On October 1, 2011, the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Integration (PEO I) transitioned to the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), to manage system integration and the Army’s new acquisition model known as the Agile Process. SoSI became a subordinate organization of ASAALT.
Reporting directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASAALT headquarters, SoSI is part of continuing efforts to improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater, and work more closely with industry.
Today, SoSI leads the Army’s integration efforts from its headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD with supporting offices in Warren, MI, and Fort Bliss, TX. SoSI spearheads materiel and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process, and leads the Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.
The Agile Process seeks technology improvements from both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software needs as determined by requirements analysis and directly links to the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model. ARFORGEN is the systematic process whereby brigades equip, train, and deploy. The NIE is a key part of the Agile Process and synchronized fielding of Capability Set Management across the program executive offices (PEOs).
The formation of SoSI was partly a result of acquisition recommendations arising from the 2010 Army Acquisition Review. This organizational change will help implement some of those recommendations, such as working more closely with industry, acquiring more technical data packages, and conducting integrated testing earlier and more often in the acquisition process. In addition, organizations within SoSI are working on improving the synchronization of requirements and acquisition procedures at the front end of the process, to ensure achievable, clearly defined cost and schedule goals.
SoSI uses the family-of-systems approach to ensure integration and interoperability among Army programs of record, current force systems, urgent need systems and other doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) elements to achieve integrated unit capabilities for a full-spectrum force. This approach is to be implemented through development, acquisition, testing, product improvement, and fielding, while ensuring total ownership cost reduction.
Synchronized fielding is the outcome of the NIEs and the Agile Process, the Army’s new approach to rapidly developing, acquiring, and fielding integrated mission command capabilities. The service is synchronizing fielding efforts as it prepares to deliver CS 13 to deploying BCTs beginning in October. Shown here are networked vehicles at the NIE 12.2, which took place May 1 to June 8 at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (U.S. Army photos by Claire Schwerin)
SoSI provides system engineering, integration, and test evaluation expertise to field fully integrated and tested Capability Sets composed of vehicles, network elements, equipment, and supporting infrastructure to modernize Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and thereby achieve unprecedented joint combat capability in conjunction with the ARFORGEN process.
Serving as the lead network architect and systems integrator for the NIEs, SoSI synchronizes the effort across the broader materiel development community, integrates and synchronizes services and support to all ASAALT and industry participants, and serves as the ASAALT single interface to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and the users: the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC), and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), the 3,800 Soldier-strong brigade, based at Fort Bliss, who execute the NIEs.
To support Capability Set Management and keep pace with industry’s rapid maturation of technology, the Army is transforming its current acquisition methods through a seven-phase Agile Process. Through the Agile Process, the Army assesses capability gaps, rapidly forms requirements, solicits mature industry solutions, and performs laboratory and field evaluations to inform acquisition decisions.
SoSI leads three of the seven phases: Phase 1 (Solicit Potential Solutions), Phase 2 (Candidate Assessment), and Phase 4 (Network Integration Rehearsal). The Agile Process allows the Army to keep pace with industry and technological advances, reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to respond to the rapid changes in Soldier requirements, incrementally improve the network over time, and provide deployed units with better capabilities more quickly and in a more cost-effective manner.
The output of the Agile Process is synchronized fielding. SoSI is synchronizing the implementation and fielding of Capability Set (CS) 13, composed of vehicles, network components, and associated equipment and software that will deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout an entire BCT formation.
Through the NIEs and Agile Process, SoSI ensures that CS 13, slated for fielding to deploying BCTs starting in FY13, is integrated and sustainable. This is the first time the Army has fielded fully integrated sets of network capability, thus necessitating business and organizational changes to support the development and fielding efforts.
NIE 12.2 was the third and largest such event the Army has held to date, requiring the 2/1 AD to assess the network’s performance while stretched across vast distances and punishing terrain at White Sands Missile Range. Soldier feedback and test results from NIE 12.2 will validate and finalize CS 13, the first integrated package of tactical communications gear that will be fielded to eight brigade combat teams starting in October. The integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices, and other network components supported 2/1 AD as the unit spread across the desert and mountains to complete its mission.
Project Manager (PM) Current is the SoSI office responsible for NIE execution and system integration at Fort Bliss. Headed by COL Gail Washington and consisting of system engineers, materiel integrators, logisticians, and technical experts in command, control, communications, and computers, the PM office is the materiel integrator, configuration manager, and systems engineering lead for the NIE. PM Current also manages industry field service representative support to the NIEs and acts as the official SoSI representative to the NIE “TRIAD” management team for materiel issues. The TRIAD comprises personnel from SoSI, ATEC, and the BMC.
The Futures Directorate, led by Kelly Alexander, is headquartered in the National Capital Region. Futures is responsible for ASAALT management of the Agile Process. Supporting this process, the Futures Directorate solicits solutions to capability gaps from industry and government organizations for potential participation in the NIE process, manages early solution evaluations across all stakeholders, conducts competition, and oversees integration and configuration management across the PEO community.
One of the directorate’s key functions is leading stakeholders in assessing responses to the Army’s solicitations and proposing candidates to be evaluated in an NIE. The directorate also leads the drafting and release of sources sought notifications and requests for proposals for mature capability solutions to participate in a NIE event. After the evaluation and integration work is over at command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, SoSI manages the configuration and transitions to Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, NM for NIE integration and training.
Synchronized Fielding Directorate
SoSI’s Synchronized Fielding Directorate maintains configuration management of the final Capability Set technical network baseline approved during the NIE process and manages the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for production and deployment. The directorate uses the IMS to coordinate individual fielding among PEOs, program managers, U.S. Army Forces Command, G-8, and the gaining BCTs, while maintaining sustainment planning and asset handoff to the gaining unit.
In addition, the Synchronized Fielding team coordinates with system program managers for maturation of B-kit components and with platform program managers for maturation of A-kit components, seeking proper integration of both.
KATIE CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc. supporting the ASAALT SoSI Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a minor in political science from Central Michigan University.