Center hosts former AFOTEC commanders' forum

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Four former Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center commanders met at AFOTEC headquarters May 11-12 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 was testing new warfighting capabilities. He also led a discussion on how AFOTEC continues to evolve and fulfill its mission more effectively.

"I was very encouraged to hear that the AFOTEC Commander now signs off on the testability of requirements for major programs," said retired Maj. Gen. George B. Harrison, AFOTEC Commander from 1993 to 1997. "That is a huge step because it helps ensure that the operational testers are evaluating systems against requirements that can be verified in an operationally realistic environment."

The attending former commanders also took part in a rededication ceremony of the Lt. Gen. Howard W. Leaf Presentation Center at the AFOTEC Headquarters building. General Leaf died April 25, 2009. When he was the AFOTEC Commander from 1976 to 1980, General Leaf improved the Center's management of resources and its role in more operationally realistic operational test and evaluation. In recognition of his leadership at the Center, he received the prestigious Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award for 1978. After he retired from the Air Force, he served as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and later became the first Director of Test and Evaluation, Headquarters United States Air Force in 1991.

AFOTEC dedicated the Leaf Presentation Center on Sept. 19, 2002. "We rededicated the presentation center to once again honor the contributions of General Leaf as part of our facility renovation. In addition, we also decided it was appropriate to honor the contributions of all of AFOTEC's former commanders by creating and unveiling collages of the accomplishments during their tenure," said General Sargeant. "It was the keen vision and outstanding leadership of General Leaf and all of AFOTEC's commanders that paved the way for AFOTEC to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

"Our second 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 the general. "The former AFOTEC commanders provided feedback and shared 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."

"AFOTEC continues to be integral to the acquisition process and the investment of early involvement by testers is key to ensuring the systems being tested are affordable, that they work right, and that they are supportable," said retired Maj. Gen. Peter D. Robinson, AFOTEC Commander from 1990 to 1991.

The former AFOTEC commanders attending the forum included: General Robinson, retired Lt. Gen. Marcus A. Anderson (1991-1993); General Harrison; and retired Maj. Gen. Felix Dupré (2003-2005). 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.