The DoD PSM’s Role in Test and Evaluation (T&E)
During system development, the Product Support Manager (PSM) collaborates with the program’s Chief Developmental Tester (CDT) to plan and execute verification and testing of product support requirements. Under the umbrella of “Logistics T&E,” these activities may include Supportability T&E, maintenance demonstrations (M-Demos), logistics demonstrations (LOG-Demos), technical manual verification, reliability, maintainability and suitability verification, etc., with the end goal of verifying product support package performance against the approved design and Product Support Analysis. Later, during Initial Operational Test & Evaluation using low rate initial production assets, the product support package is assessed to determine the system’s operational suitability.
The PSM should appoint a member of the PSM Integrated Product Team (IPT) to the Integrated Test Team (or Test IPT) to represent product support T&E equities. T&E activities of interest to the PSM include but are not limited to verification of maintenance procedures including use of support equipment (particularly newly designed Peculiar Support Equipment) and verification of other aspects of the product support package, such as logistics footprint and loading procedures for systems that deploy via air/sealift.
Where appropriate, the PSM or Test IPT designee may assist the CDT in securing lead command or using command logistics SMEs to perform or witness T&E events and to support test planning, the Test Readiness Review, Developmental Test & Evaluation, System Verification Review, etc. In addition to hardware testing, system software testing also requires the expertise of operators, maintainers, and software engineers, for which the latter, in an ideal setting, have been involved (and possibly embedded) in the OEM’s software engineering team.
Digital programs may be able to leverage virtual testing through modeling and simulation of the system and product support package to “buy down” test points, i.e., reduce the amount of physical testing necessary to achieve the desired confidence level in test results. Critical or safety-related procedures and requirements are typically not appropriate for solely virtual T&E, but certain low-risk activities, such as routine tasks, should be considered.
T&E requirements, including Logistics T&E, are documented in the program’s Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) and follow policy prescribed in DoDI 5000.89, Test and Evaluation. The PSM should ensure good alignment between the TEMP and the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) for product support T&E.