to address various aspects of the aging avionics problem. However, these efforts are poorly coordinated and often duplicative.
The committee identified more than two dozen organizations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the military services, and industry that collectively spend tens of millions of dollars each year on technology development, software tools, manufacturing processes, circuit redesign and reengineering, and policy development to address the aging avionics problem. Although many of these programs are making substantial progress, they are poorly integrated. No enterprise-wide leadership is being provided.
Finding 4. Widespread application of a MOSA to avionics architectures would enable DoD to manage the aging avionics problem more affordably, for both new aircraft and many legacy systems.
Among the many organizations that testified before the committee, there was widespread agreement on this point, although there were diverse interpretations of what MOSA means.
Finding 5. Most of the benefits of MOSA can be realized through a “modular” approach. Although a fully “open” system would have some additional advantages to the government in a few situations (as they do in certain commercial sectors where quantities and related factors can support a viable business case for this approach), most DoD acquisitions cannot justify a totally open approach. The “modular” aspect of MOSA, however, could be applied to virtually all DoD products.
In theory, competition among suppliers in an open-systems approach could reduce government procurement costs. But business models must also be developed to provide incentives for suppliers to participate and to protect the intellectual property rights of avionics suppliers and their subtier sources.
Finding 6. There is no DoD-wide enterprise strategy, and only an embryonic Air Force-wide strategy, for dealing with the aging/obsolescent avionics problem. As a result, no enterprise management or leadership is addressing the problem on a full-time basis.
Partly because of “stove-pipe” management structures, organized around individual weapon systems, management responsibility for dealing with the aging avionics problem is fragmented. The committee found little evidence of cross-program, cross-platform, or cross-service coordination in the Air Force.
Finding 7. The Joint Technical Architecture (JTA) for defining weapon system architectures and standards extends beyond those needed for interplatform interoperability. The extension into intraplatform standards is neither consistent nor integrated with MOSA approaches for addressing aging avionics. In fact, the JTA has shown an alarming reversion to the Military Specification (Mil Spec) era by requiring an onerous number of standards and specifications for intraplatform avionics systems.
Finding 8. The technical expertise of DoD's depot support maintenance personnel in state-of-the-art avionics systems appears to be eroding as the workforce ages and retires.
DoD (as well as the defense industry) is having difficulty attracting highly trained young engineers, and many younger, high-potential personnel are leaving government service for industry, where pay scales are higher and opportunities for advancement are more abundant.
Finding 9. As modifications and upgrades of aging avionics systems continue, aircraft, even of the same type, are being equipped with avionics systems with different compositions, capabilities and compatibilities, thus exacerbating the configuration management problem.
Finding 10. Long acquisition and upgrade cycles virtually require that avionics technology-refresh cycles be built into program plans during the engineering and manufacturing development phase prior to initial fielding.
Driven by the commercial market, component product cycles are becoming shorter and shorter, while military acquisition cycles are becoming longer as a result of funding constraints. This mismatch only exacerbates the obsolescence problem and drives up costs.
Finding 11. Because of legal restrictions on the use of appropriated funds in various segregated accounts (“colors of money”), program managers are unable to