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An Operational Test Agency (OTA) is an independent test and evaluation organization designed to oversee and carry out all phases of operational test and evaluation. The OTA is responsible for planning and conducting operational tests, reporting results, and providing an evaluation of each tested system’s operational effectiveness, suitability, interoperability, and security. Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) is the OTA for Information Technology (IT) and National Security Systems (NSS) acquired by the Defense Information Systems Agency, other Department of Defense (DoD) organizations, and non-DoD entities. Each of the four military services also has an OTA.

Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) is used in the procurement process to determine the operational effectiveness, suitability, interoperability, and security of the item or system being tested. The key defining characteristics of OT&E are: 1) a field test under realistic conditions; 2) on production representative systems; and 3) operated by typical users. The resulting product of OT&E is timely, useful, and operationally-relevant information to programs' decision makers. In a nutshell, OT&E determines if the intended users can utilize the system to do their jobs, and if the system can be operated and sustained in its intended environment.

There are several reasons why OT&E is conducted. First and foremost, it is the law. Title 10 U.S. Code mandates OT&E. By ensuring user/operational focus throughout the developmental process, OT&E provides opportunities to identify and correct deficiencies early. The result is increased quality and confidence levels. Finally, the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) depends on the results of OT&E to reduce the risk of making an incorrect acquisition decision. The goal of the MDA is to make one of two correct decisions: 1) deciding to proceed with a good system, and 2) deciding not to proceed with a bad system.

Operational effectiveness is the overall degree of mission accomplishment of a system when used by representative personnel in the environment planned or expected for operational employment of the system considering organization, doctrine, tactics, survivability, vulnerability, and threat.

Operational suitability is the degree to which as system can be placed satisfactorily in field use with consideration given to availability, reliability, maintainability, usability, documentation, service desk, and training requirements.

Operational interoperability is the ability of systems, units, or forces to provide data, information, materiel, and services to, and accept the same from, other systems, units, or forces; and to use the data, information, materiel, and services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively together. IT and NSS interoperability includes both the technical exchange of information and the end-to-end operational effectiveness of that exchanged information as required for mission accomplishment. Interoperability is more than just information exchange; it includes systems, processes, procedures, organizations, and missions over the life cycle.

Operational security is the information operations that protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation. This includes providing for the restoration of information systems by incorporating protection, detection, reaction, and recovery capabilities.

JITC also supports the fielding of global net-centric solutions (often referred to as Enterprise Services) through Service Validation Testing (SVT) by providing continuous, agile, and effective test and evaluation services to joint acquisition programs within the Enterprise Services construct and provides a risk-based approach for testing web-enabled capabilities and Service Oriented Architectures. SVT focuses testing on mission capabilities and integration into enterprise environments to identify issues early into the service lifecycle, as well as determine the extent releases meet the criteria for utility and warranty.

JITC’s extensive range of expertise and customer-focused experienced professionals make us the premier organization for conduct of OT&E and SVT.


JITC OT&E/SVT persistent core mission areas are to:


OT&E/SVT can also assist with:

OT&E/SVT Chief:
(520) 538-4230
Office Manager:
(520) 538-4631