Domain range

Multi-domain operations require a systems-of-systems approach to engineering and integration

Joint Operations in All Areas (JADO) is the military’s approach to ensuring that all forces can operate together seamlessly in the air, space, sea, land and cyberspace to gain an advantage in matters of information and decision on growing adversaries.

With multiple capabilities spanning the entire JADO footprint, the key to success is knowing how to create and implement an architecture to ensure connectivity between existing and disparate missions and infrastructure. This network will introduce the right level of decision support capacity to help operators turn information into action. To do this, the government will need large-scale systems integrators to play a key role in the development and maintenance of those solutions that enable the JADO mission.

JADO and its Concept of Joint Command and Control Over All Domains (JADC2) identifies the critical needs of a multidomain network that uses a unified architectural approach. This means that the Defense community must stop treating each platform, sensor and weapon as a separate system, and develop the tools and expertise to view the whole as an integrated system of systems (SoS) that includes sensors, makers and weapons or other effects.

Success in a JADO environment requires the seamless interoperability of multiple capabilities (the four corners of the above graphic) across domains, departments, and missions. System integration capabilities such as digital engineering will help create and maintain the architecture to enable this success.

A comprehensive digital engineering environment based on state-of-the-art Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) tools will be essential in the systems-of-systems architecture to meet the needs of JADO / JADC2. Using these tools, SoS engineering experts from systems integration companies will provide systems architecture, requirements specification and integration for complex systems of systems across the joint force. Applying these digital engineering technologies to SoS integration also helps define and establish baselines, operational needs, requirements and design, then verify and validate throughout the process. They also help the government develop and maintain agile environments with modular open architectures. These architectures allow new technologies from many sources to be easily connected to the SoS to meet new or evolving mission needs without the government making costly and time-consuming changes to the architecture.

Digital SoS testbeds, combining MBSE with low, medium and high fidelity modeling and simulation capabilities, will help the U.S. government define the right architecture and the right way to use future systems, and verify that these systems operate as required in a wider range of scenarios than can be exercised in live field trials.

One example where an SoS integrator can provide significant value is to help align and manage interfaces and architectures across the diversity of command and control systems used by the military. For example, the Navy operates many classes of ships: aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, cruisers, destroyers, smaller combat ships, and a growing number of unmanned surface ships (USVs). Each has a command and control system, generally referred to as a combat system or combat management system (CMS), designed for the needs of this type of vessel. The Navy plans to move to a common CMS software base that could function as a combat system for all types of ships. This would have a common core that would be used on all ships, with a library of modules that could be incorporated to implement specific functions unique to a class of ships or common to only a few classes, such as interfacing with a sensor or a specific weapon, communication network or commander of aircraft or boats with or without crew transported by the larger vessel. Each function involves one or more interfaces with other systems which have generally been developed and maintained by another contractor. This means that the CMS will have to accommodate scores and possibly hundreds of interfaces. If not managed carefully, this complexity can lead to unforeseen incompatibilities that can cost time and resources to correct, or worse, result in loss of combat capabilities.

There are three essential things that an experienced SoS integrator can do to help prevent this. First, by using MBSE tools to model CMS software requirements, architecture and all of its interfaces, the integrator can identify dependencies on other systems and alert when changes to those systems may impact the system. CMS and require modifications. Second, it can use MBSE tools to develop largely automated test procedures to ensure that CMS updates will remain compatible with new or updated sensors or other external systems. Finally, they can help the government align the requirements and architectures on different ships so that over time they can eliminate unnecessary complexity and duplication.

Partnering with SoS integrators to use and benefit from breakthrough digital engineering capabilities will be essential for the government. This will allow the government to retain control over the architecture and design of the SoS – the technical basis – while allowing it to easily adapt and expand its capabilities to meet new mission needs arising from the growing world. complex and difficult that we are facing.

Steve Jameson is Director and Solutions Architect for BAE Systems Intelligence & Security.