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Pay Me a Little Now or a Lot Later: Test and Evaluation Concepts to Assist in Managing Affordable Weapon Systems Programs

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As the acquisition workforce embraces the challenge from senior defense officials to do more without more, all aspects of managing programs must be reviewed for efficiencies. In many development programs, the cost of testing to confirm performance is a significant expense. Most important, the results from the test programs are used to determine if the products performance will meet the warfighters needs and are worth buying in production quantities. Well-thought- out test strategies developed in concert with other acquisition management strategies early in the programs life cycle help programs remain affordable in development and throughout their life cycle. While developmental testing is planned to be a period of discovery, operational testing should be a period of confirmation. Too often, operational testing has become a second discovery period. This occurs when there is inadequate time for developmental testing, a misunderstanding of operational concepts, or changes to the baseline configuration without full understanding of their impacts. If done properly, there are significant benefits to integrated testing. Simply stated, integrated testing is a collaborative effort by the entire TE community to develop a strategy for test events with data that can be shared by all members of the test and program team for independent analysis, evaluation, and reporting. Efficient integrated testing should include all types of TE contractor developmental testing, government developmental testing, live-fire TE, and operational testing. Integrated testing is a wonderful strategy to assist weapons programs in developing and executing affordable programs. Another alternative to improve affordability is a concept called design of experiments DOE. DOE is an outstanding TE concept that may allow a program to reduce the number of test events yet obtain the same insight into a weapon systems operational effectiveness and suitability.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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