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Open Systems Joint Task Force Case Study of the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Common Sensor (IEWCS)

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The open systems approach OSA is both a technical approach and a preferred business strategy that allows DoD to field superior combat capability quicker and at a more affordable cost. The OSA defines key interfaces using commercially supported specifications and standards. The systems development flexibility inherent in the OSA, and the more widespread availability of conforming commercial products, mitigates potential problems associated with a defense dependent manufacturing base. An OSA-based weapons system development serves to reduce direct research and development RD investments by facilitating technology transfer of subsystems and components developed by others, as well as promote reuse of software components, and thereby can significantly decrease the rime required to field an improved operational capability. In addition, life-cycle costs, which are dominated by operations and support OS costs, are reduced by long lived, standards-based architectures that facilitate upgrades by incremental evolutionary technology insertion, rather than by large-scale revolutionary system redesign. The OSA-based design thereby serves to overcome system obsolescence and to maintain technological currency in the face of continuous improvements in available technology. The Open Systems Joint Task Force OS-JTF has developed this Case Study of a recent weapons systems development that has successfully incorporated an OSA within its acquisition processes so as to provide a fully analyzed and well-documented example of an actual OSA-based system implementation. This study presents the U.S. Armys Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Common Sensor IEWCS and its application of an OSA-based technical architecture and systems procurement. This Case Study will detail how this particular program achieved the above benefits of an OSA while mitigating potential risks.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Military Intelligence
  • Countermeasures

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