Officials at the Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department want to bring technology tests to an earlier stage in the acquisition process before any production contracts are signed, Federal News Radio reported Wednesday.
Jared Serbu reports that the “Shift Left” initiative aims to facilitate testing of technology systems and components at the developmental phase instead of at the Milestone C phase to mitigate the potential of added costs and delays.
David Brown, deputy assistant defense secretary for developmental test and evaluation, and his DHS counterpart Steven Hutchison will lead efforts to change the test and evaluation infrastructure at the two agencies, the report said.
Brown said that these early-stage tests should simulate real-world conditions and include interoperability and cybersecurity during systems engineering as pre-production requirements.
“This stuff needs to be used in an operational context, and if it can’t, that’s not something you can wait to discover after you’ve already committed to a design and a manufacturing process,” Brown told the station.
“If you don’t have things right at that point in time, those deficiencies in the system are either going to be too costly to fix or they’re going to be addressed in some future increment,” added Hutchison.
Serbu writes that Congress has taken action to promote developmental testing by tasking DoD to appoint a director and allot resources for DT&E but has not mandated the corresponding change to the acquisition process.