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    Two questions: 1. Does the TEMP need to address COIs or COICs if there is no OT? 2. Should the DT include Operational Scenerio Testing with the end user since there is no OT? Or would a Usability Assessment for areas considered high risk be sufffiecient? There is concern with going to a Fielding Decision without the end user providing feedback in an operational environment.


    Answer

    Critical Operational Issues (COIs) are addressed via Operational Test and Evaluation.  Critical Operational Issue criteria (COICs) are an Army term of art generally not used by Navy or USMC programs.  The Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) does need to address whatever Developmental and Operational Testing is to be conducted along with the timing in enough detail to ensure proper test planning, resource identification, scheduling and budgeting.  The program you describe is essentially to address the performance of Non Developmental Items (NDI) to determine whether they meet the user’s needs.  To properly do this, it is necessary to determine if the equipment will meet the needs of the user in the intended environment.  This should be described in the TEMP and agreed to by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA).  The level of detail, amount of operational realism, fidelity of the threat representation (including enemy tactics, techniques and procedures), physical environment depends on the amount of risk the user and the program are willing to accept.  Generally the Operational Test Agency (or the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, DOT&E, for large or oversight programs) would weigh in to provide direction.  In your case, since a specific decision to not have a formal OT&E was made, the responsibility to assure what is procured meets the user’s need, at an affordable cost, in a timely manner, falls on a team: the program office, the user’s representative (in your case the MARCORSYSCOM technical authority) and the MDA.  It is a risk management exercise.
     

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