Getting to know ‘the crows’|
Posted 1/18/2012 Updated 1/18/2012
Commentary by Lt. Col. David McIllece
46th Test Squadron, Detachment 1
1/18/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Since assuming command of the 46th Test Squadron, Detachment 1, last August, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the outstanding military, civilian and contractor professionals and family members of Electronic Systems Center (ESC) and the Hanscom community.
I have been very pleased to receive positive feedback about Det. 1 in these introductions, but sometimes I hear responses like "The 46th...you must be here TDY from Eglin." Or, "I didn't know we had a test unit here at Hanscom." On a few occasions I've heard, "the 46th TS Det. 1...what's that?"
As a result of these exchanges, I would like to take the opportunity to get the word out about Det. 1 by explaining who we are and what we bring to the fight.
We are a thirty person detachment of the 46th Test Squadron, or 'the crows', which is headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
The test squadron is the principal Air Force organization for the developmental test of C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems.
That is a mouthful, but in short we help ESC program offices reduce the risks they face by testing their systems to make sure they are ready to be used by warfighters.
Our team was founded in 1998 and has served since then as the test representative to ESC.
We have 11 military, 16 contractor and three civilian subject matter experts (SME) permanently stationed here at Hanscom.
The simplest explanation of what we aim to do is captured in our vision statement: War-winning C4ISR capabilities through united test and acquisition.
That is our goal, to connect program offices with the resources of the test community to realize the ESC vision of delivering "war-winning information systems...on time, on cost!"
We provide expert Test and Evaluation (T&E) and Information Assurance (IA) consultation, strategic planning and execution services to the various program offices here at ESC.
This support is given in several different ways and tailored to fit the needs of the program. For some, it takes the shape of short-term, rapid-response assistance, given without cost to help a program manager and his or her team to address specific issues at any stage of the acquisition process.
If there is a need for greater or more sustained support, our seasoned test and IA experts can be "embedded" full time or part time into program office teams to fulfill test management or information assurance roles.
We offer support at any stage of the acquisition process, from new programs right out of the gate to programs well into sustainment.
Our SMEs don't only speak the languages of test and IA, but are also well-versed in how these fit into the larger acquisition picture.
The detachment can assist in many areas of the test process, from test planning and documentation, to witnessing test execution.
We also assist in many areas of IA, from developing strategies to navigating the certification and accreditation gauntlet.
For example, if a program needs guidance in developing testable requirements or needs assistance developing a test plan, we have expertise for that. If a program needs assistance in developing IA documentation or needs support to obtain an authority to operate, we can help get that done, as well.
I hope this brief overview gives a good introduction of who we are, what we do and how Det. 1 can help accomplish our shared mission to "empower the warfighter to leverage information as an effective weapon--anywhere, anytime!"
In short, we are here to help ESC programs succeed. If you have any test or information assurance issues or questions, contact us at 781-225-3120 or 781-225-3102.