Test and Evaluation:

The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation's Role in Test Resources

NSIAD-90-128: Published: Aug 27, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the tasks of the Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), focusing on the Director's: (1) role as chairman of the Test and Evaluation Committee; and (2) use of early operational assessments.

GAO found that: (1) the Deputy Secretary of Defense appointed the director as chairman of the Test and Evaluation Committee to be responsible for planning, programming, and budgeting for development test resources; (2) DOT&E statutes did not prohibit its use of early operational assessments; (3) the director attempted to redefine the Department of Defense's (DOD) perspective on test and evaluation and to emphasize the use of early operational assessments; and (4) performing early operational assessments when production representative test articles are not available could fill a void in the availability of actual operational test and evaluation results.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 13, 1991, DOD issued a charter for the Defense Test and Evaluation Steering Group that defines roles and responsibilities for managing test resources within DOD. This charter identifies DOT&E as an advisor to the committee. As a result, DOT&E is not to plan, program, and/or budget for development test resources.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should keep development and operational testing independent and separate by ensuring that the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, provides advice only to those committees or councils that are responsible for the planning, programming, and budgeting of development test resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On October 4, 1991, DOT&E informed GAO that its role with respect to test resources is now strictly that of oversight and advice. The services have been assigned full responsibility for test resource budgeting.

    Recommendation: The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, should perform oversight and policy functions by reviewing test plans and results and making recommendations to the Secretary of Defense so that test resource needs are given appropriate consideration.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation

 

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