Test Center leadership plan future of test

Leaders from the three bases that make up the Air Force Test Center came together to plan the future of Air Force test during an annual strategic planning gathering here Dec. 3-5, 2019.

Respective wing commanders and senior leaders joined Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, AFTC commander, to evaluate past performances, discuss ideas and establish goals for the year ahead. The gathering occurs at a different AFTC site each year between here, Edwards AFB, Calif., and Arnold AFB, Tenn.

“We are a lynchpin to the future superiority of the free world,” said Azzano. “Everything we do moves the ball forward.”
According to Azzano, the center currently runs more than 670 programs with many involving cyber capabilities and next-generation technologies such as hypersonics, autonomous systems and directed energy.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, Air Force Test Center commander, tours the 413th Flight Test Squadron’s helicopter testing areas on Duke Field Dec. 5, 2019, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The general toured the base during a strategic planning visit. (Air Force photograph by Jasmine Porterfield)

The agenda focused on how to advance these technologies to meet National Defense Strategy initiatives. Other topics included personnel, infrastructure and budget as they pertain to mission success and strategic deterrence.

“We need to stay ahead of our adversaries,” said Azzano. “We need to be faster, have more agility and flexibility and take on more risk.”

During the event, leaders got an inside look into several Eglin assets and capabilities, including the Air Force’s new HH-60 Combat Rescue helicopter, MH-139 facilities, the Invisible Wounds Clinic, and base-specific fire suppression practices being considered for Air Force-wide use.

“Do not underestimate your role in equipping the Warfighter,” said Azzano. “Every new technology — hypersonics, directed energy, artificial intelligence, autonomy — and the systems that utilize these technologies on the future battlefield, will be developed and tested by the Air Force Test Center. Test is where the biggest dreams make contact with the physical world and we live at that point of execution.”

An updated AFTC Strategic Plan is scheduled to be published in early 2020.

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