigging equipment.

On October 1, 1945, the Field Artillery Board was integrated into a system of Army Ground Forces Boards, with each Board charged with testing related items of equipment rather than items peculiar to one arm. The Army Ground Forces Board Number 1, the largest of the established boards, included test sections for Field Artillery, Sea Coast Artillery, Communications and Electronics, and Army Aviation and Airborne Testing. In June of 1954, the Field Artillery Board was again moved to Fort Sill to better facilitate coordination and communication of ideas between the Field Artillery Board and the Artillery School.

In 2009 the Fire Support and Air Defense Artillery Test Directorates merged to create the Fires Test Directorate at Fort Sill. This action paralleled the merger of the Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery branches. In November 2017 the Air Defense Artillery Test Directorate was reestablished at Fort Bliss, TX and the Fires Test Directorate was once again reflagged as the Fire Support Test Directorate. The directorate is a subordinate of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command located at Fort Hood, Texas, which is the sole independent operational test agency for the U.S. Army.

Telephone Directory

  • Director – 580.442.6202
  • Deputy Test Manager – 580.442.4400
  • Sergeant Major – 580.442.8758
  • Administrative Assistant – 580.442.5909
  • Operations – 580.442.3717
  • Modeling and Simulation – 580.442.8400
  • Security – 580.442.3670
  • Artillery Test Division Chief – 580.442.6308
  • Field Artillery Branch (Weapons/Munitions) – 580.442.8487
  • Mission Command Branch (Digital Systems/Fire Support/Radars) – 580.442.8407