TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems
OBJECTIVE: Develop a benchmark simulator training system architecture that is sustainable in a dynamic cyber security environment.
DESCRIPTION: USAF simulators and training systems managed by the Simulators Division, AFLCMC/WNS, are acquired and sustained to meet user training requirements while also meeting performance standards for concurrency, fidelity, and availability. The ability of a simulator to meet these performance standards in order to provide realistic and reliable training have historically been the primary considerations when awarding a contract to acquire and/or sustain USAF training systems. Emerging, more stringent cyber security requirements are introducing new considerations that now must also be taken into account. To respond to the new cyber security requirements as outlined in the recent DoD Instructions 8500.01 and 8510.01,Air Force Instruction (AFI) 33-200 and Air Force Manual 33-210, as well as requirements imposed by Authorizing Officials, the Simulator Division is exploring changes in the approach to simulator and training system procurement and sustainment including underlying system architectures. The incorporation of greater modularization and open system architectures hold the promise of enabling simulators and training systems to be more effectively and efficiently procured and sustained in the face of constantly evolving cyber threats. The Simulator Division is also exploring the concept of "Owning the Technical Baseline" in the form of mandating increased commonality across simulator and training system architectures via the articulation of requirements and standards. These requirements and standards would address system architectures, interfaces and data models. The goal is to develop simulator acquisition specifications in order to reduce technical, schedule and cost risk. The desired result would be more predictable procurement and system sustainment outcomes and costs in a dynamic cyber threat environment. The current cyber threat environment is forcing simulator and training system updates and modifications to be performed at a higher, recurring rate than previously expected when legacy simulators and training systems were designed and fielded. Evolving cyber security requirements demand simulator and training system architectures which are capable of being modified rapidly to incorporate new security features and eliminate newly identified latent vulnerabilities. The architecture of a simulator or training system impacts the level of regression testing required to confirm system performance has not been adversely affected by a modification undertaken to close a cyber vulnerability. It is important to understand that the design of high-fidelity real-time simulators involves trade-off decisions between performance, which in the past has often optimized through tightly coupled, natively hosted hardware-software architectures. The sustainment benefits gained via modularity, virtual machine abstraction, reuse, interoperability, and modifiability may be best supported by a different, modular open system architecture approach.
PHASE I: Develop an architecture to meet simulator performance objectives while exhibiting key characteristics of a modular open system architecture. This architecture must enable rapid modification to incorporate new security features, eliminate identified latent vulnerabilities, and minimize or automate the level of regression testing required to confirm system performance has not been adversely affected by a modification, based upon industry "best practices."
PHASE II: Finalize and validate the benchmark simulator architecture developed in Phase I and demonstrate using a notional air crew training simulator application. Demonstrate the architecture exhibits open system architecture characteristics and is modifiable with minimizedregressiontesting.
PHASE III: Finalize the architecture for use by the US Government and its contractors for use when developing and upgrading USAF simulators and training systems.
1. DoD Instruction (DoDI) 8500.01
2. DoD Instruction (DoDI) 8510.01
3. Air Force Instruction (AFI) 33-200
4. Air Force Manual (AFM) 33-210
6. https://acc.dau.mil/adl/en-US/631578/file/73333/0SAGuidebook%20v%2011%20final.pdf- Appendix 2,3
7. Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulators -http://220.127.116.11/fagui/ICA09625-AN938 (english).pdf
KEYWORDS: Simulator, Training System, Open System Architecture, Cyber Security, Modularity