Changing the value equation in engineering and acquisition to align systems of systems with dynamic mission needs.

by Philip Boxer

This paper was presented in conjunction with Suzanne Garcia, Bill Anderson and Pat Kirwan at the 11th NDIA Systems Engineering Conference in San Diego.  The abstract was as follows:

New kinds of threat and much wider varieties of demand on mission capabilities are requiring the military to achieve unprecedented levels of agility and responsiveness, and are driving the transformation of military capabilities. The great benefit of net-enablement in this new strategic environment is that it enables mission capabilities to be orchestrated and composed from constituent capabilities within the context of systems of systems.

The presentation outlines three essential ways in which the foundational nature of the systems engineering task needs to be transformed to take advantage of these new possibilities, and uses examples from various military contexts to illustrate their applicability. First, it discusses how the definition of systems-of-interest has to be extended to include their socio-technical nature. Second, the definition of systems-of-interest also has to give an explicit account of the contexts-of-use from which emerge new forms of demand for mission capability. Third, it has to be possible to analyze how these new forms of demand translate into new patterns of interoperability (geometries-of-use) across systems of systems, thus defining the agility of systems of systems in terms of the required varieties of geometry-of-use that they must support. The presentation concludes by considering the impact this has on the suppliers’ role, the acquisition process, and in particular the changes it introduces into how value is defined.

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