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A Career in Test and Evaluation: Reflections and Observations

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Charles E. Pete Adolph retired as Director of Test and Evaluation in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Acquisition and Technology on 31 January 1994. This completed more than 30 years of federal service almost all of it within the challenging field of test and evaluation TE. Pete-as he was widely known throughout the Department of Defense testing community- enjoyed a remarkable career. It began in the late 1950s, as the heroic era of flight test in the first decade of the jet age was drawing to a close. Pete then played an increasingly prominent role in the transformation of flight testing into a systematic discipline using the latest in information technology to evaluate sophisticated weapon systems. His government career culminated as a senior director at the Office of the Secretary of Defense OSD. There, in the Pentagon. he brought his many years of engineering and management experience in the field to bear upon the formulation of policies for the acquisition and testing of weapon systems in the post-cold-war era. The text that follows began as a series of five oral history interviews conducted in the Office of the Air Force Historian between 29 July 1993 and 15 April 1994. Ms. Pauline Tubbs of the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base AFB, Alabama, expertly transcribed these interviews from approximately eight hours of audio tape. Mr. Lawrence R. Benson, the Air Force Historians Assistant for Field Programs and previously the Director of Research Services at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, organized, revised, and edited the transcript adding explanatory material in brackets or footnotes as appropriate. Mr. Adolph was accompanied at most of the interviews by Mr. Douglas Nation of the 46th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida, who was on a special assignment to the OSD TE Directorate.

Subject Categories:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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