Leading the Test Enterprise through Accelerating Change

  • Published
  • By Katherine C. Gandara
  • Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. and his wife, Sharene, visited the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center during a trip to Kirtland Air Force Base Aug. 12, 2021.

Brown visited the AFOTEC 301 operational test course where both Air and Space Force students are taught how to plan, execute and report operational testing throughout the acquisition of combat capability.

Brown talked about AFOTEC ‘s test mission and how it fits into his strategic vision for shaping the Air Force into the future.

“To address the challenges that endanger our national security, the transition to the future of the Air Force must start today,” said Brown. “AFOTEC is a part of determining where we want to be tomorrow by looking at how we test today in regard to agile combat employment. We don’t want to wait until there’s a crisis to determine that we should have done something. It’s not about what we could do, but what we’re going to do to bring the warfighter the capabilities that help them in the future fight.”

After addressing the students, Brown met with the AFOTEC Commander Maj. Gen. Jim Sears and senior staff to hear about how AFOTEC is meeting the challenge of accelerating change through the test enterprise.

“AFOTEC is focused on driving innovation, leveraging resources, and minimizing test redundancies,” said Sears. “We have a common goal with all our stakeholders to assure the best acquisition programs are delivered to the warfighters. AFOTEC, as the Air Force’s independent operational test agency, has been the focal point for providing truth to the warfighter and acquisition communities for more than four decades.

“AFOTEC strives to be involved with programs as early as possible because we believe early involvement is critical to the success of a program, said Sears. “The “O” in AFOTEC ensures all testing and evaluation is done from the perspective of operators employing weapon systems in an operationally realistic environment.”

Brown wrapped up his visit by sharing how AFOTEC’s continuing efforts to turn innovation into action are key to providing the capabilities the Air Force needs today to win tomorrow.

“Speed of relevance links AFOTEC’s operational test and evaluation contributions to the Air Force priorities that develop and field systems,” said Brown. “AFOTEC directly influences the acquisitions and capabilities delivered to Warfighters.”

During the visit, Brown recognized two of AFOTEC’s exceptional performers: Mr. Russell Foos, AFOTEC Training Chief, and Dr. Stephanie Smith, AFOTEC’s Historian.

“AFOTEC promotes a culture of empowered Airmen delivering mission success in an environment that promotes respect, trust, integrity, and professional and personal growth and development,” said Brown. “It was great to visit AFOTEC and see first hand how Team AFOTEC is accelerating change for the warfighter.”

AFOTEC is a direct reporting unit under Headquarters, United States Air Force and is the Air Force’s independent test agency with a mission to inform the warfighter and acquisition through operational test. AFOTEC evaluates the capability of systems to meet Warfighter needs by planning, executing and reporting independent operational assessments, tests and evaluations. From concept development to system fielding, AFOTEC evaluates a system’s overall operational mission capability under realistic conditions. AFOTEC’s mission requires lock-step efforts with acquisition partners focused on shortening the combat capability delivery timeline.