AEGIS Open Architecture [OA]
The US Navy (Navy) is transforming traditional business practices through Naval Open Architecture (Naval OA). Naval OA, a multi-faceted, enterprise-wide business model and product-line strategy leverages "open" computer design principles and architectures. It expands the technological open architecture (OA) model and taps into a multiple-developer network to deliver cost-effective, innovative, and rapid/spiral acquisition capabilities.
The Navy has historically acquired systems that are proprietary in design and engineering, require unique parts, equipment, and services to support them, are supported by a limited number of suppliers, and become very expensive to maintain. Moreover, systems and/or platforms were entirely eliminated rather than upgraded or modernized because of prohibitive costs. Rapid technological obsolescence, compounded by exorbitantly escalating costs for proprietary systems are daunting challenges because design, development, and acquisition timelines can span as much as 15 years before a military platform reaches operating forces.
The Navy has been on a path to transition surface ship systems to an open business model, commonly referred to as Open Architecture (OA), since 2002. An open computing system is a system that implements sufficient open specifications for interfaces, services, and supporting formats to enable properly engineered components to be utilized across a wide range of systems with minimal changes, to interoperate with other components on local and remote systems, and to interact with users in a style that facilitates portability.
As AEGIS transitions to open architecture, innovation will rapidly and simultaneously be introduced throughout the Fleet. O-A assures that there will be no "legacy ships" - instead, every ship of the line will be a state of-the-art combatant. Open architecture starts with fielding systems that leverage commercial standards to create an interoperable Fleet that connects seamlessly with sister Services, allies and many other global partners.
The goal of employing OA systems is to bring to bear competition and innovation to achieve improved performance and affordability through use of modular designs, allowing public access to design specifications, reusing software code, mandating common interface standards, and achieving seamless interoperability between system hardware and software applications.
The Senate Armed Services Committee concured in 2008 with the Navy's determination that OA is both a business imperative and a critical enabler for modernizing the Surface Navy. However, at that time the Navy's overall progress in transitioning to OA was falling short of expectations in the extent to which the Navy is opening up the Aegis combat system for the DDG-51 modernization program. The Senate Report accompanying S. 1547 (S. Rept. 110 77) directed the Navy to outline its plan and progress with implementing OA. The Navy's OA report provides valuable insight regarding the strategy for implementing OA. However, the Navy had not outlined a program plan that ensures alignment between system development schedules, development contracts, Navy budget, program management structure, and the Aegis modernization program.
The Senate Armed Services Committee's concerns with delays to OA implementation are compounded by the revelation this year of significant shortfalls to Aegis combat systems engineering funding through the future-years defense program. The committee understood that the Navy intends to continue with a sole source contract to develop improvements in the Aegis combat system for a 5-year period commencing in fiscal year 2009. This decision was driven by schedule pressures. The Navy has assessed that the Aegis combat system is insufficiently `open' to enable competition for Aegis modernization development efforts in the time remaining before the first ship installation, scheduled in 2012. The decision also reflected the challenges associated with performing the tasks necessary to open this complex combat system for competition under prior sole source development contracts.
The Senate Armed Services Committee was concerned that, absent a rigorous program plan that provides for steady, incremental progress at opening the Aegis combat system, in lock-step with contracts governing the system development, the Navy will continue to fall short of the progress required to achieve the objectives for OA. Therefore, the committee directed that no greater than 50 percent of the amounts authorized for fiscal year 2009 for the surface combatant combat system engineering program (PE 64307N) may be obligated under a sole source contract, until 30 days after submission by the Secretary of the Navy of a detailed program plan for implementing OA for the Aegis combat system. The program plan shall be included in subsequent quarterly reports to the congressional defense committees on Naval Open Architecture, and shall include methodology and scheduling for incrementally opening the Aegis combat system. The plan must provide for measuring discrete progress toward achieving a full open system commensurate with introduction of the 2012 Aegis baseline (formerly referred to as `COTS Refresh 3').
It was the Senate Armed Services Committee's intent that, following consultation with the Navy regarding the details of this plan, the Navy will: (1) establish future benchmarks to govern the transition from sole source to competitive development during the period 2010 to 2013; and (2) transfer the lessons learned from this initiative to remaining surface ship combat system development programs.
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