Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2011 Contents 16 Army AL&T Magazine
The intent of the COE is to al-
low different systems---such as
battle command applications,
sensors, and vehicles on the
move---to communicate more efficiently.
The COE is an initiative aimed at address-
ing interoperability between systems and
agility in development and deployment.
It also focuses on an open architecture
to leverage industry innovation, cyber-
hardened foundations for security, and
reducing life-cycle cost of systems.
The computing environment (CE) struc-
ture is geared toward organizing the Army
environment from the sustaining base to
the tactical edge, including sensors, com-
mand posts, mounted vehicles, handheld
devices, mission command platforms, and
numerous applications in real time on the
battlefield, service officials explained.
The Army will establish and enforce
stringent technical standards for software
infrastructure that will guide materiel
development and ensure built-in interop-
erability, said Terry Edwards, Director
of System-of-Systems Engineering for
the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and
Also, the COE will be aligned to indus-
try trends, best practices, and products
while making the necessary investments
in complementing security components
to support DOD-unique requirements.
This will enable the Army to quickly take
advantage of commercial innovation and
will spur competition, Edwards said.
The COE is being designed to tell
industry upfront and with certainty the
parameters within which Army technol-
ogy (hardware and applications) must
fit. The plan is to establish an ecosystem
for each of the CEs so that developers
have access to architectures, foundational
products, and certification environments
required for developing applications.
"What we are saying is, we want to go to a
model where we provide these foundation
pieces and make them available. That will
then let everybody who wants to build
applications build them on this common
foundation," Edwards said.
BUILDING A FOUNDATION
Edwards compared the Army effort to
commercial endeavors such as those
undertaken by Apple and Google.
"If you look at what Apple and Google have
done, you will see that the Apple founda-
tion and the Android foundation have a
bunch of software that determines their
environment," Edwards explained. "When
you go to build an app, it does not take a
long time to build because a lot of the pieces
are already there. All those are common
pieces of software that have been provided
by the Apple and Android environment.
People take that software, and they build
their application on top of that," he said.
"The computing environments allow
us to organize our programs in such
a way that there is greater efficiency
due to greater collaboration among the
PMs [program managers]," said Monica
Farah-Stapleton, COE Lead for System-
A key rationale for the COE is to ensure
that various mission command applications
all work together on a common software
foundation, Farah-Stapleton explained.
The CEs will have a minimum standard
configuration that supports the Army's
ability to produce and deploy high-quality
applications rapidly. They will reduce the
complexities of configuration and support
training, as well as reduce life-cycle cost.
By focusing on the "control points," strict
compliance to standards will ensure interop-
erability between CEs, Edwards explained.
BENEFITS TO INDUSTRY
The CE standards promise to be as valu-
able to industry as to the Army. "I can tell
you just from the joint tactical radio envi-
ronment, we've received a lot of positive
feedback from industry in terms of the
definition of standards," said BG Michael
E. Williamson, Joint Program Executive
Officer Joint Tactical Radio Systems.
CEs will allow the Army to more fre-
quently and more clearly articulate
capability gaps and to put those requests
for information out faster, explained LTG
Susan S. Lawrence, Army CIO/G-6.
Industry is willing and able to respond,
she said. "They tell me they will spend
The U.S. Army's System-of-Systems Engineering effort has identified a number of computing environments
through which to implement standards defined by the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO/G-6),
service officials said. When adopted into the foundational software and hardware, these standards will
define the Common Operating Environment (COE).
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