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The Role of Standards in Fostering Capability Evolution: Does Design Matter? Insights from Interoperability Standards

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[Technical Report, Research Report]

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The U.S. military is currently engaged in the design of new command and control interface standards in the belief that joint all-domain or universal standards will improve interoperability between existing and future systems and unleash a new wave of evolution in how warfighters interact to defend U.S. interests and defeat adversaries. The role that interface standards play in fostering interoperability and innovation has been the subject of considerable study. It is generally accepted that todays internet protocol standards have enabled one of the greatest technological and social revolutions in history, fundamentally changing how humans work, learn, and interact. Yet, history also offers examples in which standards hindered innovation by enshrining the status quo - simply standardizing an interface is not enough to enable interoperability and innovation. Therefore, to tease out potential explanations for which standards enable interoperability and innovation and which do not, in this report we address a fundamental question What features of interface standards foster interoperability and capability evolution This report should be of interest to all engaged in the development, design, and deployment of interoperability standards within the U.S. military and defense industry.

Subject Categories:

  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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[A, Approved For Public Release]