AFTC commander bids farewell

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch
  • Air Force Test Center commander
When I was told in January 2012 I would have the privilege to serve as the first Air Force Test Center commander, I was elated. I thought I knew what a dedicated team of professional Airmen the new AFTC would be comprised of and how the test mission would be executed. I use the word "thought" because over the last three years your efforts across the board have demonstrated you are doing much more than I imagined as we started this journey and you have raised the level of your performance more than I thought possible.

Over the last three years, Caroline and I have been continually amazed as you personify integrity, service and excellence while we live and work alongside you. You bring those Air Force core values to life as you professionally execute your wartime mission every day.

Your accomplishments are many. You have moved from a site-centric view of developmental test and evaluation to an Enterprise approach to address customers' developmental test and evaluation needs by sharing resources, linking sites, building cross-site Combined Test Forces, standing up and then dissolving virtual CTFs to meet emerging needs and many other feats. You have developed and tested systems and provided critical information to decision makers. As a result, you have ensured that systems have been thoroughly tested with their performance verified, documented and reported so the decision makers have the best, most complete information upon which to base their decisions.

You have executed tests for systems put on the fast track to meet urgent operational needs for emerging issues, tested the latest systems our Air Force, sister services and allies are counting on to execute the nation's defense far into the future, and tested legacy systems to ensure they remain relevant as we intend to keep them in the field for many years to come. You have even re-created capabilities to test systems we were told we would never test again. 

You have identified the shortfalls in test capabilities across our enterprise and built a roadmap and strategy to modernize and revitalize existing test capabilities so we are prepared to test our future systems. You have identified new test requirements and emerging test needs and developed strategies to test in ways we never envisioned.

You have adopted the One Wing, One Mission mantra as we merged wings and built a unified force moving forward. You have removed artificial barriers that impaired efficiency, and today we are more responsive because of it. You have provided world-class support to the men and women on our installations so they can focus on their mission with clear minds.

You have built stronger relationships with our very supportive communities. You have demonstrated our belief that community and sites must partner for the mutual benefit of each. You have fostered those relationships and made those bonds even stronger.

You are the foundation upon which AFTC is built. Our Air Force - without peer - executes its air, space and cyberspace mission today and will execute its mission tomorrow in large part due to your dedicated efforts to develop and test systems that are currently fielded or soon will be fielded. Your intellectual capital, innovation, professionalism, craftsmanship, and skills all make AFTC successful. You enable the Air Force mission!

While we have made great strides over the last three years, we must continue our enterprise journey so we become even more agile, responsive, and innovative. We must each play our part to ensure our Air Force continues to advance and stay ahead of our adversaries.

You have made the last three years extremely rewarding and a lot of fun. Caroline and I have come to treasure our time here because of you. It has been a privilege and an honor to work for you as the AFTC commander.  I wish all of you the best as you further develop the test enterprise.

Thank you for what you do each and every day to make AFTC - and therefore the Air Force - successful and the best in the world!