The fundamental purpose of Test and Evaluation (T&E) in a
defense systemís development and acquisition program is to identify the areas
of risk to be reduced or eliminated. During the early phases of development,
T&E is conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of conceptual approaches,
evaluate design risk, identify design alternatives, compare and analyze
tradeoffs, and estimate satisfaction of operational requirements. As a system
undergoes design and development, the iterative process of testing moves
gradually from a concentration on Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E),
which is concerned chiefly with attainment of engineering design goals, to
increasingly comprehensive Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E), which
focuses on questions of operational effectiveness, suitability, and
survivability. Although there are usually separate Development Test (DT) and
Operational Test (OT) events, DT&E and OT&E are not necessarily serial
phases in the evolution of a weapon system development. Combined or concurrent
DT and OT are encouraged when appropriate, i.e., conferring possible cost or
T&E has its origins in the testing of hardware. This
tradition is heavily embedded in its vocabulary and procedures. The advent of
softwareintensive systems has brought new challenges to testing, and new
approaches are discussed in Chapter 17 of this guide.
Remaining constant throughout the T&E process, whether testing hardware or
software, is the need for thorough, logical, systematic, and early test
planning including feedback of well-documented and unbiased T&E results to
system developers, users, and decision makers.
T&E has many useful functions and provides information to
many customers. T&E gives information to: developers for identifying and
resolving technical difficulties; decision makers responsible for procuring a
new system and for the best use of limited resources; and to operational users
for refining requirements and supporting development of effective
tactics, doctrine, and procedures.
1 DoDI 5000.2, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System,
May 12, 2003.