Key Considerations

Multilevel security

Integration of information from multiple sources owing to security constraints is a challenge.

Well-defined metadata formats integrated into the OSA allow key information to be provided to the squad without divulging sensor characteristics and sources and means.

Systems engineering

Methodical approach to developing system requirements and understand relationships among systems of systems in the engineering process.

Couple Soldier characteristics and training with physics-based models of sensor capabilities. Develop systems engineering experience within the government team. Focus on OSA as key approach to interoperability and a modular approach to building squad capability.

Multilevel security is a known impediment to timely and broad dissemination of information to the squad. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the squad will have security access to the wealth of information gathered by DoD and intelligence community sensors. Moreover, much of the data from these other sources is of a strategic nature: it provides important context but may not possess the timeliness of the information required by the squad. The ability to incorporate data from other sources to help manage sensor information collected by squad-level assets would necessitate a mechanism to downgrade security. An effectively designed OSA is able to support this objective by separating critical sensor information from those items that characterize a sensor’s physical design or sources and means of data collection. In the context of the OSA, metadata formats that convey the threat details of most interest to the squad (e.g., regions where the threat was last observed and general threat characteristics) is an effective approach to interface systems of varying classification.

While systems engineering may have different meanings, in the context of building sensor technology for the decisive squad of the future it points out the process to specify sensor requirements. These requirements comprise all critical considerations, including performance, subsystem interoperability, SWAP, HSI, Soldier training, and life-cycle management. Effective systems engineering requires highly competent and well-trained acquisition professionals and support infrastructure, as well as effective software tools, test ranges, and acquisition strategy. From a strategy perspective, enforcing specific acquisition standards (e.g., OSA compliance), efficiently framing system requirements, and shortening the acquisition cycle to enhance the cost-risk-benefit trade space all appear essential in better supporting the squad’s equipment needs.

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