Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity (MCOTEA) conducted a series of classroom instruction, operational testing, and program design with the Brazilian Marine Corps, at various locations in the United States August through September 2021. MCOTEA is the Marine Corps’ lead agency for operational testing and evaluation, to independently plan, execute, and evaluate material solutions against approved warfighter capabilities under prescribed realistic conditions and doctrine to determine operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of material system capabilities. This independent information informs the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense acquisition community.
This educational exchange was initiated by both nations’ senior Marine leaders, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger and previous Brazilian Commandant General of the Marine Corps Adm. Paulo Martino Zuccaro, with the purpose of information sharing with our allies and helping Brazil achieve their goal of growing and advancing their operational research and testing capabilities of their own programs to achieve a more effective process. This 58-day event began with the arrival of Lt. Cmdr. Bellard to the MCOTEA facility in Quantico, VA where MCOTEA presented an orientation covering the mission, organization, and approach used within the Marine Corps. Most of this six-day introductory period was focused on the six-step process that MCOTEA uses to plan, conduct, and analyze equipment programs.
Following the process overview and a walkthrough of steps 1-3, the integrated team transitioned to Twentynine Palms, CA where they spent approximately five weeks, in a field environment, conducting the operational assessment (step four – test and evaluation execution). The equipment that MCOTEA assessed was the Ultra-Lightweight Tactical Vehicle (ULTV). The ULTV is a modular, off-road utility vehicle which can be configured to support a variety of mission sets such as logistic support, casualty evacuation, command and control, and electronic warfare. The ULTV provided an opportunity for the exchange, but it is the process that Brazil seeks to understand and incorporate into their own institution.
Following the operational assessment in California, the integrated team returned to Quantico, VA to discuss steps five and six of the process and bring the event to a close. Although Lt. Cmdr. Bellard was not able to stay for the final out brief to the ULTV program office, being involved in the whole process, he was able to see the value in providing useful information to decision makers and program managers who make system design and tradeoff decisions. In 2019 the United States of America officially designated Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA). Brazil is only the second country to receive MNNA designation in the Western Hemisphere and it reflects the strong bilateral defense relationship between the two countries. The U.S. and Brazilian Marine Corps are significant partners with several exchange programs between them.