solutions and are responsive to changing user requirements.
This effort will build on naval OSA-based initiatives such as
the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), the UAS
Control Segment (UCS) and the Consolidated Afloat Networks
and Enterprise Services (CANES). By using OSA precepts, the
Defense Department can strengthen its acquisition ecosystem
via “alternative module providers”—no incumbent contractors—promoting competition and innovation.
Once established, the program offices can ensure that
subsequent components can be integrated cost-effectively, tested rapidly and made available to
warfighters on demand, regardless of who created
them. Eventually this will change the underlying
architecture of the Defense Department’s warfighting systems from a large collection of uncoordinated, nonin-teroperable systems built on unique design constructs to a cost-effective and coordinated enterprise product-line environment.
One of the often-overlooked elements of the transition to
OSA is how and when to use the government’s right to intellectual property. Through the evolution of OSA, the DON has
crafted a set of practices for managing intellectual property
that will attract more industrial partners to the defense market.
The first principle is to ensure that the approach to intellectual
property captures the taxpayer’s investment. If the Defense
Department pays for something, then the department needs
to assert its rights to share it while still protecting its investments in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-derived
projects, new capabilities gleaned from independent research
and development and legitimate commercial products. Only
when the department manages this as an ecosystem through a
well-publicized intellectual property strategy will it be able to
functionally change how it interacts with industry.
The Defense Department also must attend to its fiduciary
responsibility to the taxpayer and not overpay for investments.
And it must establish an open market to field new ideas quickly
without having to use predatory data rights practices.
This strategy will allow the department to establish a new
remuneration model that rewards private investment, robust
design and rapid integration and avoids product development
outlays, schedule delays and cost overruns typical—and now
almost expected—in defense acquisitions.
Nickolas Guertin and James P. Craft are members of the
AFCEA International Cyber Committee.
The Cyber Implications of Acquisition Speed: Part IV
contact: James P. Craft, james.p.craft.ci
Open architectures can accelerate acquisition.
Fourth in an ongoing series of articles
One technique for speeding up the acquisition process is the use of open systems architecture. Employing open systems architecture (OSA) capabilities is the intelligent way to create next-generation solutions for warfighters
in all services. OSA-based solutions can optimize scarce financial and engineering resources and enable the United States
and its coalition partners to extend their strategic military
advantages over global adversaries.
The U.S. Department of the Navy (DON) provides an example of OSA’s success. The DON initiated an open architecture policy in 2004. In 2010,
the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics started the Better Buying Power initiative
and asked the Navy to lead the OSA effort.
The DON is committed to continuous improvement of practices that open up systems and rapidly integrate innovation.
The technologies and methods used to apply them are constantly in motion. Taking advantage of private-sector innovations will require rigorous engineering practices to provide the
fleet, and all warfighters, with reliable and effective products.
The combination of OSA and creative intellectual property
strategies ensure that the Defense Department will be able to
refresh technologies and risk-prudently pursue opportunities
for competition, driving speed and lowering cost.
In 2011, the DON published an OSA strategy emphasizing
affordable, open technical architectures that easily accommodate open performance capability modules. DON teams collaborated with government and industry across the program
executive office and system command (SYSCOM) infrastructure to implement changes. The execution of this OSA strategy
addressed improved competition; incentivized better performance; and measured increases in speed.
Both speed and flexibility are crucial to product development today. Systems must be updated quickly to address warfighting needs or to manage a capability gap. They also must
address constantly changing cyberthreats. This necessitates a
new way of doing business. Major all-or-nothing or high-risk
upgrades are a thing of the past, giving way to an environment
where government officials choose what to change and when
based on business, technical and operational needs.
The DON is collaborating throughout the Defense Department to make OSA the first, best place to start future acquisitions. This would entail establishing OSA-based systems with
severable modules the Defense Department could upgrade
whenever it chooses. A well-documented and open technical
architecture should support an open business architecture. This
strategy gives the Defense Department the ability to provide
warfighting capability through a spectrum of vendor-indepen-dent acquisition options. Successful OSA acquisitions avoid
hefty total ownership costs associated with large single-vendor
BY NICKOLAS GUERTIN
AND JAMES P. CRAFT