News: The Army's Integration Team
Story by Katie Cain
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - On Oct. 1, 2011, the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Integration transitioned to the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, or ASA(ALT), to manage system integration and the Army’s new acquisition model known as the Agile Process. SoSI became a subordinate organization of ASA(ALT).
Reporting directly to the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASA(ALT) headquarters, SoSI was stood up as part of continuing acquisition reforms meant improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater and work more closely with industry.
Today, SoSI leads the Army’s integration efforts from its headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., with supporting offices in Warren, Mich. and Fort Bliss, Texas. SoSI spearheads material and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations, serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process and leads Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.
The Agile Process seeks technology improvements from both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software needs as determined by requirements analysis, and directly linked to the Army Force Generation model. Army Force Generation is the systematic process in which brigades equip, train and deploy. The NIE is a key part of the Agile Process and Synchronized Fielding of Capability Set Management across the Program Executive Office community.
The formation of SoSI, in part, was a result of acquisition reform recommendations studied under the Army Acquisition Review. This organizational change is helping to implement a series of the recommendations proposed by the study, such as working more closely with industry, acquiring more technical data packages and conducting integrated testing earlier and more often in the acquisition process. In addition, organizations within SoSI are working on efforts to improve the synchronization of requirements and acquisition procedures at the front end of the process so as to ensure achievable, clearly defined cost and schedule goals.
SoSI utilizes the Family of Systems approach to ensure integration and interoperability between Army Programs of Record, current force systems, urgent need systems and other Doctrine, Organization, Training, Leadership, Personnel and Facilities elements to achieve integrated unit capabilities for a full-spectrum force. This integration approach will be implemented through development, acquisition, testing, product improvement and fielding, while ensuring total ownership cost reduction.
SoSI provides system engineering, integration and test evaluation expertise to field fully-integrated and tested Capability Sets composed of vehicles, network elements, equipment and supporting infrastructure to modernize Brigade Combat Teams to achieve unprecedented joint combat capability in conjunction with the ARFORGEN process.
Serving as the lead network architect and systems integrator for the NIE, SoSI synchronizes the effort across the broader materiel development community, integrates and synchronizes services and support to all ASA(ALT) and industry participants, and serves as the ASA(ALT) single interface to the Army Test and Evaluation Command and the user: the Training and Doctrine Command, the Brigade Modernization Command and the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the 3,800 soldier-strong brigade, based at Fort Bliss, who execute the NIEs.
To support Capability Set Management and to ensure that the Army can keep pace with the rapid technology maturation within industry, the Army is transforming its current acquisition methods through a seven-phase Agile Process. Through the Agile Process, the Army assesses capability gaps, rapidly forms requirements, solicits mature industry solutions and performs laboratory and field evaluations in order to inform acquisition decisions.
SoSI leads three of the seven phases: Phase 1 (Solicit Potential Solutions), Phase 2 (Candidate Assessment) and Phase 4 (NIR). The Agile Process allows the Army to keep pace with industry and technological advances, reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to respond to the rapid changes in soldier requirements, incrementally improve the network over time and provide deployed units with better capabilities, more quickly, and in a more cost-effective manner.
The output of the Agile Process is Synchronized Fielding. SoSI is synchronizing the implementation and fielding of Capability Set 13, composed of vehicles, network components and associated equipment and software that, for the first time, will deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout an entire Brigade Combat Team formation.
Through the NIE/Agile Process, SoSI ensures Capability Set 13, slated for fielding to deploying BCTs starting in 2013, is integrated and sustainable. This is the first time the Army has fielded fully-integrated sets of network capability, thus necessitating business and organizational changes to support the development and fielding efforts.
SOSI current programs:
PM Current is the SoSI office responsible for NIE execution and system integration at Fort Bliss, Texas. Headed by Col. Gail Washington, and consisting of system engineers, materiel integrators, logisticians and C4 technical experts, the PM office is the NIE material integrator, configuration manager and systems engineering lead for the NIE. PM Current also manages industry Field Service Representative support to the NIEs and acts as the official SoSI representative to what is known as the NIE “TRIAD” management team for material issues. The TRIAD is comprised of personnel SoSI, the Army Test and Evaluation Command and the Brigade Modernization Command.
The Futures Directorate is led by Kelly Alexander and headquartered in the National Capitol Region. Futures is responsible for ASA(ALT) management of the Agile Process. Supporting this process, the Futures Directorate solicits solutions to known capability gaps from industry and government organizations for potential participation in the NIE process, manages early solution evaluations across all stakeholders, and conducts competition and oversees integration and configuration management across the Program Executive Office community. One of the directorate’s key functions is leading a team of stakeholders in assessing the responses to the Army’s solicitations and proposing candidates to be evaluated in an NIE. The Futures Directorate also leads the drafting and release of Sources Sought notifications and Requests for Proposals for mature capability solutions to participate in a NIE event. Upon conclusion of the evaluation and integration work conducted at C4ISR labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., SoSI manages the configuration and transitions it to Fort Bliss/White Sands Missile Range for NIE integration and training.
Synchronized Fielding Directorate
SoSI’s Synchronized Fielding Directorate maintains configuration management of the final Capability Set technical network baseline approved during the NIE process and manages the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule for production and deployment. The Directorate uses the IMS to coordinate individual fielding among PEOs, program managers, U.S. Forces Command, G8 and the gaining BCTs, while maintaining sustainment planning and asset handoff to the gaining unit. In addition, the Synchronized Fielding team coordinates with system Program Managers for maturation of B-kit components and with platform program managers for maturation of A-kit components, seeking proper integration of both.