By Douglas C. Schmidt
deliver enhanced integrated warfighting capability at lower cost across
the enterprise and over the lifecycle, the Department of Defense (DoD)
must move away from stove-piped solutions and towards a limited number of technical reference frameworks
based on reusable hardware and software components and services. There
have been previous efforts in this direction, but in an era of sequestration and austerity,
the DoD has reinvigorated its efforts to identify effective methods of
creating more affordable acquisition choices and reducing the cycle time
for initial acquisition and new technology insertion. This blog
posting is part of an ongoing series on how acquisition professionals and system integrators can apply Open Systems Architecture (OSA)
practices to decompose large monolithic business and technical designs
into manageable, capability-oriented frameworks that can integrate
innovation more rapidly and lower total ownership costs. The focus of
this posting is on the evolution of DoD combat systems from ad hoc
stovepipes to more modular and layered architectures.
By Douglas C. Schmidt
Department of Defense (DoD) program managers and associated acquisition professionals are increasingly called upon to steward the development of complex, software-reliant combat systems. In today’s environment of expanded threats and constrained resources (e.g., sequestration), their focus is on minimizing the cost and schedule of combat-system acquisition, while simultaneously ensuring interoperability and innovation. A promising approach for meeting these challenging goals is Open Systems Architecture (OSA), which combines (1) technical practices designed to reduce the cycle time needed to acquire new systems and insert new technology into legacy systems and (2) business models for creating a more competitive marketplace and a more effective strategy for managing intellectual property rights in DoD acquisition programs. This blog posting expands upon our earlier coverage of how acquisition professionals and system integrators can apply OSA practices to decompose large monolithic business and technical designs into manageable, capability-oriented frameworks that can integrate innovation more rapidly and lower total ownership costs.
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
agile methods have become popular in commercial software development
organizations, the engineering disciplines needed to apply agility to
mission-critical, software-reliant systems are not as well defined or
practiced. To help bridge this gap, the SEI recently hosted the Agile Research Forum.
The event brought together researchers and practitioners from around
the world to discuss when and how to best apply agile methods in
mission-critical environments found in government and many industries.
This blog posting, the fifth and final installment in a multi-part
series highlighting research presented during the forum, summarizes a
presentation I gave on the importance of applying agile methods to common operating platform environments (COPEs) that have become increasingly important for the Department of Defense (DoD).
By Bill Scherlis,
Chief Technology Officer (Acting)
extent of software in Department of Defense (DoD) systems has increased
by more than an order of magnitude every decade. This is not just
because there are more systems with more software; a similar growth
pattern has been exhibited within individual, long-lived military systems. In recognition of this growing software role, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E, now ASD(R&E)) requested the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a study of defense software producibility,
with the purpose of identifying the principal challenges and developing
recommendations regarding both improvement to practice and priorities
for research. The NRC appointed a committee, which I chaired, that
included many individuals well known to the SEI community, including Larry Druffel, Doug Schmidt, Robert Behler, Barry Boehm,
and others. After more than three years of effort—which included an
intensive review and revision process—we issued our final report, Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense. In the year and a half since the report was published, I have been asked to brief it extensively to the DoD and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) communities.
This blog posting, the first in a series, highlights several of the
committee’s key findings, specifically focusing on three areas of
identified improvements to practice—areas where the committee judged
that improvements both are feasible and could substantially help the DoD
to acquire, sustain, and assure software-reliant systems of all kinds.
Part 2: Understanding Success Drivers
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
Common operating platform environments (COPEs) are reusable software infrastructures that incorporate open standards; define portable interfaces, interoperable protocols, and data models; offer complete design disclosure; and have a modular, loosely coupled, and well-articulated software architecture that provides applications and end users with many shared capabilities. COPEs can help reduce recurring engineering costs, as well as enable developers to build better and more powerful applications atop a COPE, rather than wrestling repeatedly with tedious and error-prone infrastructure concerns. Despite technical advances during the past decade, however, building affordable and dependable COPE-based solutions for the DoD remains elusive. This blog posting—the second in a three-part series—builds upon the first posting to describe key success drivers for COPEs that proactively and intentionally exploit commonality across multiple DoD acquisition programs.