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Tailoring to the Acquisition Test and Evaluation Process: Learning from the Past, Looking To the Future


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In learning from the past, we see how the need to conserve resources caused the bomber T and E community, for example, to tailor the acquisition process to use combined testing concepts1. Combined Testing is where each T and E stakeholder shares test planning and execution opportunities to collect data rather than each stakeholder conducting independent events. We also learn that changing mission needs and an acknowledgement that more flexibility was needed to accommodate inevitable changes that impacted software-intensive systems, particularly those that were heavily reliant on Commercial-of the-shelf (COTS) and Non-developmental Items (NDI), resulted in the Command and Control (C2) mission area adopting Evolutionary Acquisition2 approaches. This adoption led them to adjust their programs Test Strategies3 by: (1) Putting in place an early test planning involvement process which required the key test stakeholdersoperational testers, developmental testers and the Programs Test Manager--to engage during the Acquisition Strategy formulation phase and(2) Guiding C2 programs to include Combined Testing approaches in their strategies with continued test involvement so that they could keep pace in shorter acquisition cycle activities. Looming on the horizon is the likelihood that agile adversaries and subsequent changing mission operations will demand even higher rates of change for our systems; and, current development and acquisition cycles will find it hard to keep up. Emerging is a system development construct called Composable Capability on Demand (CCOD) for which a set of flexible, reusable tools and access to information/data are provided to the user environment. Users, in turn, finish the system to match their mission need. Who then conducts the testing in this construct and what resources will need to be applied to undertake this testing? Who evaluates the results of the test?



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