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Updated: 2/18/2021 11:20:42 AM

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The Common Data Link (CDL) Program Office, under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, controls the CDL configuration by specifying the waveform characteristics, controlling and coordinating hardware configurations, and managing preplanned product improvement and technology insertion efforts. The Office of the Secretary of Defense designated the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) as the responsible agency for CDL compliance testing.


Compliance Certification: Compliance testing determines if the CDL system under test (software, hardware or firmware) complies with the current CDL Specification 7681990 and other user requirements documents. Testing occurs throughout the systems lifecycle and may be performed in conjunction with other testing whenever possible to conserve resources.

Conformance Testing: Conformance testing is assessing the compliance of a product to the defining specification or standard. Specialized test tools are used to exercise a product to determine if the proper actions and reactions are produced. Successful completion of a conformance test will enhance the probability of interoperability with other products that have been successfully conformance tested.

Developmental Testing: Developmental testing is performed concurrent with product development. It can be used to prepare for formal, operational testing, as well as shortening the time to bring a product to market.

Interoperability Testing and Certification: Interoperability testing assesses the ability of a system to exchange usable electronic information with systems of other services or nations as specified in its requirements documents. Specialized test tools are used to monitor performance of products to determine if the proper actions and reactions are produced. A system is certified as interoperable at the completion of successful interoperability testing.

Operational Testing: Operational testing will evaluate the performance of products in an operational environment. Due to the resource requirements needed to generate realistic environments, operational testing is usually conducted in conjunction with military exercises.

Validation Testing: Validation testing is the process of ensuring: 1) proper requirements coverage by the proposed standards or specifications and 2) correct standards or specifications are available as the basis for developing products. In the context of validation, correct standards would be those demonstrated to be self-consistent, complete and feasible. Validation testing consists of two general phases: Static Analysis, satisfying item 1) above and Dynamic Analysis, satisfying item 2) above.

CDL Picture

The below referenced documents are copies of official Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and Department of Defense (DoD) policy documents relating to Interoperability and Supportability of Information Technology (IT) and National Security Systems (NSS). An official source for CJCS and DoD policy documents is the Joint Electronic Library.

CJCSI 6212.01E, “Interoperability and Supportability of Information Technology and National Security Systems”, March 6, 2006

DoD Directives
DoD Directive 4630.5, “Interoperability and Supportability of Information Technology (IT) and National Security Systems (NSS)”, May 5, 2004

DISA / JITC 2021