By Pamela Ramey, USAG RedstoneJune 25, 2010
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Test Week 2010: "The Impact of Defense Acquisition Reform on Test and Evaluation --One Year Later" convened last week at the Von Braun Center.
The event, sponsored by the Test Management Resource Center of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, drew about 710 attendees and 125 exhibitors from all services, industries and academia supporting the war fighter. The V22 Osprey from the 413th Flight Squadron was on display.
Event coordinator Sherry Hilley said the purpose of the event was to "bring the testing and evaluation community together, to share our experiences and show the services and systems available in support of the war fighter."
Senior leadership from many branches of the armed forces spoke at the event, including Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen Sargeant, commander of AFOTEC; Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology; Air Force Brig Gen William Bender, director of war fighter systems integration, Office of Warfighting Integration and chief information officer, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force; and Dr. Michael Gilmore, director, DOT&E, OSD.
This year's event gave government and contractor personnel the chance to see the Joint Air Close Air Support Distributed Test, executed throughout the program. The VBC served as the live test control site, with distributed virtual and constructive air and ground forces participating from Alabama, Florida, Texas and California. The test was closed to the public.
In addition to the exhibits and distributed test, attendees heard three Blue Ribbon Panels discuss year one of the Acquisition Reform Act, and participated in two "Meet the Experts" Town Hall Debates on government in-sourcing and the T&E work force, and the impact of organizational conflicts of interest on T&E.
The prevailing theme of many of the speeches was meeting the urgent operational needs of Soldiers.
"It's a joint effort between the government, industry and academia," said Dr. John Foulkes, director of the Test Resource Management Center. "Hearing the issues and challenges of our mission from both sides of the DoD community allows us to share our experiences and to build bridges. We all have the same goal and challenges: get the equipment tested better, faster and cheaper."
Capt. Nassar Jabour, S-3 Plans 54 EN Battalion (former platoon leader of DET 2 RCP 13 541st EN Company), who just returned from Afghanistan, expressed his thanks to the conference attendees Thursday, and gave advice regarding equipment effectiveness.
"What you do saves hundreds of thousands of lives. But don't wait two years, looking for the silver bullet," he said. "We are war fighters. Give me a 70 percent solution and some men with know-how, and we will make it work."