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Marine Corps Systems Command

"Equipping the Warfighter to Win"

Measure of success

By Carden Hedelt | Marine Corps Systems Command | May 15, 2014

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A Marine calibrates a multimeter, a device used to measure properties of electricity such as voltage, current and resistance, using the multimeter workstation standards from the Expeditionary Test, Diagnostic and Measurement Equipment Maintenance System. The ETMS lets Marines calibrate test equipment in 28 different test areas.

A Marine calibrates a multimeter, a device used to measure properties of electricity such as voltage, current and resistance, using the multimeter workstation standards from the Expeditionary Test, Diagnostic and Measurement Equipment Maintenance System. The ETMS lets Marines calibrate test equipment in 28 different test areas. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps)


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Two Marines calibrate a torque wrench using the torque standard from the Expeditionary Test, Diagnostic and Measurement Equipment Maintenance System. The ETMS lets Marines calibrate test equipment in 28 different test areas.

Two Marines calibrate a torque wrench using the torque standard from the Expeditionary Test, Diagnostic and Measurement Equipment Maintenance System. The ETMS lets Marines calibrate test equipment in 28 different test areas. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps)


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May 15, 2014 --

Standards and measurements are constant concerns in the Marine Corps.

To meet those standards and measurements, the Corps has constant tests. But what tests the test instruments?

“Twice a year, every Marine is required to deal with calibration through their height and weight requirements” said James Durham, project officer for Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment or TMDE in Marine Corps Systems Command’s Combat Support Systems. “Those scales are calibrated for accuracy annually.  This is one example of how calibration indirectly supports Marines.”

The Expeditionary TMDE Maintenance System, ETMS for short, allows Marines to calibrate test equipment in 28 different test areas. Those areas include physical and dimensional measurements like force, mass and pressure; as well as electronic measurements like voltage, resistance and transmission.

As the Department of the Navy's systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology systems and Marine Corps commandant's agent for acquisition and sustainment of warfighting systems and equipment, MCSC has procured a lot of equipment for Marines through the last 10 years. That new capability means new test equipment and a need to be able to calibrate that test equipment, deployed and in garrison.

“ETMS can go wherever you need it to,” Durham said.

Of the 11 calibration systems acquired by Durham and his team, 10 have been fielded to the Marine Expeditionary Forces and one to the Marine Corps Reserve.

“The great thing is that we’re replacing a legacy system, and all the things I’ve heard back from Marines are extremely positive,” Durham said.

According to Durham, the ETMS fills a Department of Defense requirement in metrology, the science of measurements.

The measurements ETMS provides are extremely precise.

“Say that you’re testing a radio and you have to make sure it can reach out a certain distance,” he said. “The test equipment provides you with a range of accuracy. The ETMS range of accuracy as a calibrator has to be four times more accurate than then the test equipment.”

The reason for high accuracy? First and foremost, according to Durham, are safety and functionality for Marines. Then it’s to reduce the uncertainty of the measurement of the test equipment.

“We need to be accurate for the Maries to provide them confident in their weapon systems,” he said.