This chapter lays out a set of challenges that DOD faces in attempting to achieve a sufficient level of C4I system interoperability. The committee notes that some of these challenges stem at least in part from a broader issue, namely, the distributed, horizontal structure and organization of DOD itself, as established by Title X. In the recommendations that follow, the committee assumes no changes to this fundamental framework.
The committee's approach in making recommendations is to base them on principles and lessons learned from both the military and commercial sectors, and to focus more on outcomes than specific means. Thus the recommendations do not provide a high level of detail in identifying the specific ways to achieve these outcomes; these decisions will be dynamic in nature and are rightly made by the actors specified in the recommendations below.
Finally, the committee notes that its recommendations have applicability to the challenge of interoperability with at least a subset of coalition partners. Interoperability with partners that are unanticipated, and with whom no strong cooperative framework is in place, can largely be approached only through adherence to and influence on worldwide commercial standards. However, interoperability with partners who are members of an existing alliance framework or mechanism such as NATO or the U.S. military relationship with Korea, can be addressed by using approaches similar to those recommended below for dealing with joint interoperability: (a) the use of mission slices to focus architectural efforts, (b) the use of standards, particularly commercial ones, (c) a bias toward the use of COTS technology, (d) the scorecard approach to measuring progress in achieving interoperability, and (e) the establishment of a testing and field support activity. The committee recognizes, however, that the level of management complexity is clearly much greater when multiple nations are concerned.