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IV. RECOMMENDATIONS The Committee has four major recommendations to make to the Air Force i n thi s i nterim report. Recommendation #l - Phase IY Post-Implementation Enchancement Plan. Prepare a Phase IV post-implementation enhancement plan. The Air Force recognizes it needs a short-term software improve- ment program, with the objectives of replacing the Air Force On-Line Data System (AFOLDS) operating system, speeding up performance on the current hardware, and completing many other fixes or enhancements in the next two to three years. The Air Force has a list of fixes to be made, a feeling for priorities, and estimates of resources required. However, the Air Force does not have a plan to carry out such fixes. The Air Force has not put priorities, justification, resources, and the detailed technical design together in one document. Such a document could be used to get Air Force approval and funding, and to elicit commitments to specific improvements by specific dates. Instead, the Air Force has a "best efforts" program under- way, using available resources and promising no specific dates or improvements. The Committee proposes the Air Force determine the short term resource requirements, decide which improvements can be afforded and should be done, and then commit to a resource plan and schedule. The plan should cover a number of disparate subjects, including at least the following: o Training of base personnel in the operation of current system; 0 Improving operating procedures, including debugging and simplification as appropriate; o Replacing obsolete systems software or programs left from the pretransition software, such as AFOLDS and FRAMES;* * FRAMES is software developed by the DSDO for use on the Burroughs systems to generate screen-formatted data entry forms. The software has been transitioned to the Phase IV system and is considered by the Air Force to be highly inefficient. -27-
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o Modernizing data entry procedures and media, such as the elimination of card readers where appropriate; Using Phase IV hardware and system software features to extend the functionality of current applications systems (on-line data entry and error correction and files for on-line inquiry are examples of possible efforts); and o Improving software maintenance procedures. Appendix C provides an outline of the contents and organization of such a plan; in effect, it is a simplified statement of work for such a planning effort. The Committee believes the potential benefits are clear: o Better and more uniform operation of Phase IV systems throughout the Air Force, faster response times, improved availability, and fewer aborted runs, o Better information exchange among all interested parties; o Increased functional capabilities for more users; o Release of functional resources--both people and machine capacity--for other tasks; and Evidence--to the fie10--of a top-1eve] commitment to make Phase IV work and to improve it. We strongly recommend the Air Force prepare such a written plan within 90 days. Recommendation #2 - Standard Base-Leve] Automation Configuration. Specify a standard Air Force base-level automation configuration, using the following suggestions as guidelines: o Specify the minimum set of hardware, system software, LANs, and off-base interfaces that will be present at Air Force bases, so that systems designers will know that at J east the minimum facility will be present and can design accordingly. A necessary precursor is the promulgation of a policy statement, in which the Air Force should indicate its intentions for base-level automation. -- The necessity for an increase in the present system capacity also must be considered. O Develop a list of approved hardware and system software, and strictly limit any other equipment or software from being installed at standard operating bases. In particular, the -28-
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systems to be deployed in wartime or threat of war should be developed and operated on equipment that is the same as or similar to that used by the wings and squadrons in peacetime. We are not suggesting the restriction of one-of-a-kind installations at major command headquarters, ALCs, the Air Force Academy, etc., but do wish to restrict the variety of equipment which would be available to support wartime operations, even for command-specific base-level functions. This list would include the configuration to be specified, minicomputers and microcomputers available on requirements contracts, and particular applications which as a prac- tical matter should be "grandfathered." o Develop both the strategy and procedures to monitor, support, update and upgrade the standard configuration for bases that have more than the minimum workload, and to accommodate improvements in technology. Provisions should be made to accommodate upgrades within the approved families of equipment even if the hardware has not yet been developed and, therefore, cannot yet be specified. Deployment and non-nuclear warfare considerations should be addressed as an integral part of such planning. (That is, which parts of the hardware and systems software would deploy with the squadrons?) o Establish and maintain a testbed for this concept of "standard Air Force base-level automation facility," perhaps at an Advanced Concepts Base. The testbed should evaluate the pos- sibilities for such modification and improvements as: more processing Power; more channels, memory, storage, and other peripherals; microcomputers; mu1tistation supermicrocomputers, a LAN, improved system software, including a DBMS and a fourth generation language, distributed processing technology; and an architecture to tie al] these elements together. O Specify the standard configuration by 198S, and start imple- menting it in 1990. Recommendation #3 - Base-Level Logistics and Operations/Combat Support Functions. Reexamine the base-level logistics and operations/combat support functions; then produce new functional specifications for automation systems support. a. Base-Leve] Logistics. The Committee believes serious study and design work is merited by the concept of an integrated base-level logistics system for the l99Os, to embed and/or replace the current -29-
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("stovepipe") maintenance, supply and transportation systems. This work should begin with a re-examination of the base-level logistical needs for that time period, not constrained by currently defined components. The goal should be the reorganization of the supply, maintenance, and transportation functions into a single, seamless system, with a base information architecture and a functional requirements statement to support the reorganized structure. Project Harvest Resource and the CAMS func- tional design are good beginnings but they do not go far enough. We recommend: o that the kind of thought embodied in the supply study be extended to apply simultaneously to base-level supply, maintenance, and transportation plus interfaces to the wholesale logistics functions, o that the type of information analysis done for CAMS be extended to the combined logistics functions without being constrained by the characteristics of today's information systems; o and that the benefits of implementing the resulting total system be compared with the likely benefits of continuing the incremental change from the currently approved, individual base-level functional systems. Conceptual redesign of base-level logistics processes, and the development of an information specification to support these processes, will be difficult and take time. We estimate it will take a group of combined operations, logistics and information systems people about a year to develop the integrated concept and estimate the costs and benefits of implementation. But by that time, the benefits of continuing to develop a new, integrated, and automated base-level process can be identified. If benefits justify costs, it should take another year to develop the information requirements for the new base-level logistical systems for the early 199Os. The recommended target dates, then, are 1988 for completion of the specification and 1990 for the start of the implementation phase. b. Base-Level Operations/Combat Support. The Committee also - beileves it is time to begin work on defining the information needs of the Wing Commanders, Squadron Commanders and battle and operations leaders and of the base-level operations functions on a systematic basis. The specif- ications should be performed MACCOM by MACCOM, to cover those functions common to all bases and specific to the host MAdCOM. It is our judgment that such requirements could be implemented by an incremental process, if based on an integrated management information systems philosophy built over the current "stovepipe" systems. First, however, it is recommended that each MAdCOM provide a top-down description of the required operations/combat support system, to serve as guidance to the wing commanders. As the system emerges through a bottom-up, incremental process, the parent MAdCOM should determine how and to what extent new
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applications should be standardized throughout the command's Jike-type wings and squadrons. Eventually there will have been established a MACCOM-approved information system that will more likely be able to meet the operations/combat support needs of the wings and squadrons because it will have been generated by the wings and squadrons themselves. The Committee strongly recommends that wing/squadron/base logis- tics and operations support systems be designed, equipped, and operated in a mode to be effective in both peace and conflict. But we believe such an approach requires significant change in current equipment procurement practices, and comprehensive system design at wing/squadron/base-level to insure systems compatibility and interoperability. Because of its complexity and necessarily evolutionary character, it is unlikely such a process can move as quickly as that involving the logistics function. However, it should be possible to complete the initial steps fairly soon. Therefore, the recommended target dates are 1987 to complete the MAdCOM specification and 1995 to attain a reasonable state of completion. Recommendation t4 - System Program Office/Prime Systems Contractor Concept. Establish an Air Force System Program Office (SPO) for base-]eve] information systems and, for major new base-level information systems, shift to a prime systems contractor concept. The Committee emphatically recommends the "normal" Systems Program Office (SPO) concept be applied to the base-level Air Force automation systems. In all dimensions of technical complexity, mission essentiality, cost, and difficulty, the tote] base environment qualifies for this kind of direct, specific management emphasis and control. The SPO should be modeled after those established by the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC). However, the Committee is not suggesting that the SPO be assigned to AFSC. The SPO should be established for an indefinite duration, and it should be given the authority to manage, direct, and control all aspects of the base-1eve] automation program. Program guidance can be maintained with appropriate Program Management Directive (PMD) modifications. Personnel strength and skill levels should be maintained by careful high-level selection of qualified staff. Performance review of the SPO can be maintained through appropriate Air Force acquisition review council reviews at appropriate milestones. The approach should begin as soon as possible after suitable Air Force directives can be prepared. The Committee recommends that in all future base-level software applications developments, a required step should be a determination of the feasibility for use of a prime contractor. Criteria should be developed regarding system specification, technical feasibility and cost for this determination. The Committee believes that this concept would be particularly useful in the development of automation systems to support -31-
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the integrated logistics system and operations/combat support systems discussed earlier in this report. The Committee recommends a survey of commercially available software development and maintenance tools to include application generators, relational data base management systems, graphics, decision support tools, etc., and acquisition of those determined to be best suitable at DSDO, the AFAFC, and the AFMPC. Those tools acquired in this process which are applicable to software development within the MAdCOMs should be made available for their use. The Committee believes that commercially available off-the-shelf software packages can be used in partial or complete fulfillment of a number of base-level functions. Therefore, we recommend that the Air Force conduct a survey of such software and that these packages be utilized to the maximum extent practicable in future base-level system improvements. With these recommendations the Committee can foresee a much stronger Air Force managerial control of the base-level automation environment. This in turn will yield an improved Air Force readiness posture, including a better rapid deployment capability. -32-
Representative terms from entire chapter: