Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2016 Contents "By emphasizing the value of integration
within our workforce, our engineers and
scientists were sensitized to the value
of developing with change in mind,"
stated Dr. Donald A. Reago Jr., NVESD
director. " is paid huge dividends in
enabling our sta to support others with
integrating emerging technologies into
conventional acquisition programs."
e U.S. military is now integrating 3rd
Gen FLIR technologies across multiple
platforms, including the Stryker and the
Joint Strike Fighter.
Organizations that recognize the value of
deliberately planning for future unknown
technology can take advantage of develop-
ment opportunities to insert cutting-edge
technologies fast enough to be operation-
ally useful. Establishing frameworks for
inserting commercial technology allows
the military to develop solutions that can
adapt rapidly in response to hybridized
or near-peer threats, even within complex
systems with long lead times. is frame-
work enables acquisition to leverage areas
of technology experiencing explosive
For example, the global trend toward the
"internet of things" is rapidly expanding
sensor development within the com-
mercial landscape. For DOD to take
advantage of this trend and militarize
these capabilities on a timely schedule
for the plethora of military systems using
sensors, an integrated sensor architecture
(ISA) is necessary to provide a framework
for incorporating future sensor technolo-
gies as yet unknown.
ere is a push within DOD to establish
an ISA, which involves working with
commercial manufacturers and sensor
developers to promote a common set of
protocols and standards for how the sen-
sor systems communicate and network.
(See "Hybrid reats, Hybrid inking,"
Army AL&T, January-March 2015.)
Horizontal integration enables the U.S.
military to develop conventional, large
military systems using the "best of the
best" from across the entire industrial
base. Traditional acquisition practices
have tended to promote a vertical integra-
tion framework, whereby large defense
contractors develop isolated systems and
component technologies with proprietary
interfaces that signi cantly limit the abil-
ity for innovation and cross-pollination
from other companies and industries.
e sensor community recently devel-
oped and successfully demonstrated a
horizontal integration model in the Vital
Infrared Sensor Technology Accelera-
tion (VISTA) program. (See "Breaking
Barriers to Innovation," Army AL&T,
e model incorporated the following
• Engaging the user community.
• Using trusted entities to share break-
throughs between competitors.
• Facilitating industrial buy-in.
e key to the success of this model
was in how the government organiza-
tions involved saw themselves as "trusted
entities," whose primary role was to facil-
itate vigorous dialogue and information
exchange among all of the competing
contractors. Additionally, these trusted
entities used their position to distribute
government-funded intellectual property
across the entire industrial base.
is enabled a far greater number of
defense contractors to participate and
build on previous technical successes than
a traditional, vertically integrated acqui-
sition would allow. It also helped ensure
the development of systems in which no
single entity was the sole proprietor. is
signi cantly reduced the risk that closed,
proprietary systems would limit partici-
pation, innovation and collaboration by
other third parties in the future.
Successful programs such as VISTA,
which established a new industrial base
for focal planes, have demonstrated how
An organization that is aware of the need for change and
its potential bene ts plans for and rewards change. It can
identify and adapt early to emerging challenges such as
the need for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
capabilities to counter anti-access and area denial
requirements within the Asia-Paci c region.
138 Army AL&T Magazine October-December 2016
NOT QUITE REFORM, BUT IT WORKS
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