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Statistical Issues in Defense Analysis and Testing: Summary of a Workshop The Future One long-term goal of the workshop was to foster more and better communication between the defense community and the statistical community about defense problems with significant statistical components. The success of this workshop in engendering an effective exchange of ideas in the weapon systems evaluation and testing arena is encouraging. However, Chu pointed out that DoD has only 272 positions classified as statisticians of its 800,000 total civilian positions, a mere .034 percent. The number 272 may even be regarded as an upper limit, because the qualifications of individuals with this classification may not be consistent with what might be desirable for professional statisticians. While statisticians are certainly not the only people capable of developing and applying sound statistical methods, these numbers suggest that there are ample opportunities to increase the effective use of statistical thinking in defense analysis. Statistical science may help to provide guiding principles for assessing the adequacy of testing and for determining the level of evidence needed to confirm the effectiveness and suitability of a prospective defense system. Legal requirements and current practices may constrain operational testing and evaluation procedures. A thorough statistical investigation might determine whether such constraints exist and quantify the effects of suboptimal test plans.
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