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3

Current Activities and Programs

During the course of the study, the committee reviewed documents and attended presentations by representatives of government agencies and industry on the key issues associated with aging avionics. Numerous government and industry organizations are addressing these issues from several different perspectives: policy making; process initiatives; open systems development; legacy system upgrades; DMS/OP; development of tools; and the reengineering or remanufacturing of obsolete parts. Policy changes relate to organizational structures, budget processes, laws, and other factors. Some initiatives have been established to address processes for replacing obsolete avionics (or avionics that will soon be obsolete) either through technology refresh of components or boards or through equipment upgrades. Still others are developing tools to track DMS/OP and reengineering methods so that systems can be maintained after the loss of a manufacturing source. Most organizations are searching for technology changes and advances to reduce or avoid DMS/OP, through so-called open systems, through legacy system upgrades that do not require major system replacements (e.g., software wrappers), or through technologies to remanufacture parts. Most of these activities are being done independently with little or no coordination. As an old saying goes, “a thousand flowers are blooming, each in itself a thing of beauty, but there is no plan or design for the garden.”

Table 3-1 summarizes many activities and programs attempting to resolve the DMS/OP problem (see Appendix A for brief descriptions). No doubt, there are numerous other activities of which the committee is unaware. As the table shows, many government organizations have adopted similar approaches or are funding similar projects, some of which are duplicative and/ or overlap. Although there is a good deal of activity in the area of process initiatives, economies of scale are being missed because of the lack of coordination. The successful obsolescence-management program at the air logistics center for the F-15 at Warner Robins Air Force Base, is a case in point. This program, which is recognized as a model program by the Air Force, uses the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Hub (a centralized communications network) and a commercial tool called avionics component obsolescence management (AVCOM) supplied by Manufacturing Technology, Incorporated. The B-2 program, another recognized leader in obsolescence management, uses a different commercial tool supplied by TACTech and does not participate in the AFRL Hub. These two programs are following their own courses (“stovepiping”), which prevents them from sharing information and finding common solutions to common problems.

Another example of stovepiping is the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP), chartered to be DoD's centralized database for managing and



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Page 21 3 Current Activities and Programs During the course of the study, the committee reviewed documents and attended presentations by representatives of government agencies and industry on the key issues associated with aging avionics. Numerous government and industry organizations are addressing these issues from several different perspectives: policy making; process initiatives; open systems development; legacy system upgrades; DMS/OP; development of tools; and the reengineering or remanufacturing of obsolete parts. Policy changes relate to organizational structures, budget processes, laws, and other factors. Some initiatives have been established to address processes for replacing obsolete avionics (or avionics that will soon be obsolete) either through technology refresh of components or boards or through equipment upgrades. Still others are developing tools to track DMS/OP and reengineering methods so that systems can be maintained after the loss of a manufacturing source. Most organizations are searching for technology changes and advances to reduce or avoid DMS/OP, through so-called open systems, through legacy system upgrades that do not require major system replacements (e.g., software wrappers), or through technologies to remanufacture parts. Most of these activities are being done independently with little or no coordination. As an old saying goes, “a thousand flowers are blooming, each in itself a thing of beauty, but there is no plan or design for the garden.” Table 3-1 summarizes many activities and programs attempting to resolve the DMS/OP problem (see Appendix A for brief descriptions). No doubt, there are numerous other activities of which the committee is unaware. As the table shows, many government organizations have adopted similar approaches or are funding similar projects, some of which are duplicative and/ or overlap. Although there is a good deal of activity in the area of process initiatives, economies of scale are being missed because of the lack of coordination. The successful obsolescence-management program at the air logistics center for the F-15 at Warner Robins Air Force Base, is a case in point. This program, which is recognized as a model program by the Air Force, uses the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Hub (a centralized communications network) and a commercial tool called avionics component obsolescence management (AVCOM) supplied by Manufacturing Technology, Incorporated. The B-2 program, another recognized leader in obsolescence management, uses a different commercial tool supplied by TACTech and does not participate in the AFRL Hub. These two programs are following their own courses (“stovepiping”), which prevents them from sharing information and finding common solutions to common problems. Another example of stovepiping is the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP), chartered to be DoD's centralized database for managing and

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Page 22 TABLE 3-1 Current DMS/OP Activities       Technology     Organization Activity Policy Making Process Initiative Open Systems Legacy Upgrade DMS/OP Tools Reengineering OSD Open Systems Joint Task Force (OS-JTF) X X X         Joint Technical Architecture (JTA) X X           Joint Strike Fighter   X X         Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Technology Office (ITO)   X X X       Defense Microelectronics Activity X X     X X X Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Material Shortages (DMSMS) Teaming Group   X     X X X Government Industry Data Exchange Program   X     X     Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Generalized Emulation of Microcircuits         X X X DLA Shared Data Warehouse   X     X X   USAF Aeronautical Systems Center Affordable Combat Avionics Office X X X X       Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) DMSMS Program X X     X X   AFRL Manufacturing Technology Electronics Parts Obsolescence Initiative X X   X X X X USN Naval Aviation Systems Team   X X X      

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Page 23 USN Navy Helicopter Modernization Program     X X     X Diminishing Manufacturing Technology Center X X     X X   USA Aviation Electronic Combat Office     X X X     Modernization Through Spares/Continuous Technology-Refresh Program   X   X X     Aviation Applied-Technology Directorate X X X         Rotary Open-System Architecture     X         Industry Lockheed Martin Proven Path and Systems, Technologies, Architecture, and Acquisition Reform Study   X X X X X   Boeing Bold Stroke and Open Avionics Systems Integration Study   X X X X X   Avionics-Component Obsolescence Management         X X   Transition Analysis of Component Technology         X X   SMART Part   X X X X   X National Rotorcraft Technology Center X X   X X     Software Engineering Institute   X X     X   National Center for Advanced Technologies X X           University of Maryland Computer-Aided Life-Cycle Engineering (CALCE) Center   X       X  

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Page 24 sharing information on DMS/OP material shortages among DoD and industry groups to reduce redundancies and improve effectiveness. Today, however, Air Force, Army, and Navy organizations, as well as commercial companies, provide their own alerts, health analyses, and recommended solutions. GIDEP has never been fully used. Capable manufacturers feel that the visibility of component issues (DMS) across multiple products and platforms would present a real opportunity to create innovative and cost effective solutions to parts and service problems. In the area of open systems architecture, the committee noted that the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) (a federally funded R&D center sponsored by DoD through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) has been actively involved in work on open systems since 1993, developing tools and process initiatives, and developing formal standards. However, neither DoD nor the Air Force has taken full advantage of advances in software architectures. The committee identified more than 25 organizations, both within and outside the Air Force, that are working on various aspects of the DMS/ OP problem. Although each organization may be effective in its limited area, overall coordination of these activities is loose, at best, and the results are not broadly distributed to DoD or the Air Force. With a coherent DoD/Air Force strategy for dealing with DMS/OP problems, a collective management could be established for these diverse activities, which could lead to more productive use of the results and minimize redundant expenditures.