By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in eastern Kern County has been redesignated the Air Force Test Center as part of a larger effort to cut costs and redundancies, the Air Force said in a release Friday.
The change was officially recognized during a ceremony at Edwards on Friday. As part of the same ceremony, the 95th Air Base Wing at Edwards transitioned to the 412th Test Wing. Both unit changes were effective July 6.
Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, officiated the ceremony.
The redesignated center, which tests air and ground systems, is part of a plan to consolidate the command's number of centers from 12 to five.
The consolidation, announced in November, came in response to a challenge from Congress to increase efficiencies and save tax dollars, according to the release. By eliminating overhead, the new command structure will standardize processes and save about $109 million annually, according to Air Force estimates.
Under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Jr., the center will oversee work at three primary locations, including Edwards, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.
The missions at each location will continue at their respective bases, but without redundant command staffs, thus eliminating layers of management overhead, according to the release.
"For the first time this will align all (Air Force Materiel Command) test enterprise resources and activities under a single center commander," Bunch said. "Historically, we have had three different commanders watching over those resources and each doing business in different ways. It aligns all resources, accountability and responsibility under one center commander."