More than 100 past and present employees gathered to celebrate over 25 years of test and evaluation excellence by the Joint Interoperability Test Command, JITC, on July 2 at its headquarters here at Fort Huachuca.
JITC’s history is built upon the testing legacy of prior organizations such as the Tri-Service Tactical Communications Joint Test Element; the Joint Interface Test Center; and the Joint Tactical Command, Control and Communications Agency, or JTC3A, which were involved in previous command and control testing on Fort Huachuca and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
“Today JITC provides critical testing and evaluation certification services to DoD [Department of Defense] and military services,” explained Col. Doug Orsi, the JITC commander, during his opening remarks. “As the only joint interoperability certifier in DoD, JITC serves a critical role in certifying IT [Information Technology] and national security systems.”
As he recognized numerous JITC senior leaders both current and previous, Orsi said, “It’s amazing how times have changed. Twenty-five years ago when I first became a signal officer, a 16-kilobit, digital-voice telephone call, through a tactical switch, either over satellite or UHF [Ultra High Frequency], was cutting edge. It was the best thing since sliced bread.
“And now we all have smart phones in our pockets which do things that used to take an S-280 shelter [full] of equipment to do. So times have changed but it’s all about the people, and people don’t change. Leadership doesn’t change.”
Continuing with the commemoration, U.S. Air Force retired Col. Gene Fenstermacher, former deputy director, Interoperability Assurance, DoD JTC3A, who played a large role in the planning, coordinating and integrating of joint interoperability testing at JITC, provided an overview of the major actions that occurred during the three years prior to JITC’s groundbreaking.
Following his remarks, Fenstermacher presented the Commander’s Cup trophy to Orsi, which had previously been awarded to the Air Force Test Element at Fort Huachuca for three consecutive years from 1980 – 1983.
Event organizers played a video that highlighted the origin of the organization and showed examples of the products that are tested and certified by JITC.
After the video, the guest of honor, Glenwood Bradley, JITC’s first commander from February 1988 to February 1995, acknowledged the guests. He spoke about the rapid growth JITC experienced after its opening and the abundance of support from higher headquarters which made the JITC mission easier.
“What an incredible, incredible experience this has been,” Bradley said. “We had a lot of firsts. As far as I can tell, we were one of the very first organizations that let out multi-contracts for the same job, providing the service.
“We started with about 100 government and military people and within a year and a half to two years, we were pushing 750 people. So I think that it’s been a very, very important organization that provides a vital service to our warfighting team.
“We are here, 25 years later,” Bradley continued. “JTC3A isn’t here, the [Joint Interface Test Center] isn’t here, JTE isn’t here … but the JITC is stronger and better than ever. So with that, I congratulate you all on 25 years. It’s been a good progress.”
Debra Depew, the longest serving JITC employee; Sgt. Maj. Lewis Brown, the JITC senior enlisted leader; Bradley; Orsi; and Marlowe Harris, the newest member of the JITC team, then cut a ceremonial cake.
Guests gathered to enjoy cake and punch after the event. Later in the day, all JITC employees were given a picnic.