Just now in conversation “witness” was used as a term of art to describe a procedure whereby someone is going to oversee the testing of a rather large system having to do with computers, military defense, and a multitude of things which I’m better off not knowing about. The use reminded me of Heinlein’s “fair witness” which Doctor T’s mention of some months back spurred me to re-read (or read for the first time) eight books so far, including Stranger in a Strange Land, where the term was introduced. In the instance I just heard, the idea was that it is absolutely required that the witness have a hands-off approach: no interaction, much like Heinlein’s fair witness.
The point is that Heinlein worked in and around military defense and so I wonder if the modern use is based on his or if his use was based on a term of art previously in existence. Is it widespread now?