Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation's (DOT&E) operations and organizational structure for overseeing operational testing, focusing on: (1) DOT&E's efforts and their impact on the quality of operational testing and evaluation in DOD; and (2) the strengths and weaknesses of the current organizational framework in DOD for operational testing.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. The Secretary of Defense should revise DOD's operational test and evaluation policies by requiring the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, in those cases where affirmative full-rate production decisions are made for major systems that have yet to demonstrate their operational effectiveness or suitability, to: (1) take corrective actions to eliminate deficiencies in effectiveness or suitability; and (2) conduct follow-on test and evaluation of corrective actions until the systems are determined to be operationally effective and suitable by the DOT&E.|
|Department of Defense||2. The Secretary of Defense should revise DOD's operational test and evaluation policies by requiring the DOT&E, to: (1) review and approve follow-on test and evaluation master plans and specific operational test plans for major systems before operational testing related to suitability and effectiveness issues left unresolved at the full-rate production decision; and (2) upon the completion of follow-on operational test and evaluation, report to the Congress, the Secretary of Defense, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology whether the testing was adequate and whether the results confirmed the system is operationally suitable and effective.|
|Office of the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation||3. In light of increasing operational testing oversight commitments and to accommodate oversight of follow-on operational testing and evaluation, the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, should prioritize his office's workload to ensure sufficient attention is given to major defense acquisition programs.|