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Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test & Evaluation 2020 Annual Report

The following is the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) 2020 annual report. It was released earelir this month.

From the report

Integrating Developmental and Operational Test & Evaluation

We are now 20 years into the 21st century but, in many ways, DoD acquisition functions appear to be stuck in the 20th century. Our processes are too slow. By the time many of our systems roll off the production line, the requirements against which they were designed are decades-old and no longer capture the threat or warfighter needs. With our near-peer adversaries rapidly gaining ground, and even getting ahead of us in certain areas, continuing along this path is dangerous!

To help make development and fielding more dynamic, in 2020 DOT&E and the developmental test (DT) community took the first steps to integrating DT and OT. DoD traditionally has executed test and evaluation in a segmented, sequential fashion. The strict DT-OT bifurcation is delaying getting weapons into the hands of the warfighter.

Test activities in key DoD programs, including the B-21, the VH-92A, the CH-53K, the MK-48 heavyweight and MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, submarine sonar systems, and many net-centric systems, are showing that the siloed, linear approach can be set aside – and that, by doing so, DoD can cut the time to field major weapon systems by as much as 40 percent. Developmental system configurations and conditions can yield OT-quality data for certain measures of effectiveness, suitability, and performance.

Conducting incremental cyber assessments of each developmental system configuration, using the OT perspective, creates a cumulative body of evidence that enables more tailored and focused cybersecurity test events during initial OT&E (IOT&E).

A handful of guiding principles has emerged from these forays into DT-OT integration. Early DT-OT collaboration to shape DT plans is essential in order to maximize the opportunity for OT data collection during “dual-use” DT events. Similarly, the program must have a DOT&E-approved “early OT” concept prior to entering the engineering and manufacturing development phase. A collaborative, integrated-testing, data-scoring board, with program office, DT, and OT representatives, will approve each specific use of developmental and integrated test data for early OT reporting.

These process changes will not affect DOT&E’s position as the sole independent source of authoritative OT&E data and findings. Dedicated IOT&E will still be necessary; not every OT requirement can be satisfied by early integrated test events. But, by gathering OT-type data and reporting it as soon as we know it, we can make testing more efficient and effective, and support better decision making.

Download the document here.