Open Systems and the Systems Engineering Process
OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (ACQUISITION AND TECHNOLOGY) WASHINGTON DC
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The open system approach is both a technical approach to systems engineering and a preferred business strategy that is becoming widely applied by commercial manufacturers of large complex systems. It has the attention of DoD management who have mandated its use by DoD systems developers. Why Because without such a change in system development practice, DoD risks being unable to maintain continued superior combat capability affordably Today, legacy weapons systems continue to be developed with their own, often unique and frequently closed, infrastructures, making upgrading or modifying them over their expected lifetimes 20 to 40 years both problematic and expensive. Also, reduced procurement budgets and increased dominance of commercial technology cause acquisition managers to increasingly rely on commercial markets for affordable product development and support. So, as DoDs role shifts from being a technology producer to being a technology consumer, it relies more on commercial products whose design is not controlled by DoD and whose lifetimes are much shorter and more volatile than the weapons systems they support e.g., years vs. decades. As a result, acquisition managers risk relying on unique products provided by a single supplier at high non-completive prices and with little opportunity for technology insertion by other suppliers. This paper discusses the need for a rigorous systems engineering process which incorporates open systems concepts and principles -- where resulting system designs more readily accommodate changing technology to achieve cost, schedule, and performance benefits by promoting multiple sources of supply and technology insertion.
- Administration and Management
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies