At a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Summit held April 2, 2008, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA) directed the establishment of a system-of-systems engineering (SoSE) organization in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)). To implement this directive, the ASA(ALT) directed the establishment of this organization in a memorandum dated May 27, 2008.
The organization was established to serve as the lead for executing SoSE systems engineering functions for the enterprise of Army programs, to ensure that the respective overall desired capabilities are achieved. It has since been reorganized as the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer (OCSE), serving as the only organization within ASA(ALT) headquarters to provide analytical support to the ASA(ALT) leadership on critical SoS trade-space issues. The OCSE also conducts studies, establishes vision, designs baselines, and maintains vigilance of affordability, interoperability, and relevance.
In support of these goals and as part of a broader review of ASA(ALT), the SoSE mission and function within ASA(ALT) were realigned to the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. The SoSE Directorate in ASA(ALT) stood down, and the OCSE was established provisionally. In addition, the function of the ASA(ALT) Chief Information Officer (CIO) was transferred to the OCSE. This article explores the missions and key initiatives of the newly created OCSE directorates.
The Program of Record (PoR) Engineering Support Directorate supports Army systems for which the Milestone Decision Authority resides with the Army or Defense Acquisition Authority. It also works with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Systems Engineering to provide support for Army systems seeking a milestone decision by working through the Defense Acquisition Board. Initiatives include army development planning, value engineering, product data, open systems architecture, requirements management, defense exportability features, and reliability and maintainability efforts.
OCSE’s PoR Engineering Support Directorate is forming a Reliability Working Group that will assess current reliability efforts across Army programs and recommend improvements. OCSE is focusing on a few key areas: policies and guidance; training; validation of reliability requirements; fault definition; scoring criteria; early design-for-reliability activities; and competent reliability management and oversight across the acquisition life cycle. OCSE realizes that the Army needs systems that are effective when needed, not just effective when available.
The Architecture and Analysis Directorate establishes the capability to develop and deliver the architecture products that facilitate analysis and trades, providing timely, relevant information to inform decision makers and guide the Army’s efforts. The directorate serves as a single responsible agent within ASA(ALT) that provides:
• Management oversight for all systems architecture in the Army.
• A point of contact for all system architecture deliverables and data.
• Strategy and organization to execute the system architecture mission.
• Integration of system architecture efforts.
• Manpower and oversight for planning and executing architecture resources.
On June 4, the VCSA endorsed the Army’s strategy to converge network operations (NetOps) capabilities as presented by the ASA(ALT) OCSE. The effort will increase ease of use and reduce sustainment support requirements by simplifying and reducing the number of NetOps tools in the current tool set.
The SoS Directorate synchronizes ongoing system-of-systems (SoS) engineering and architecture data integration efforts with related HQDA initiatives to yield a data-driven modeling and analysis environment that encompasses the Acquisition and Programming capability portfolios.
A key SoS Directorate initiative is implementation of the Common Operating Environment (COE). This will help increase competition and help lower software and hardware integration burdens and costs. The implementation plan will remain flexible as the Army continues to evolve its network standards and fielding methods. The Army will continuously seek industry and service input as it transitions to the COE.
The mission of the ASA(ALT) Chief Information Officer (CIO) encompasses the 12 information technology (IT) core competencies from Army Regulation 25-1, Army Knowledge Management and Information Technology, as they apply within the ASA(ALT) community. Fundamental to this mission are the direction to, and coordination among, the program executive office CIOs so that the community at large is following a coherent approach to IT resource management.
The mission of the ASA(ALT) CIO specifically includes responsibility as agency:
• ASA(ALT) CIO.
• Chief Financial Officers Act Implementation Manager.
• Acquisition Business Enterprise Architect.
• Acquisition Data Steward.
• ASA(ALT) Chief Knowledge Officer.
Achievement of the ASA(ALT) Strategic Objectives is shaped by the demands of existing statutory requirements (for example, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, National Defense Authorization Acts of 2005, 2007, 2009, etc.) and by events in an evolving environment, such as data center consolidation (DCC) and the Secretary of the Army’s IT management reform efforts.
The ASA(ALT) CIO has significantly shaped the Army approach to DCC by recognizing that it is not an efficiency drill that saves on real estate, power, and heating costs, but more a portfolio management drill, driving significant savings through the rationalization of applications, their consolidation, and then virtualization. At that point, the applications can go wherever we get the best business deal for service and cost.
The Army Acquisition plans to follow DCC by integrating the remaining applications into an enterprise environment and enabling the retirement of eight of the nine data centers currently operated by ASA(ALT). Thus, the DCC is aligned with the domain portfolio management mission and is a key enabler of the ongoing transition to enterprise systems.
Based on the missions and progress of key SoS and CIO initiatives within the OCSE directorates, OCSE is well on its way of transforming and institutionalizing SoS and IT management processes into Army programs that will achieve a capability greater than the sum of its parts.
- —ASA(ALT) OCSE Staff