Center hosts former AFOTEC commanders

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Four former Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center commanders met at AFOTEC headquarters May 17-18 at the invitation of the current Commander Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant for a two-day forum.

General Sargeant provided the former commanders with an update on the status of AFOTEC activities and how the Center is testing new warfighting capabilities. He also led a discussion about how AFOTEC continues to evolve and fulfill its mission more effectively.

"This event is an excellent way for the former commanders to keep up with an organization that was a very important part of our Air Force lives," said retired Maj. Gen. George B. Harrison, AFOTEC Commander from 1993 to 1997. "It also gives us an opportunity to provide the current commander a historical perspective on past initiatives and perhaps suggest ways to continue to move forward"

"Our third annual former commanders conference is proving to be a great forum to update the giants who shaped AFOTEC and discuss our current opportunities and challenges," said General Sargeant. "The former AFOTEC commanders provide feedback and share insights of their past and current experience in the operational test community. They are a passionate group who remains interested in how AFOTEC can better meet the needs of our warfighters."

"This event was a great opportunity for the former commanders to see how the command is evolving to prepare for efficient and effective operational test and evaluation now and in the future," said retired Maj. Gen. Michael D. Hall, AFOTEC Commander from 1985 to 1987. "The former commanders have seen issues in their careers that can too frequently reappear when we lose sight of the underlying rational for thorough operational test and evaluation planning, execution, and reporting. Hopefully our inputs can reinforce this and keep the 'light on' about why OT&E is so important to the warfighter."

"It is always great to see what a significant impact AFOTEC people are having on the testing of new systems," said retired Maj. Gen. William A. Peck, Jr., AFOTEC Commander from 2000 to 2003. "AFOTEC test teams make a real difference in the quality of new capabilities as they are being delivered to the operational Air Force. We don't buy mature systems and the operational look that AFOTEC men and women give to these new items helps them mature at a faster rate. That is the real value added by AFOTEC to the fielding of new systems."

"I truly believe these conferences have tremendous value in working through current issues with the lessons we've all learned through the years," said retired Maj. Gen. Felix Dupré, AFOTEC Commander from 2003 to 2005. "I hope we will keep these forums going."

AFOTEC has had 16 general officers in command since it was activated as the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center on Jan. 1, 1974. The center was redesignated as AFOTEC on April 4, 1983 to clearly delineate its role as the Air Force's operational test agency.

AFOTEC is a direct reporting unit under Headquarters, United States Air Force. It is the Air Force independent test agency responsible for testing, under operationally realistic conditions, new warfighting capabilities developed for Air Force and often Joint and coalition use.