In the area of organizational context we will examine case studies of how systems have progressed from the Mission Needs Statement through final production or termination of the system to see how the acquisition system works and what opportunities exist for change, for example, to incorporate current state-of-the-art industrial practices. To this end, we will study the role of the program manager. We will also look at the current role in the acquisition process of various oversight and consulting groups, such as the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. Finally, we will address issues involving the extent to which additional statisticians, statistical training, or access to expert statisticians would improve operational testing.

Our efforts in this area will include studying recent General Accounting Office reports examining the manner in which systems have progressed through the stages of development (milestones). In addition, we will interview principals involved in the systems identified for case study and general experts in the acquisition process for their perspectives on how the process works and what changes might produce improvements. We will also seek some indication of the degree of statistical training of the various members of the operational testing community.

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