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Navy fielding systems without adequate testing, says DOT&E. (EC Monitor).

In an August 1 letter to Secretary of the US Navy Gordon R. England, a copy of which was obtained by JED, Director of Operation Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) Thomas P. Christie stated that he is "concerned about an apparent trend by the Navy to deploy an increasing number of combat systems into harm's way that have not demonstrated acceptable performance during adequate operational test and evaluation." He recommended that Secretary England adopt a policy of deploying combat systems only after they have done so. Among the systems Christie cited were the Joint Standoff Weapon (ISOW) and three F/A-18E/F Super Hornet systems: the Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) sensor, the Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP), and a classified system.

In a letter dated September 24, a copy of which was also obtained by JED, Secretary England responded to the DOT&E by saying, "It is Navy's practice to complete OT&E prior to deployment decisions, but operational considerations sometimes dictate that we establish an early operational capability to meet warfighting needs. This is especially true following September 11." The risks in each of the programs cited in Christie's memorandum, England wrote: "were evaluated and considered acceptable to deploy these weapons to support our emerging plans in the war on terrorism."

Each system, he noted will continue with efforts to complete OT&E as planned.

This is not the first time Christie has criticized a service for pushing a system into the field without "adequate operational test and evaluation." Last year. the DOT&E charged the Air Force with having done the very same in fielding its Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, the performance of which in support of missions from Kosovo to Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan has been repeatedly lauded by senior defense officials and even President George W. Bush (see "DOT&E Slams Predator Despite Recent Successes," JED. December 2001, p. 36).

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Title Annotation:Director of Operation Test and Evaluation
Author:Rivers, Brendan P.
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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