BOX 2.7 DOD Testing and Evaluation
The DOD maintains an extensive test and evaluation structure that encompasses developmental and preproduction testing by the services' program offices and independent testing by designated service organizations reporting up through their service chiefs and to the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. The primary purpose of this testing is to ensure that a system meets specified functional and technical performance criteria and is operationally capable. The goal generally is to ensure that a system meets the requirements established for the system in its Test and Evaluation Master Plan, prior to its certification for full-scale production (as opposed to low-rate initial production) and its subsequent fielding and use by the operating forces. For C4I systems interoperability, the Defense Information Systems Agency through its Joint Integration and Engineering Office and subordinate Joint Interoperability Test Command performs operational test and evaluation for joint C4I systems throughout the entire system acquisition and deployment process.
Additional follow-on test and evaluation of C4I systems are also done for selected critical systems. This type of testing takes two forms. The first is a continuing test program of quantitative measures of the day-to-day operational performance of fielded systems. Diagnostic evaluations are performed to identify problem areas, and recommendations (concerning engineering or software changes, as well as procedures) are provided to address performance problems. Continuing follow-on testing and evaluation provide the operational and administrative commands a timely assessment of system operational performance and readiness. The second type of follow-on testing and evaluation for interoperability involves selected joint force exercises and tests in simulated operational environments. It provides both qualitative and selected quantitative assessments of the performance of C4I systems and is usually done at somewhat less than full scale, compared to actual operational environments.