Air Force conference focuses on test and evaluation

  • Published
  • By Katherine C Gandara
  • Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Chief of Public Affairs
The 2009 U.S. Air Force Test and Evaluation Days Conference brought more than 400 professionals from the acquisition and warfighter communities together in Albuquerque, N.M., Feb. 10 through 12 with a primary focus on operationalizing the Air Force test and evaluation enterprise across the domains air, space, and cyberspace. The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, in conjunction with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, hosted the conference.

The T&E Days conference included professionals from across the U.S. Air Force acquisition community including developmental and operational test and evaluation, requirements, research, major command, and Department of Defense leaders. Also in attendance were professionals from several other nations, industry, and academia. The event featured exhibits from several military organizations including AFOTEC, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Space and Development Test Wing from Kirtland Air Force Base as well as many other military organizations. In addition, several industry representatives provided exhibits displaying the latest technology in modeling and simulation and test instrumentation.

The AFOTEC Commander, Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant, chaired the conference. He and other senior leaders of the acquisition community stressed the importance of early influence and integrated developmental and operational test. General Sargeant explained how beginning programs with measurable, testable, and operationally relevant requirements is a fundamental key to program success.

"To achieve acquisition excellence, the testers and system program office personnel must be involved as early as possible with the major command requirements developers and continuously communicate and coordinate throughout the acquisition process," said General Sargeant. "It is clear that integrated developmental and operational testing is the most efficient use of scarce resources and leads to early identification of issues that can be resolved with the least cost and impact on the schedule required to meet warfighter demands for increased capabilities."

"Early influence is paying big dividends and we need to stay focused on codifying and institutionalizing that approach," said General Sargeant. "There are several cases where early influence and integrated developmental and operational testing recently saved the U.S. Air Force millions of dollars and accelerated fielding of new warfighting capabilities to our Airmen and joint and coalition partners."

U.S. Air Force T&E Days 2009 was the fifth and largest annual conference in a series focused on transforming the way requirements are refined and test and evaluation is conducted across the spectrum of acquisition in order to achieve the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force goal of acquisition excellence.