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Director, Operational Test & Evaluation
FY97 Annual Report

FY97 Annual Report


In FY96, the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); the Director, National Security Agency (NSA); the Director, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); and the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) concluded that we collectively could improve the way we serve the Commander-in-Chiefs (CINCs) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). We could do this by coordinating our actions in support of the CINCs when they turn to any one of our organizations seeking answers to operational questions. The Director, OT&E was selected as the Executive Agent and DoD sponsor for the partnership.

In the FY97 Defense Authorization Bill, Congress authorized DOT&E to spend up to $3.0 million on Operational Field Assessments (OFAs) in order to demonstrate proof of principle. DOT&E spent just under $2.8 million in support of projects for a number of the warfighting Unified Commands: Atlantic Command (ACOM), Central Command (CENTCOM), European Command (EUCOM), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and Transportation Command (TRANSCOM). OFAs provide a means to rapidly address in a focused, low-cost manner, capabilities and concepts of operations that are not addressed by other programs. The resulting assessments offer enhanced capabilities to the CINCs for the accomplishment of theater-unique missions.

For FY98, Congress appropriated $4.0 million for OFAs. However, the Appropriations Conference Report directed that the funds not be obligated until a Joint Staff (J8) report on all aspects of OFAs is provided to Congress. The report is due March 1998 and when the FY98 funds are released, the FY98 projects will help the Unified Command CINCs in a variety of areas: the war on drugs (SOUTHCOM), land mine detection (EUCOM), integrated air defense and mobile missile detection (CENTCOM), and underground facility detection (US Forces Korea) to name a few. We report here our view of the contribution the OFA program has made, plans for the future, and its unique strengths.

A key improvement that the Directors sought was to decrease response time in support of the CINCs. The CINC staffs generally are not as well equipped as the OFA partners for experimental design or assessment, nor is their knowledge of available resources or opportunities as complete. Although various other processes have existed within DoD to support the warfighting commanders, we wanted a process that is much faster, more responsive, and inexpensive. For example, the Joint Test and Evaluation (JT&E) Program supports the CINCs with relatively large, multi-Service T&E events. While highly valuable in its own right, the JT&E process can take several years and involve tens of millions of dollars. The Directors recognized the need to provide support to the CINCs in weeks or months, not years, and agreed to operate with a minimum of structure and modest resource requirements.

The OFA program was briefed to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October 1996, who supported the initiative and identified JCS-J8 as the JCS point of contact for CINC OFA requirements. This coordination was critical to ensure the OFA program was integrated into the National Architecture for CINC requirement support.

A simple organizational structure allows for identification of the best approach for new requests. If there is little urgency, or if other means are more appropriate to answer the question, then the organizational concept allows the request to be quickly directed to those processes.

A second improvement sought by the Directors was that all responses to CINC requests are fully coordinated. Frequently, an activity undertaken by one of the partners in carrying out its support mission can be of value to another partner in answering other CINC requirements. This can also produce cost savings. For example, the intelligence characterization of threat systems in one mission area could, with coordination and a small investment, also be part of a CINC evaluation of an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). Such coordination has allowed savings to be realized by eliminating redundancy and duplication in support of ongoing efforts through the timely sharing of information on current requests and ongoing activities.

The need for decreased response time in responding to CINC requirements, as well as the need for better coordination was recognized by Secretary Cohen in the 1998 Secretary of Defense Annual Report to Congress, in which he said, "It is essential that new operational concepts be tested by a full range of joint and Service warfighting experiments to develop a new joint doctrine." The 1996 Defense Science Board Summer Study on Tactics and Technology for 21st Century Military Superiority also pointed out that the CINCs have no dedicated resources to address operational field experiments. Secretary Cohen's vision was amplified by the National Defense Panel report, "Transforming Defense," issued in December 1997 which stated that ". . . it is only through field exercises, primarily joint in nature, that we can adjust and iron out problems before they occur in actual combat" and ". . . the real leverage of future capabilities from experiments is in the joint venue." These directions motivate the OFA partnership.


By the end of FY97, nine OFA assessments were completed or ongoing in support of six Unified Commands. The OFAs were far ranging in discipline and included:

  • Evaluation of the threat potential of hybrid systems consisting of a non-collocated ground control intercept (GCI) surveillance radar integrated with surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems;
  • Live fire characterization for small arms, anti-aircraft artillery and SAMs viewed from a pilot's perspective;
  • The Semi-Automated Imagery Program (SAIP);
  • The Distributed Joint Operations Planning Initiative;
  • Drug detection initiatives; and
  • Man-portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) countermeasures.
The FY97 OFAs were conducted at four separate range facilities and were supported by Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine equipment and personnel, both active and reserve. Generally, the Unified Command requesting the OFA participated in the assessment. This enhanced the OFA partners' understanding of the unique command operational and intelligence requirements. The Unified Commands have been uniformly positive in their response to the information supplied by the OFA and supportive of the program. The FY97 demonstration phase was highly successful.

In FY97 the partners collaborated on the following OFAs:





The first operational field assessment was in support of CINC EUCOM. An August 1996 EUCOM request was identified as an OFA candidate for which "off-the-shelf" operational and intelligence data was inadequate to answer operational questions. Between February 8 and 15, 1997, an OFA was conducted for EUCOM at McGregor Range, Fort Bliss, TX. Only seven weeks after identification of funding, an intense 5-day experiment was conducted in the field, involving radars and SAM systems operating in a non-traditional way to increase effectiveness against US fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The focus was on hybrids that EUCOM thought they might face in their theater of operation. This OFA provided an opportunity to gather information on systems deployed in a realistic threat scenario and to compare it with instrumented "ground truth" data. Data was collected from 85 runs with four types of tactical aircraft, exploring three combinations of acquisition radars and SAM systems. Working closely with the unified CINC, the OFA partners applied modest resources to quickly meet the operational commanders' requirements. The CINC customer set the scenario and timeline for responsiveness that was resourced with a first quarter, FY97, DOT&E internal reprogramming of funds, supported by both DoD headquarters and Service-level organizations. The event was highly successful and demonstrated the ability to quickly support the CINCs with flexible and coordinated intelligence and operational capabilities. Such synergism is intended to be a regular feature of future OFAs.

The first phase of the GCI-SAM OFA was conducted as a quick-look, using voice integration of the radar and SAM site. System operations were also integrated via a widely proliferated off-the-shelf data receiver/display that was augmented by voice. The EUCOM representatives who participated in the field experiment felt that the results substantiated an increase in the threat priority assigned to the system. They recommended that EUCOM and the OFA partners approve acquisition of the modest device required for full electronic integration of the hybrid and then conduct an assessment of the fully integrated threat. The second phase of the GCI-SAM OFA was conducted at Fort Bliss, TX, and at Nellis AFB, NV. The primary objective of electronically integrating the hybrid was effectively demonstrated in realistic scenarios. Significant additional findings resulted from the collection and processing efforts of overhead and airborne collectors.


The OFA results validated EUCOM assessments of GCI radars as a direct threat system for targeting and collection. The research of actual systems conducted during the OFA provided quantifiable parameters of the operational capabilities and limitations of these hybrid threat systems, required supporting data transfers, and related aircrew-warning times. This knowledge has direct application to contingency planning in geographical areas where these systems are deployed. The synergism between intelligence collection and operational resources provided a dynamic environment in which to address command concerns and issues. Major electronic intelligence (ELINT) findings included definitive ELNOT (ELINT Notations) for one GCI radar variant and valuable insight into the difficulty and necessity of collection system trade-offs in collecting and processing GCI radar signals.

The OFA demonstrated that multiple approaches to the method of electronic integration of hybrid systems are probable using either readily available (already fielded) components or commercial off-the shelf components. The OFA also collected additional data that answered customer questions to the required level of detail. This OFA provided the customer on-site access to the OFA planners, system operators, and pilots in order to immediately tailor, investigate, or repeat experimental conditions by modifying aircraft flight profiles and system operational procedures in near real-time.


 The demonstrated feasibility, capability, and practicality of hybrid networking of early non-threat radar systems with SAM systems in non-traditional configurations was demonstrated. Engineers and analysts directly responsible within the DoD/Services/Intelligence community for assessing and reporting threat capabilities and vulnerabilities of SAM systems, applicable radar systems, and command posts participated in this OFA. They collaborated to interpret OFA results in a coherent and coordinated fashion. Spot Reports were produced and awareness within the intelligence community was raised regarding the feasibility and probability of non-traditional, hybrid systems integration in areas of operations where US and allied country operational forces are deployed. A better understanding and appreciation of the GCI radar operational capabilities in all modes and the related operational advantages and disadvantages were obtained. Intelligence analysts and systems engineers were provided increased opportunity to improve their awareness of, and sensitivity to, realistic system operations. Engineers and analysts also gained an added appreciation for the amount of operator interaction and coordination required to engage tactical aircraft.


Replacement of the fire control acquisition radar by the GCI radar, when electronically integrated, produced substantially reduced pilot warning times and increased susceptibility to "heart of the envelope" engagements, while reducing SAM system susceptibility to suppression. The 150th Fighter Wing (FW), New Mexico Air National Guard (NMANG), participated in the GCI-SAM OFA. Pilots participating in the OFA were veterans of operational flights in the Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H) theater of operations. One pilot participated in Phase I of the GCI/SAM OFA and then made a scheduled operational deployment to Italy. After flying missions and consulting with operational units in the B-H theater of operations, he returned to fly in Phase II of the OFA. He facilitated a dialogue with EUCOM customer representatives, who requested estimates of some aspects of the aircraft warning and countermeasure system's performance in the hybrid threat environment. During the OFA, the 150th FW NMANG flew Block 40, F-16 aircraft configured like the aircraft deployed in B-H. The installed radar warning receivers, countermeasures systems, and current tactics performed "as advertised" in the presence of the hybrid system.


 All partners were major players in the GCI-SAM OFA. Effective communications and coordination mechanisms were established and maintained between OFA partners and the Unified Command analysts throughout OFA planning, coordination, execution, and data analysis activities. As a result, coordination and understanding of command requirements and peripheral areas of interest were greatly increased.


As a result of the GCI-SAM OFA, the Service range community became more aware of the Unified Commander's operational and intelligence requirements. The test community became familiar with unique operational requirements, concerns, and capabilities of the Unified Commands. Specific ranges modified their operational schedules and daily business practice in response to the customers' requirements for dynamic experimentation based on "quick turnaround" data availability and results.


An OFA on the Live Fire Characterization (LFC) of Small Arms, Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA), and Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) from a Pilot's Perspective was funded in FY97 as a result of TRANSCOM's expanded involvement in Military Operations Other Than War. This increased the need for US aircrews to be able to distinguish between different types and calibers of AAA and ground fire (i.e., artillery, MANPADS, automatic weapons, etc.). TRANSCOM's aircraft are routinely used to transport urgently needed equipment, supplies, and personnel to dangerous and hostile environments around the world in support of US diplomatic and military policy. It is critical that crews are able to identify and accurately relay any firing incidents to intelligence personnel. They must also be able to evaluate risk from apparent fire and abort the sortie if appropriate, thus jeopardizing their mission. No other data, from the perspective of the pilot under fire, had been collected to satisfy this critical warfighter need. Available videos do not address TRANSCOM's specific need. This urgent assessment will improve the pre-mission threat briefing and post-mission debriefing process. This product can be used to increase aircrew knowledge of AAA/MANPAD signature and characteristics. It can also be used by aircrews to identify potential threats in order to employ the proper evasive tactics.

 The LFC OFA was organized into three phases:

  •  In Phase I, small arms firing was completed at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NM, in January 1997. The following comment was provided by TRANSCOM regarding the Phase I product:

  •  "Our staff was impressed with the small arms weapon footage and is very enthusiastic about the Live Fire Characterization OFA. "
  • Phase II AAA firing was completed during November 1997 at WSMR.

  •  Phase III SAM firing has been partially completed by compiling MANPAD and SAM video firings from existing data. Additional SAM firings will be provided as missiles become available and firings are completed.
  In addition to the professional videotaping of the weapon firings, an enhanced computer simulation (flight simulation) is being produced that will allow aircrews to tailor the simulation to specific terrain, weather, and environments to enable them to visualize and prepare for specific missions. This unique simulation will save countless dollars and help prepare personnel for hostile environments. TRANSCOM (as well as other commands) will now be able to fully develop tactics and evasive maneuvers to counter the threat prior to the launching of each sortie. This assessment is critical to US diplomatic and military policy and reaches to the highest levels of US government. It serves as a clear example of the need for and utility of the OFA program, which allows both the Joint Unified Commands and the intelligence community to better support the warfighter.


The SAIP is an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) managed by ACOM. It is designed to put advanced imagery processing tools into the hands of imagery analysts that will dramatically reduce the time between imaging, recognizing, and prosecuting a target. Successful early fielding of the SAIP tools will provide an intelligence and operations interface that should greatly enhance warfighter capabilities. ACOM has requested OFA assistance in several phases of this effort. Initially, the OFA program provided awareness of and access to actual threat equipment for various DoD organizations. These threats were imaged both on a turntable and in the field to establish baseline computerized silhouette models. The OFA program is of most benefit to this and other ACTDs because it is able to conduct tailored, realistic assessments containing "what if" experiments. As with all ACTDs, there is a Military Utility Assessment phase of the development program. To fully assess its military utility, SAIP requires a substantial force-on-force military assessment in FY98 that incorporates realistic threat hardware. To date, no suitable exercise has been scheduled or planned. With FY98 OFA funding, this Military Utility Assessment could be conducted as a part of the planned CENTCOM Integrated Air Defense OFA, thereby making maximum use of funding and resources. Other ACTD programs, such as the ACOM Combat Identification ACTD, have similar assessment requirements and shortfalls. These requirements must be satisfied in order to bring military technology rapidly into the hands of the warfighter, and OFAs provide an ideal means to satisfy these critical and time-sensitive requirements.


  The SOCOM J-3 forwarded the initial Special Operations Command OFA proposal to DOT&E on January 8, 1997. The proposal requested an assessment of an innovative aggregation of systems of existing mission planning, computers, and developmental software that would allow distributed real-time SOF mission planning, analysis, rehearsal, and operational execution. This innovation, if successful, would allow Special Forces to operate at diverse geographical location using dissimilar mission planning computers and collaborate and streamline the operational planning of time-critical special operations. The proposal requested support for an assessment strategy that could take advantage of the joint SOF elements operating within Exercise ROVING SANDS in April 1997. The extremely short reaction time required to manage, fund, plan, and execute this effort was only possible within the OFA construct.

The joint assessment team assembled for the task included representatives from DOT&E, CENTCOM, SOCOM, Air Force 16th Special Operations Wing, Navy Special Warfare Group One, Army Special Forces Group 5, and analysts from the Institute for Defense Analyses. The Service teams included both active duty and reserve component personnel. During February and March, the assessment team reviewed planning documents, prepared and coordinated a multi-Service assessment concept, observed player-unit training, and participated in the initial planning exercises. This groundwork ensured a meaningful and timely operational field assessment.

The Distributed Joint Special Operations Task Force Initiative assessment within Exercise ROVING SANDS 97 was accomplished April 20-25, 1997. This OFA demonstrated the power and flexibility of the concept and process and identified hardware, software, and operator training issues and lessons. These issues and lessons have enabled SOCOM and the Service SOF components to modify training and systems to satisfy multi-Service requirements and permit interactive SOF mission planning. Additionally, the postulated operational tactics, techniques, and procedures were critiqued, assessed, and modified in a realistic joint Service exercise. As a result of the OFA the joint warfighting commands and the Service components now have a strategy to move forward toward development of a computer-based, distributed planning system that responds to the unique needs of world wide deployed special operations forces.

The OFA resulted in an efficient assessment of new tools, techniques, and inter-Service capabilities that would not have been possible without the enabling support and funding that was quickly made available through the DOT&E-sponsored OFA process.


During 1997 DOT&E, in conjunction with SOUTHCOM, initiated a number of OFAs. These OFAs are designed to examine operational issues and technologies specifically related to the SOUTHCOM mission.

DOT&E is currently engaged in four OFAs with SOUTHCOM:

(1) Assessment of the operational feasibility of extended range surveillance by Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR). This OFA is designed to determine the capabilities of ROTHR to detect and track aerial targets at ranges beyond its current operating range. This capability has a significant potential for expanding and improving surveillance of air routes in SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility. The ROTHR OFA is ongoing. Data collection is ongoing with a final report of results due in summer 1998.

(2) Assessment of SOUTHCOM's joint and combined exercise planning and execution processes. The objectives of this OFA are to assist the CINC in assessing SOUTHCOM's joint and combined exercise planning and execution process, to develop exercise lessons learned, and to suggest to the CINC areas where exercise processes may be improved. This assessment is also ongoing and three SOUTHCOM exercises are scheduled for assessment. The final report is due in summer 1998.

(3) Assessment of the APS-144 podded radar to enhance aerial interception by aircraft not otherwise equipped with intercept radar. Initial engineering development and flight testing of the podded radar were conducted in the summer of 1997. A concept for further evaluation has been developed with execution pending availability of funding.

  (4) Assessment of the "Silent Vision" multi-sensor platform for detection of concealed targets. An evaluation concept for "Silent Vision" has been developed, with execution based upon availability of funding for this platform.

  The OFAs that DOT&E has undertaken with SOUTHCOM offer an effective way to address specific operational issues which would unlikely be addressed by other means. They are focused, low cost, can be implemented rapidly, and offer quick feedback to the customer. Essentially experimental in nature, they draw upon existing DOT&E competencies and experience in OT&E. We anticipate that the ongoing OFAs will provide valuable insights for application to specific operational requirements.


The OFA partners are considering, at this time, 31 requests for OFAs, all of which are superb OFA candidates that are well within the mission areas of the OFA partners. Some of these requests involve similar operational issues that can be met by combining certain elements of the relevant OFA. These 31 requests were not the only requirements received. Nineteen other requests were considered, but OFAs were determined not to be the appropriate vehicles to answer the CINC requirements. Many of the 31 validated OFA requirements could have been initiated during first quarter FY98 had funding been available. The following table lists the generic requirement areas per command and source of requirement verification.



The above table shows that different commands may share the same information needs. Through constant dialogue this commonality can be used to achieve the most efficient use of resources. These OFA requirements will allow the partners to develop a unique synergism in order to better support the warfighter by not only closer aligning themselves with the Unified Commands, but also by providing critical data to meet wartime requirements. OFAs provide improved support and oversight of assets required for the quick turnaround of assessments. As the partners working together in response to joint Unified Command requirements, the intelligence community and the T&E community can provide greatly improved support to the warfighter.


The offices of DOT&E, DIA, NSA, and the NRO established the OFA program in response to identified support requirements from the CINCs in each of their mission areas. The OFA program conducts assessments at joint and/or national levels as requested by the warfighting CINCs. This allows the CINC to conduct an analysis and to assess operational plans while examining potential threat systems in his area of responsibility. The results of OFAs completed thus far indicate a need to continue to conduct operational assessments. Using reprogrammed funding in FY97, the OFA program performed assessments answering specific CINC requirements. The OFAs completed to date were done on short notice in response to CINC-identified requirements. They have been successful and were received favorably by the CINCs that were supported. The Service field elements participating in the OFAs have been very responsive and contributed significantly to the success of the assessments. The OFA program is critical to the warfighting CINCs and compliments the strategy of taking advantage of the peacetime lull, while maintaining flexibility and adaptability in the face of uncertainty.

FY98 funding for the CINC OFA program has been withheld pending a report to the Committees on Appropriations that addresses all aspects of the program. The report is to be prepared by the Joint Staff Director for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment (J-8) and is due March 30, 1998. It is important that the report be submitted on schedule and funding become available as soon as possible to enable the conduct of FY98 OFAs in support of CINCs' requirements.



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