Although the need for a new system is specific and justified by the DoD 5000 series of directives, no specific guidance is available that addresses in-depth requirements for a mission profile. A statement of system need is generally proposed relative to (1) a weakness in countering a new enemy threat or (2) a perceived inability to counter an enemy threat. Mission profiles are addressed only in the arguments stated in the threat response requirements, and often contain incomplete information from the design engineering viewpoint. Therefore, it is left for the contractor to determine the specific attributes of system performance that are requirements. Many conditions of system/subsystem overstress have occurred in the field. Those incidents often have been traced to inadequate design margins or to the inability of the design to meet all operational requirements in the full range of field environments.
Accurate and complete specification of a mission profile is the solution to this problem. Mission profile definition supports the entire acquisition process (e.g., design definition, stress analysis, test design, logistic support analysis). The degree to which the specified mission profile corresponds to service use conditions and operations establishes the ability of the product to perform its intended missions in all operational scenarios. Adequate mission profile definition is essential in assuring rapid progress toward design maturity as determined by service use, not development and operational testing.
Mission profiles include both functional and environmental profiles. An environmental mission profile shows on a time scale the significant environmental parameters including their levels and duration that are expected to occur during the life of the weapon system. It defines the total envelope of environments in which the weapon system must perform, including conditions of storage, handling, transportation, and operational use. A functional mission profile shows on a time scale all the functions that must be performed by the system to accomplish the intended mission(s). Both functional and environmental profiles are the government's responsibility.
Functional and environmental mission profiles are used in preparation of the system specification, or otherwise included in the request for proposal. It is the contractor's responsibility to use these profiles to establish the system functional and environmental profiles that become the basis for the design requirements for the component parts of the system. Any updates to the mission profile must be communicated to the contractor for use in changing the design requirements as necessary to meet the new tactical need.
Mission profiles, when used in a logical and thorough fashion, greatly enhance mission effectiveness and timeliness of system deployment. The lack of top-down, integrated, and disciplined approach has impeded the effectiveness of the mission profile technique. The use of the mission profile as a system integration tool, and as an efficient means of assuring compatibility of the design requirements with tactical mission requirements, ensure effective systems development.