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Current Issue of The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation


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 December 2016 - Statistical Methods in T&E

Dec16 Cov webThe theme for this issue is “Statistical Methods in T&E,“ and the issue includes a Guest Editorial, two Inside the Beltway features, Hot Wash-Up, President’s Corner, a Book Review, and seven technical articles.

Our Guest Editorial is titled “Statistics in Defense: A Guardian at the Gate,” and David Chu, Ph.D., states that investment in statistical practice has accelerated in the T&E community. Improvements due to this focus may include a more precise sense of likely performance and a better sense of how confident we are in that estimate of performance. Statistical tools now allow the decision makers to better weigh the importance of information against the cost of the test.

Our first of two Inside the Beltway features titled “Better Buying Power, Developmental Testing, and Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques,” is authored by Darryl Ahner, Ph.D., and he states that scientific test and analysis techniques (STAT) focus on efficient and effective testing that is critical to Better Buying Power initiatives. He also proposes that STAT helps bring effective, innovative, and better understood game-changing technologies to the field to support warfighters.

Our second Inside the Beltway feature, “Rigorous Test and Evaluation for Defense, Aerospace and National Security: Panel Session Summary,” is authored by Laura Freeman, Ph.D., and she has captured a summary of the technical leadership panel presentations from the April 2016 workshop organized by NASA, DoD, and IDA. The lengthy question and answer session after the panel presentations illustrated the interest of the audience with many questions related to incorporating statistical thinking into organizational processes for organizations that plan, support, and evaluate T&E events.

In the Hot Wash-Up feature, “A Broad Role for a Different Kind of Statistical Analysis in the Testing of Complex Systems,” Wilson Felder, Ph.D., states that the evolution of complex systems can no longer be constrained to the traditional stage-gate life cycle. Some issues include the delays in handoffs between acquisition phases, the development speed of new threats, prematurely outdated requirements, and the reality of increasing digital interactions in complex systems.

The President’s Corner, written by Gene Hudgins, discusses the 33rd Annual ITEA Symposium, key guest speakers, technical tracks, and the awards ceremony. He also highlights the new ITEA Board of Directors and summarizes the State of ITEA delivered during the Symposium.

As a special feature of this issue, we have a Book Review authored by Mark London, Ph.D., for the book Engineering Philosophy written by Louis Bucciarelli. The book begins with the proposition that engineering design is essentially a social process. As the report states, T&E is, in a sense, a social-type process too because testers must complete their tasks keeping in mind many perspectives and completing many subtasks related to financial, systems engineering, safety, program management, and system effectiveness.

Our first of six technical articles “Improving Reliability Estimates with Bayesian Statistics,” by Kassandra Froncyk, Ph.D., and Laura Freeman, Ph.D., is a peerreviewed article. The authors offer a discussion of the advantages of the Bayesian approach of combining information from various subsystems and components and other sources to estimate full system reliability. An example case study for ship reliability based on the multi-mission ship program is included.

The second technical article in this issue, “Management, Mechanics, and Math (M3): An Enhanced Methodology for Future T&E of Complex Information Systems,” written by Stephen Conley and Jennie Lenig- Schreffler, proposes the M3 methodology and associated briefing format as a way to think through and create a testing approach that includes a more effective analysis. The authors have developed this approach based on art and science in recognition that information technology programs are growing in complexity.

In “GPS-based TSPI Instrumentation….Past, Present, Future – a Three-Part Series. Part 3, Future Technology,” Tom Macdonald presents the third and last segment of his three-part series. He addresses many of the future capabilities that must be realized from a number of Global Navigation Satellite Systems. For instance, the author describes the need for a receiver that integrates measurements from a variety of sources, multiple frequency GPS, improving the accuracy and reliability, and reduction in size, weight, and power.

In our fourth technical article, “Modernizing Flight Test Safety to Address the Human Agency,” Daniel Javorsek states that we must better prepare for unpredictable effects in order to continue to reduce flight mishap rates. The author proposes that complexity theory focusing on adaptive systems (like aircrew members) might influence designs of safer aerospace systems; however, the new focus must be pushed by flight test professionals with a healthy dose of skepticism.

In the fifth technical article, “M&S Requirements and VV&A Requirements: What’s the Relationship,” James Elele, Ph.D., et al, discuss methods for developing requirements for modeling and simulation (M&S) and how verification, validation, and accreditation (VV&A) of M&S – particularly early in the development phase of a program – can improve stated requirements. The authors also state that VV&A record keeping and reporting are vitally important.

The sixth technical article is our first refereed article for The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation. In “Frequency-Agile and Power-Scalable Multi-Band Telemetry Applications,” Tony Quach, et al, discuss the first reported frequency-agile gallium  nitride microwave monolithic integrated circuit power amplifier design for telemetry applications. The goal of this research is to further the development of miniaturized, power-efficient, and reconfigurable telemetry transmitter technology
capable of frequency agility, power scaling, and waveform diversity to assist the T&E community.

Our last technical article of the issue, “Developing Novel Statistical Analyses to Diagnose Cognitive Impairment,” written by Nikhil Patel and Charles Hughes, Ph.D., looks at early detection and intervention of Alzheimer’s disease in order to treat patients and slow the progression of the disease. The authors developed tools that can identify whether or not a subject has cognitive impairment with an estimated 97% accuracy. Such a test can be a simple, early replacement or supplement for more complex, expensive, and less available diagnostic tests.

I hope you enjoy this last issue of 2016 for The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation. Please remember that a one-year membership in ITEA (and 4 issues of The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation) can go to any student on your gift list for just $25! By the time you receive issue 37-4 in December, the March 2017 issue 38-1 is being finalized. That theme is “Blending Systems Engineering, Lifecycle Support, Reliability, and Testing.” For the next issue (the second issue of 2017), 38-2, the deadline for submissions is just after March 1, 2017, and the theme will be “Training the Future T&E Workforce.” We have posted all themes for the remainder of 2017- early 2021 on the ITEA web site. Please provide feedback on the choice of themes, and please write early and often.

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