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Leveraging a Robust Data Architecture for Rapid Combat System Integration, Testing, and Certification



OBJECTIVE: Provide architecture, tools, and processes that streamline the development and integration of combat system software in order to add and update warfighting capabilities quickly. 

DESCRIPTION: AEGIS combat subsystems integration is one of the most significant challenges facing Navy software engineers today. With the development of each new system or update to an existing system, there is an expanding ripple effect in the integration work which perturbs more and more of the combat system software. Unless that trend is changed, the projected “integration costs” of the updates could easily exceed the cost of the systems themselves when originally conceived. The Navy seeks automated integration of data modeled capabilities that change the speed and fidelity of integration and certification of software updates within the AEGIS combat system. Until recently, tools, data practices, and cooperating software architectures have not existed to address combat system needs. Commercial industry organizations have developed their own private ecosystems and environments for integration. Cellular telephony infrastructures embody the level of tight integration needed for complex networks, but they lack the flexibility and critical performance attributes needed by the Navy. The Navy will be well-suited with the ability to use lessons learned from the commercial side, and bring those features to bear with seamless integration, data models, and tools that automate the process of bringing on new weapons and services needed to maintain dominance over the seas. This solution will identify, leverage, and extend data model architecture principles for rigorous, machine-leverageable documentation of data and a system’s software interfaces in order to facilitate integration and interoperability. What is proposed is different than the Navy’s current system integration techniques that document and report data through defined message and protocol interfaces. Interface Control Documents (ICDs), are used to document each message in and out of a system, and are used to capture the syntax, structure, semantics, and behavior in prose and diagrams. The current methodology is not “machine-leverageable” and interpretation is not consistent across sub-system implementation teams. This approach does not scale as the integration effort is driven by human interpretation of the ICDs. An effective solution will enable rapid integration and software certification updates through automated use of model content and modeled interfaces (to include syntax, semantics, and communication behavior). The modeled content should document existing interfaces and be extensible and flexible to support future systems and interfaces. The solution should meet emerging data architecture and software architecture standards such as Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE). The FACE standard is published by the “Open Group”, and the standards mentioned here are downloadable at the URL cited in Reference 1. The solution will use tools and processes to facilitate rapid content development and support reusable model content. Additionally, the solution will ensure that the development of combat system domain data models is extensible, maintainable, and flexible for use across multiple warfighting domains. Competing vendors will exercise their ability to create tools that utilize FACE data modeling constructs to detect and marry up the semantic constructs that are documented in the current data model views (physical, logical, cognitive), then creating the needed implementation transformations required to effectively provide congruence at all three levels of information transfer. New software tools and techniques must be developed to build and maintain data models that capture an interface’s syntax and structure, semantics and contextual meaning, and deployment and communication patterns. The innovative and automated use of the models should decrease the integration effort and required certification at a minimum 80% or more where possible. Processes should support integration scalability without requiring commonality of interfaces, provide mechanisms to test and limit scope of impact of software updates, and enable the automated generation of optimized integration layer software. The tools and proposed architecture should support a system architect, a system designer, and a system implementer in discovery, analysis, and implementation of complex distributed combat system software. These tools and model processes are applicable to the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) where each device and interface can be unique and commonality-based integration approaches do not work. The research proposed will fill the gap between current data model practices and semantically verifiable matchups for information (not just data) needs. As new or enhanced systems appear, new information constructs are added to the data model, which is a normal evolution for improving applications and weapons technologies. Once properly documented, the 20% of effort creates full automation of semantic information transforms, and becomes a natural part of the growing combat system. The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, and NAVSEA will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access. The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work. Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract. 

PHASE I: Develop a concept for an architecture, tools, and processes that streamline the integration of software and show they can feasibly meet rapid integration and certification scaling challenges currently present in today’s combat systems software, as described in the description. Feasibility will be established by modeling and analysis. The Phase I Option, if awarded, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype in Phase II. Develop a Phase II plan. 

PHASE II: Based on the Phase I results and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), develop and deliver prototype architecture, tools, and processes that streamline the integration of software and certification of distributed combat system software. The prototype software tools will demonstrate that they meet the objectives outlined in the description. The demonstration will take place at a Government- or company-provided facility. Tests cases include the ability to integrate, and certify software updates and methods for generating conformant data models from existing message sets. Deliver a prototype that is ready to integrate into the IWS 1.0 software acquisition and development processes. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy production and potential commercial use. It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). 

PHASE III: Assist the Government in transitioning architecture, tools, and processes that streamline the integration of software to allow for further experimentation and refinement. The implementation will be tools and process for building and leveraging models that facilitate large-scale system integration. The Navy will use the final technology in the IWS 1.0 AEGIS combat system. Rapid and agile software development processes and architectures have broad application in the IoT market where integration through commonality simply will not work. Companies in the industrial and manufacturing sectors such as electric power generation, chemical manufacturing, oil refineries, and water and waste water treatment facilities as well as traditional defense contractors (Siemens Industry, General Electric, Schneider Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman), that use control systems as the backbone of their business processes will benefit from the technology as those systems are comprised of many diverse systems communicating to perform a common mission. The tools developed under this effort have potential benefit to these commercial needs. 


1: "FACE Technical Standard 3.0." The Open Group.

2:  Kendall, Frank. "Implementation Directive for Better Buying Power 3.0 - Achieving Dominant Capabilities through Technical Excellence and Innovation." April 9 2015. (9Apr15).pdf

3:  Kuhn, Kacker, Lei

4:  "Introduction to Combinatorial Testing." Chapman and Hall/CRC, June 20, 2013, ISBN 9781466552296.

5:  Hohpe, Woolf.. "Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions." Addison-Wesley, 2004.

KEYWORDS: Combat Systems Software; System Integration; Data Model; Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE); Software Certification; Integration Scalability 


Brian Womble 

(202) 781-3165 

Thomas LeClercq 

(202) 781-3396 

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