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    Why do we have to donduct early operational assessment? Is it important?


    Answer

    Here are several references that define what Operational Assessments (OAs) and Early Operational Assessments (EOAs) are and what they are intended to accomplish.  Basically OAs are done before Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), on equipment or simulations or software that is still in development and not yet production representative in order to enable the results from the assessment to be available early enough influence the design.
     
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    From Glossary of Defense Acquisition Acronyms and Terms
    Fourteenth Edition, July 2011, https://dap.dau.mil/glossary/pages/2330.aspx
     
    Operational Assessment (OA)
    An evaluation of operational effectiveness (OE) and operational suitability (OS) made by an independent operational test activity, with user support as required, on other than production systems. The focus of an OA is on significant trends noted in development efforts, programmatic voids, risk areas, adequacy of requirements, and the ability of the program to support adequate Operational Testing (OT). An OA may be conducted at any time using technology demonstrators, prototypes, mock-ups, Engineering Development Models (EDMs), or simulations, but will not substitute for the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) necessary to support Full-Rate Production (FRP) decisions. Normally conducted prior to, or in support of, Milestone C.
     
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    From ACQuipediahttps://acc.dau.mil/ILC_EOA
     
    Early Operational Assessment (EOA)
    An Operational Assessment (OA) conducted prior to or in support of Milestone B. (DAU Glossary)
    An Operational Assessment is an evaluation of operational effectiveness and operational suitability made by an independent operational test activity (OTA), with user support as required, on other than production systems. (DAU Glossary) The focus of an OA is on significant trends noted in development efforts, programmatic voids, risk areas, adequacy of requirements, and the ability of the program to support adequate operational testing. An OA may be conducted at any time using technology demonstrators, prototypes, mock-ups, engineering development models (EDM) or simulations, but will not substitute for an Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) required for the Full Rate Production Decision Review. The PM can request the OTA conduct an Early Operational Assessment (EOA) of prototype items of equipment. The EOA’s purpose is to help the PM identify and reduce program risk before program initiation. The PM should request an Operational Assessment (OA) of weapons system components and/or system level EDMs during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase to meet exit/entrance criteria and to help evaluate system performance and assess technical risk before Milestone C (production decision).
     
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    From DODI 5000.02, Encl 2, para 6d (14), https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=332538
    The Department of Defense may not conduct OT&E, including operational assessment (OA), IOT&E, or FOT&E, until the DOT&E approves, in writing, the OT&E portions of the T&E plan for programs on the OSD T&E Oversight List and the adequacy of the plans (including the projected level of funding) for the OT&E to be conducted in connection with that program. This does not preclude the use of data from other test events in OT&E evaluations. OTA and DOT&E evaluators shall take into account all available and relevant data and information from contractor and government sources.
     

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