DCS employee-owners and team members (pictured left to right) are Joseph “JR” Felipe (Spectrum), Matt “Fingers” Feringa (TacAir), Katherine “Marshal” Dillon (DCS), Jon “Hans” Wendell (DCS), Aaron “GOTE” Jirovsky (DCS), Brenda “Spike” Weems-Hunter (DCS), Richard “Gris” Springer (DCS), Carnett “Confetti” Rischar (DCS), and Roger “BK” Felipe (Spectrum). Not pictured – Matt “Jams” Shihadeh (TacAir). TacAir and Spectrum support DCS as subcontractors on this effort.

The Joint Operational Test Team (JOTT) from the Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) Detachment 6 was co-awarded the AFOTEC Test Team of the Year. Heavily staffed by DCS employee-owners, the JOTT completed Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) testing, the final step toward the F-35 Lightning II program’s Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) completion. The Team showed exemplary determination and adaptability, accelerating JSE accreditation by more than six months. Their approach has the potential to be adopted across all U.S. test activities, especially in the modeling and simulation domain. The Team integrated with the JSE developer and the Verification and Validation Team to achieve credible real-world replication, significantly increasing simulation credibility, within much reduced timeframes.  This Team provided the leadership and flight test program discipline necessary to overcome years of delays, accelerating the completion of IOT&E in the $400M JSE facility at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.

The Pentagon’s Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation analyzed the data collected in the F-35 tests and issued a report used to support the Milestone C decision. The Team’s efforts led to the Pentagon clearing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for a long-awaited decision to move forward with full-rate production. William LaPlante, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, signed a memo approving the Milestone C Decision.

“This is a major achievement for the F-35 program,” LaPlante said in the statement. “This decision — backed by my colleagues in the department — highlights to the services, F-35 Cooperative Program Partners, and Foreign Military Sales customers that the F-35 is stable and agile, and that all statutory and regulatory requirements have been appropriately addressed.”

The Australian lead, WGCDR Leigh Wrighton-Jones, RAAF, for JSE accreditation stated, “The resources available to us were scarce but key DCS personnel allowed the JOTT to not only take on the F-35 Joint Program Office’s program leadership role but implemented a non-traditional Verification and Validation approach to get the job done when many said it was not possible. The DCS personnel were instrumental in this effort, whether it was leading test planning, execution, intelligence assessments, analysis, or reporting, and I could not have led this activity without their leadership, expertise, wise counsel, and advice”.