An analysis of test and evaluation in rapid acquisition programs
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The last decade of conflict in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and other contingency operations has brought about many technical advances for our Soldiers. In order to get new capabilities fielded quickly, the traditional Department of Defense acquisition cycle was modified to achieve rapid fieldlings. This paper examines how requirements are developed for programs of record (POR) and rapid acquisitions (RA), and then how test and evaluation (T&E) is administered to each. A materiel release is required for any equipment, regardless of how the requirement is generated. POR that are transitioned from RA still must go through the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System process, but the path may be shortened if the gains from the RI are capitalized upon. After examination of two POR that began as RA, we found clear examples of how to capitalize on the testing that occurred during the fielding of an RA. We recommend that all RA conduct T&E in a manner that provides usable data for decision makers and also to inform future POR. We further recommend that T&E be included during R&D phases of acquisition to reduce T&E burden in later phases of program.