This vision statement promotes discussions about SBA,
and most people basically agree with its intent. However, an expanded
definition of SBA is instructive:
Simulation Based Acquisition is an iterative,
integrated product and process approach to acquisition, using modeling and
simulation, that enables the warfighting, resource allocation, and
acquisition communities to fulfill the warfighter's materiel needs, while
maintaining Cost As an Independent Variable (CAIV) over the system's entire
life cycle and within the DoD's system of systems.
A discussion of each of the definition's critical elements follows.
"Simulation Based Acquisition is an iterative, integrated product
and process approach to acquisition": SBA enables Integrated Product and
Process Development (IPPD) teams to converge on optimal solutions by balancing
requirements through an iterative design process. DoD and contractor
organizations work internally and with each other as an integrated team
effort.30 IPPD used to
mean that we put a logistician on the design team to translate his maintenance
and support knowledge into meaningful design guidelines. Now IPPD means arming
the hands-on experts with the tools to rapidly see the results of their design
inputs, thereby making them a part of the design team. For example, using
three-dimensional "solid" models, the F-22 aircraft program enabled two
mechanics to inject maintainability changes into the design tradeoffs, because
they were able to visualize the system much earlier in the process.
"...through modeling and simulation": M&S activities make SBA
possible. Stepping into the synthetic environment enables exercising the power
of simulation. Within the same time frame, many more analytical excursions can
be made with virtual designs than would be possible with physical prototypes.
The increased level of user involvement, coupled with compressed time and
space feedback, lead to better learning and problem solving. This is far
superior to the traditional approach, which is driven by real experiences
using physical prototypes.31 M&S facilitates the
team and increases communication, making team members more effective.
"...the warfighting, resource allocation, and acquisition
communities": SBA is more than just acquisition. SBA helps to link the DoD's
three principal decision support systems: the Requirements Generation System,
the Planning Programming and Budgeting System, and the Acquisition Management
System.32 Figure 2-4 shows the relationship of these
three communities. The name of the community representing the Requirements
Generation System is changed to the more expansive term of warfighting
community, which includes: requirements personnel, operators,
maintainers/sustainers, and trainers. The resource allocation community is
also an integral part of the acquisition process, as it allocates the program
budgets (subject to approval by OSD and Congress), and has the burden of
balancing the Services' and DoD's budget(s). The acquisition community, as
used here, includes both government and industry agencies involved in
developing and fielding military systems.
"...to fulfill the warfighter's
materiel needs while maintaining Cost As an Independent
Variable (CAIV)": indicates the use of a
strategy that balances mission needs with projected out-year resources. We are now
saying that we will trade performance in order to achieve our cost
objective. By linking improved cost models with our computer-aided engineering tools, we'll
be able to better predict the costs of different alternatives
so as to make better informed tradeoff analyses.
"...over the system's entire life cycle" means to look both within and across all phases of the program, as early as possible during the acquisition of the system. It encompasses the collaborative use of simulation beyond the traditional performance issues to address the system's entire life cycle cost issues during the design, to include manufacturability, supportability, lethality, sustainability, mobility, survivability, flexibility, interoperability, reliability, and affordability.
"...and within the DoD's system of systems." This signifies to fully explore the system's interaction within and impact upon the DoD's system of systems, to capture the desire for effective total systems integration, as well as the collaborative use of M&S across programs. As the United States participates in greater numbers of combined operations, this aspect of the definition will have to be expanded to include a "system of systems" look across allied systems and programs as well.
Figure 2-5 graphically illustrates the three dimensions that SBA attempts to integrate. First, the vertical dimension is where M&S has been traditionally applied within each program phase, without much regard to reuse later in the program. The second dimension SBA attempts to integrate is the horizontal application of M&S across the phases of the program. More than just sticking with and growing models over the life of a program, this means addressing the entire life cycle's issues as early as possible during the design. The acquisition community must stay focused on the real goal, which is to produce superior weapon systems, not superior virtual prototypes. The key to success is to get the design right before building the system, after which, in effect,
the design becomes frozen. This horizontal application across phases of the
program indicates an attempt to explore the cost drivers across the entire
life cycle of the system, and when it makes sense, to address those issues in
the design. For example, more reliable systems can translate into better
combat effectiveness, as well as potential manpower decreases for maintenance,
decreased mobility footprint, and reduced sparing levels. Acquiring good cost
figures for these types of operations and support costs across the expected
life of the system will help determine how much should be spent on reliability
during system design. After production, as we continue to refine our system
models with field data and operator input, the simulations will help us decide
if we need to modify or build a new system, as well as consider non-materiel
solutions. Looking at the furthest point in the life cycle, there may even be
disposal costs that could be mitigated by changes in the design. While the
importance of looking at disposal costs may seem somewhat far-fetched, it is
interesting to note that the Army spends about $100 million a year
demilitarizing ammunition, of which $13 million alone is for stocks from World
War I.33 If we don't start looking at disposal costs during the design, we may find that in the future, we won't be able to afford to buy the next-generation system, because we couldn't afford to dispose of the current one.
Finally, the third dimension SBA attempts to integrate is across programs. If we continue to maximize each system alone, the overall system of systems will be less than optimal. Programs need to recognize the value of the interaction of their system within the overall system of systems. Individual programs cannot afford to build everything themselves; they need to rely on each other for their similar needs. There are few design tradeoff analyses being conducted within the services between their own programs, much less between different services' programs. Currently, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) reviews all Mission Need Statements (MNS) for joint applicability, and follows up on major programs before milestone reviews. To do these tradeoffs effectively, however, they have to be made at a level much lower than the JROC. The capability to do these tradeoff analyses will begin to extend beyond the traditional interface control procedure method, which allows each individual system to be optimized, but which results in the overall system of systems' performance being sub-optimized. Failure to look at the big picture can also result in over-designing systems as well as unnecessary duplication of effort, both of which waste resources.
When we begin to look outside a single system, we see
even fewer interactions of these issues in the context between systems, as for
example the maintenance and logistics considerations between the next
generation amphibious assault vehicle and the ships that will transport it. We
see this happening even today within large, integrated weapon systems such as
submarines and aircraft, where the major sub-components (sonars, torpedoes,
missiles, and munitions, etc.) are designed and developed independently and
integrated later after each has been built. The design interface is controlled
by an interface control document (ICD), with little to no concurrent design
tradeoffs possible across the ICD.