Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test & Evaluation 2023 Annual Report

February 1, 2024 6:29 PM

The following is the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) 2023 annual report. It was released on Feb. 1, 2024.

From the report

In 2023 this office celebrated 40 years of service to the Department of Defense and Congress. While we honor our past, we are continuing our efforts to meet our strategic intent to transform test and evaluation to enable delivery of the world’s greatest warfighting capability at the speed of need. U.S. systems are growing more complex, and those of our adversaries are becoming more sophisticated, demanding on-par test and evaluation capabilities, tools, methods, and processes. In April of this year, we issued the DOT&E Strategy Implementation Plan – 2023. This plan is designed to capitalize on the latest advances in science and technology to modernize our craft, enable our agility and efficiency, and continue to inspire trust and confidence in system performance under wartime conditions.

To enable adequate representation of the operational environment in test and support the evaluation of the operational performance of DoD systems and capabilities in multi-domain operations, operational and live fire test and evaluation must lean more aggressively on automation, digital tools, and technologies. This includes evaluations throughout operations and sustainment as our systems and those of our adversaries as they both continue to evolve more dynamically over time. DOT&E’s advocacy for multi-domain, realistic threat environments – live, virtual, and constructive – to support adequate operational and live fire test and evaluation continues to be a priority.

Digital tools were effectively used to inject combat-realistic target scenes into the live Patriot batteries to support operational testing of the Army’s Patriot missile defense system. The fully accredited digital tool suite immersed the system and its operators into simulated, full-scale conflict; this enabled us to understand the Patriot system’s performance under a wide variety of combat conditions, including simultaneous missile, cyber, and electronic warfare attacks. Similarly, operational testing of the most recent variants of the Aegis Weapon System relied on a simultaneous anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense scenario with challenging digital threat surrogates, advancing the warfighter’s confidence in Aegis under today’s combat conditions.

The Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) – which provides a digital representation of test environments and integrates additional modern threat types, in greater densities, with threat capabilities not available on the open-air ranges – was critical to completing the F-35 initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), culminating in the final 42 percent of the required mission trial events. Testing in the JSE was accomplished after a thorough verification, validation,and accreditation (VV&A) process, setting a baseline that must continue to be updated as new F-35 capabilities and other weapons platforms such as the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, the Air Force’s F-22 Raptors, and the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) system are delivered to the warfighter.

Operational and live fire test and evaluation of DoD systems and warfighting capabilities in contested, congested, and constrained operations is key to enabling the operational effectiveness, suitability, survivability, and lethality of our joint force. Operational and live fire testing identifies problems prior to fielding and supports improvements in systems to avoid operational failures in battle. The Russia-Ukraine war, while tragic, is a real-world validation of the value of operational and live fire test and evaluation. U.S. systems such as the Javelin Anti-Tank Weapon System and the HIMARS M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System have proven themselves on the world-stage by providing force protection and bringing overwhelming firepower and mobility. The operational performance observed in this conflict is a testament to our acquisition process and the significance of adequate operational and live fire test and evaluation. This data, collected against the operationally representative and relevant advanced and persistent threats, provide the DoD’s leadership, Congress, our Service members, and the public with direct insight into whether our systems and capabilities can deter wars and ensure national

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