The Air Force Flight Test Center re-designation as the Air Force Test Center was officially recognized during a ceremony here July 13. As part of the same ceremony, the 95th Air Base Wing at Edwards transitioned to the 412th Test Wing. Both unit changes were effective July 6.
Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, officiated the ceremony.
As the focal point for AFMC’s test of air and ground systems, the center is part of an AFMC construct that consolidates the command’s number of centers from 12 to five.
The consolidation, announced in November 2011, is a major part of AFMC’s response to a Congressional challenge to find efficiencies and save tax dollars. By eliminating overhead, the command will improve the way it accomplishes its mission, ultimately providing better support to the warfighter. The restructure will standardize processes and save about $109 million annually.
“AFTC and its people will continue to be critical to AFMC achieving its mission of providing warfighter support,” Wolfenbarger said. “The work done across all AFTC locations is important not only to the AFMC mission, but to the greater Air Force mission as well.”
Under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Jr., the center will have oversight of work carried out at three primary locations across AFMC, including Edwards and Eglin AFB, Fla., where the 96th Air Base Wing will be re-designated the 96th TW on July 18. The people and mission of the current 46th TW will transition to the newly designated 96th TW. Both the Eglin and Edwards AFB test wings will align to the AFTC.
Also joining AFTC is the mission of Arnold AFB, Tenn., where the Arnold Engineering and Development Center was re-designated as the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex on July 6.
The missions at each location will continue at their respective bases, but without redundant command staffs, thus eliminating layers of management overhead.
“For the first time this will align all AFMC test enterprise resources and activities under a single center commander. Historically, we have had three different commanders watching over those resources and each doing business in different ways. It aligns all resources, accountability and responsibility under one center commander,” said Bunch.
“I look forward to working with all the men and women across the Air Force Test Center to ensure we start off on the right foot and are fully successful. The overall impact to the warfighter should be more timely and efficient test execution,” he continued.
Re-designation of the AFFTC to the test center at Edwards and the establishment the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker AFB, Okla., and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, are the first major steps of a transition phase during which center frameworks will be built and units will be assigned, leading up to initial operational capability on Oct. 1. Full operational capability is planned for mid-2013.
The test, sustainment and life cycle management centers will be joined by the present Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., to complete AFMC’s five-center line-up.