Air Force Materiel Command has begun an effort to make its test & evaluation process—a major mission in a weapon system’s development and procurement—more efficient and, hopefully, more economical. At the end of August, a group of 31 from AFMC and the Air Staff took part in what the service calls a rapid improvement event. Their goal was to outline an early tester involvement process that they believe would help “deliver effective and suitable weapon systems on time and on cost,” said David Jerome, deputy director of AFMC’s air, space, and information operations. Problems testers face include inefficient test design, late defect discoveries, and incomplete developmental testing. Solutions proposed include making testers part of source selection teams to “capture all requirements to plan and execute tests;” identifying an early point in the program to establish an integrated test team; and educating stakeholders (system operators and procurers) about the importance of early T&E planning. It all sounds simple enough.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.