Developing a More Flexible Operational Test and Evaluation Process for Information Technology
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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Information technology IT is ubiquitous in the modern battlespace, existing as standalone programs and embedded in almost every weapons system. Its importance to the warfighter cannot be overstated. That being said, there is a serious disconnect between the current acquisition and testing approach for IT systems and the speed at which they develop. This disconnect is partially due to the Air Force using the same acquisition approach for IT systems as it does for every other major acquisition program. That approach was originally designed for large, relatively static, hardware-based weapons systems. It is characterized by a fairly static, linear process that takes considerable time to complete. Software-based IT systems, however, are unique in that the capabilities they deliver are constantly and rapidly changing during their development and fielding phases.