Innovatus Agilis Auxilium - Innovative Agile Support

  • Published
  • By Brian S. Ravak
  • 704th Test Support Squadron

The 704th Test Support Squadron, or 704 TSS, assigned to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, is a uniquely structured and extremely diverse unit within the 704th Test Group, or 704 TG. A one-stop-shop in a sense…everything but the test execution. It’s often been said about the 704 TSS, “As the enlisted corps is the backbone of the U.S. Air Force, so is the 704 TSS to the 704 TG.” The direction to Team 704 TSS, echoing the unit motto, is to deliver innovative, agile support to the 704 TG teams so the units can focus on test execution and providing superior test and evaluation to their customers.

Recognizing test and evaluation teams must meet warfighter demands at the speed of relevance, the 704 TSS provides world-class support to the 704 TG in support of the National Defense Strategy, ensuring “the Department of Defense will be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.” A direct quote from the Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) of the United States of America.

So, how exactly does the 704 TSS support superior test and evaluation in support of the NDS? The 704 TSS is responsible for a multitude of test support functions, to include but not limited to: acquisition and contracting support, environmental protection, financial management, human resources, information technology, logistics readiness, fleet logistics, and plans and programs. Additional support functions reporting directly to the 704 TG Commander include: physical and cyber security, flight, ground and occupational safety, and quality assurance/inspection readiness. Without these, and many other support services, the 704 TG would not be able to effectively and efficiently conduct its test and evaluation mission.

A great example of the agile support and value the 704 TSS brings to the fight was the reach-back support Staff Sgt. Duran Perry delivered to Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s Test Support Division’s, or TSD, Logistics Branch during the spring of 2019 Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness equipment inventory. Through Perry’s leadership, experience and exemplary support, he enabled TSD to remedy several deficiencies as a result of the extensively broad scope of effort. Perry’s actions ensures AEDC’s overall readiness and places AEDC at the forefront of enabling the delivery of “military power anywhere in the world.”

Working closely with the AEDC Plans and Programs and Financial Management offices, the 704 TSS identified over a hundred line-items and over two-hundred million dollars in unfunded requirements. Many of these requirements include multi-million dollar improvement and modernization efforts. Further, through the advocacy of AEDC/XP, the 704 TSS was able to secure restoration of funds in the 704 TG baseline budget; funding that is absolutely essential to the long-term health of 704 TG T&E capabilities and infrastructure. Recapitalizing AEDC’s test and evaluation infrastructure supports Air Force Test Center and Air Force Materiel Command decision makers’ long-range planning, ensures AEDC’s readiness for next-generation weapon systems testing and “ensures the balances of power remain in our favor.”

Another game-changer the 704 TSS delivered to the 704 TG is the Initial Operational Capability of the Defense Research and Engineering Network, or DREN. The DREN delivers High-Performance Computing, or HPC, to test engineers and data analyst, providing a much needed capability in support of critical weapons systems testing. Being flexible, innovative and ready to adapt to an ever-changing environment, 704 TSS Cyber Warriors met the demands of the test engineers. Key to this enhancing capability was the 704 TSS’s partnership with AEDC’s Test and Base Communications Branch, without whose help, HPC and the DREN would not have come to fruition at the 704 TG.

Bottom Line: 704 TSS’s job is all about support services. The 704 TSS delivers quality test support service, on time, day-or-night, and will always tell the customer “Yes”…unless we have to tell them “No.” A character trait retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Stephen Lorenz is well known for, which he included in his book “Lorenz on Leadership” when he wrote, “I never say no until I research the issue and look into all of the alternatives.” Looking at the innovative, agile support the 704 TSS provides to the 704 TG test units, Lorenz’s philosophy is readily visible. The 704th Test Support Squadron almost always finds a way to “Yes,” delivering to the warfighter superior enabling test and evaluation support, which ultimately supports the National Defense Strategy.