Defense Computers

Management Controls Are Critical to Effective Year 2000 Testing Gao ID: AIMD-99-172 June 30, 1999

The Defense Department (DOD) has planned or under way hundreds of Year 2000 end-to-end test and evaluation activities that must be finished in a relatively short time. So far, DOD is taking steps to ensure that these related end-to-end activities are effectively coordinated. However, DOD is far from successfully completing its Year 2000 end-to-end test activities. Much remains to be done. DOD needs to ensure that it completes efforts to establish end-to-end test management controls outlined in GAO's Year 2000 test guide--namely, establishing an independent quality assurance program to guarantee that its test guidance, plans, and standards are being met and that any deviations or other reasons for low confidence in end-to-end test results are brought to the attention of senior management. Also, DOD must ensure that it effectively implements all of the controls it has included in its plans so that DOD executives receive timely and reliable information on end-to-end test results and limitations. With such information, DOD can act swiftly to correct known problems and to fill voids in test coverage.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's end-to-end test and evaluation plans that were available at the time of GAO's review recognize relationships and dependencies among various end-to-end test and evaluation activities; (2) GAO also found that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), in order to integrate its various year 2000 end-to-end test activities, are establishing test and evaluation management controls that are consistent with the end-to-end test management controls specified in GAO's year 2000 test guide; (3) both OSD and JCS subsequently issued guidance to the military services, Defense agencies and activities, and the Commanders in Chiefs specifying how these respective year 2000 test and evaluation activities were to be planned, executed, and reported; (4) further, JCS and OSD have established data bases to collect specified data on the respective end-to-end test and evaluation activities; (5) OSD has also established a year 2000 test and evaluation function to independently evaluate end-to-end test and evaluation results; (6) to do this, the designated test director is in the process of defining an assurance-based approach and metrics for measuring the confidence that can be attached to specific test event results; (7) however, this approach and associated metrics have yet to be established, and little time remains for doing so; (8) with less than 7 months remaining before the year 2000 deadline, DOD cannot afford major slippages in its test and evaluation schedule nor does it have the luxury of redoing tests that prove ineffective or incomplete; (9) according to DOD, 245 of DOD's 2,038 mission-critical systems--some of which are needed to execute tests and evaluation activities--are not yet year 2000 compliant, and thus many require invocation of system contingency plans as part of the test and evaluation event; (10) with so little time remaining for DOD's many organizational components to conduct hundreds of related end-to-end test events, it will be important that end-to-end test and evaluation events are well-managed; and (11) DOD must ensure that its established controls are effectively implemented for each test event.


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