tential advantages of the application of methods for combining developmental and operational test information, (7) the development of statistical models of fatigue of materials, and (8) the need for greater use of physics-of-failure models and for modeling some failure sources separately. A short synopsis of each of these eight key ideas is presented below.
A general issue noted by many workshop participants is that defense systems do not satisfy their operational suitability requirements sufficiently often, and as a result DoD is spending too much for system redesigns, spares management, and maintenance. Speakers stressed that a change in emphasis is needed to address this problem, including greater focus on test and evaluation for suitability, but more important, use of a number of techniques that can help identify design flaws and provide assessments of reliability performance much earlier in system development. This problem relates to the following NRC (1998:105) recommendation:
Recommendation 7.1: The Department of Defense and the military services should give increased attention to their reliability, availability, and maintainability data collection and analysis procedures because deficiencies continue to be responsible for many of the current field problems and concerns about military readiness.
A number of speakers stressed that much progress could result not only from technical changes, but also from management changes that would support a more comprehensive approach to reliability improvement. Such changes would include the following: (1) a change in the function of reliability assessment from that of a statistic used to support promotion decisions to an early and continuing objective measurement (combining a wide variety of types of information) that supports system development by helping to identify components in need of redesign or maturation; (2) the collection of information on system performance in the field to support assessment of life-cycle costs and therefore future decisions on system acquisition; (3) cataloguing of test information and field performance to support feedback loops and thereby improve system performance, as well as the design of future tests; (4) early detection of processes in trouble or “bad actors” (defined below); and (5) development of a better understanding of the relationship between reliability performance in developmental and op-