The committee believes that it
is more feasible to develop operational architectures developed for particular
joint missions or tasks, organized around either significant operational
capabilities or mission slices. When the spectrum of military operations is
decomposed into joint "mission slices" and their supporting information
"threads," the scope of the architecture problem and the data standardization
problem both become more manageable. A mission slice is a component of an
overall theater mission, such as close air support, suppression of enemy air
defenses, or theater air and missile defense. Information "threads" supporting
mission slices (e.g., the track files needed to support a theater air defense
mission slice or the information flows associated with generation and
execution of an air tasking order) can be identified and analyzed. These
slices should not be confused with the sorts of vertical applications that
were solved by what are today viewed as stovepipe solutions. Rather, they are
intended as horizontal slices across the services and specific C4I systems.
Recommendation I-1: The Assistant Secretary of Defense
for C3I and the Joint Chiefs of Staff should complement the DOD's current
broad interoperability strategy with focused efforts in limited, operationally
important domains, to include the development of Joint Operational and Joint
Systems architectures for these domains.
A focus on architecture development for mission slices and information threads has two major advantages. The first is that is it allows DOD to set priorities. Progress in interoperability will take years, and the interoperability problem will never be solved "for good." It therefore makes sense to focus efforts on the areas of highest importance to the DOD. The second is that by prioritizing its efforts, processes and tools and techniques developed for the first efforts can be applied to later efforts, making those efforts easier to manage and more likely to be successful. This recommendation is not motivated simply by recognition of resource limitations or the need to "learn by doing." It also reflects the committee's view that an all-at-once development of an operational architecture covering the entire span of DOD's operational requirements is infeasible.
Criteria recommended for selecting and defining a mission slice or operating capability as a focus for interoperability efforts include the following:
- The mission slice or operating capability should have considerable operational significance.
- The mission slice or operating capability should be inherently joint and involve a large enough number of systems to warrant the effort. Selecting such a slice or capability ensures that the architecture effort will be horizontal in nature, and thus resolve interoperability issues rather than create new stovepipes. For example, both theater air and missile defense and the single integrated air picture are inherently joint, as they involve a varied mix of sensors and weapons whose information flow requirements pass through multiple service boundaries.
- The mission slice or operating capability should have metrics or end-to-end performance indicators that can indicate improvement. For example, performance indicators for the effectiveness of air and missile defense have existed for a long time (e.g., percentage of attackers that penetrate the defenses). In systems that provide capabilities such as the single integrated air picture (SIAP), the number of reported air tracks in the systems for every real object in the air or other such data would serve as comparable quantitative indicators of performance.
- The mission slice should be one in which significant foundational work has been undertaken. One mission slice for
which this is true is theater air/missile defense, an area that is highly
significant operationally, is associated with serious force integration
issues, and--not least--has substantial operational and system architecture
work already done by the Joint Theater Air Missile Defense Organization
(operational architectures) and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
Significant operational capabilities are another useful focus for interoperability efforts. The committee believes that programs providing a common operating picture represent a set of good choices, because they have broad applicability (interoperability needs are rich), are contained (bounded), and support an operational capability. Work on perhaps 10% to 20% of the data elements would yield a major interoperability payoff, and thus the effort, albeit expensive, would be rewarded. A key information thread of the common operational picture (COP) is the data elements in the "track file"; this would be an appropriate first thread on which to focus attention. COP programs have been conceptualized to provide capabilities at several levels. For example, within the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), the COP provides a common operating picture at the headquarters level. Other examples of operational capabilities on which to focus include the common tactical picture (CTP) and the SIAP--both capabilities critical to achieving effective joint operations and status reporting up the chain of command.
It is understood that the lead for developing C4I architectures is a shared responsibility of the Directorate for C4I Systems of the Joint Staff (operational architecture) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I (systems and technical architectures), with support coming from other DOD elements depending on which mission slice is selected (e.g., from the Joint Theater Air Missile Defense Organization if theater missile defense were chosen as the mission slice). Given the urgent need to develop an operational and system architecture to guide ongoing development, the committee recommends that the Directorate for C4 Systems of the Joint Staff and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I select an appropriate mission slice and initiate an activity to develop operational and systems architectures as a mechanism for identifying and prioritizing interoperability needs and problems--both today and prospectively.
Again, the consideration of available foundational work is
important and suggests that a candidate would be a collaborative Joint Theater
Air Missile Defense Organization/Ballistic Missile Defense Organization effort
on the theater missile defense mission--an activity that would yield specific
results for a crucial joint mission and also serve as a pilot of the "mission
slice" approach.31 Also, the committee believes that it would be useful to draw on service efforts to establish architectures for guidance in selecting mission slices and management approaches.
Note that it is not the intent of this recommendation to
suggest that DOD should concentrate only on limited domains. The focused
activities recommended here are intended to complement the standards and common
infrastructure elements that provide a necessary foundation for mission-specific