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Interoperable Acquisition for Systems of Systems: The Challenges

September 2006 Technical Note
James Smith, Mike Phillips

This 2006 report explores how systems-of-systems realities necessitate changes in the processes used to acquire, develop, field, and sustain operational capability.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number

CMU/SEI-2006-TN-034

Abstract

Large, complex systems development has always been challenging, even when the "only" things a program manager had to worry about were cost, schedule, and performance within a single program. The emergence of operational concepts such as network-centric operations, greatly expanded use of joint and combined operations, and rampant growth in system complexity has led to the prevalence of interoperable systems of systems as the preferred solution to providing operational capability. This report explores how systems-of-systems realities necessitate changes in the processes used to acquire, develop, field, and sustain operational capability. Interoperable acquisition is defined, and key concepts are explored through an analysis of some of the ways in which traditional (i.e., system-centric) acquisition approaches can result in problems when applied to a system-of-systems context.