Acquisition Management for Systems-of-Systems: Risk Dynamics and Exploratory Model Experimentation

Report Number: PUR-AM-11-012

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: Systems-of-Systems

Report Series: Sponsored Report

Authors: Daniel De Laurentis, Muharrem Mane

Title: Acquisition Management for Systems-of-Systems: Risk Dynamics and Exploratory Model Experimentation

Published: 2011-03-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: System-of-Systems, Exploratory Model, Risk Dynamics, Interdependent Systems


The Department of Defense (DoD) has placed a growing emphasis on the pursuit of agile capabilities via net-centric operations. The breadth of technological advancements in communication and sensing has generated exciting opportunities for battlefield systems to exploit collaboration to multiple effects. In this setting, systems able to interoperate along several dimensions increase the efficiency of the overall system-of-systems (SoS) manifold. However, the manner in which these system-of-systems are acquired (designed, developed, tested and fielded) hasnt completely kept pace with the shift in operational doctrine. In our current project, we have attempted to unravel the layers of complexities in an SoS acquisition program, outline an acquisition strategy better suited for such programs and develop an exploratory analysis tool to provide insights into the acquisition process.
The research efforts during the report period have focused on the development of two types of tools to investigate the impact of development dependencies on the successful acquisition of SoS: 1) a computational exploratory model and 2) an analytical approach.
The conceptual model for acquisition strategy proposed in our project is based on the 16 technical management and technical system-engineering processes outlines in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG), often referred to as the 5000-series guide. Our conceptual model for acquisition is centered on the revised processes of the 2007 System-of-Systems System Engineering (SoS-SE). Simulation of the development process, however, is not always feasible due to the large amount of information required to perform a simulation. The analytical approach seeks to augment the computational approach by developing a method that enables the comparison of networks of systems that are connected to each by developmental interdependencies by exposing and quantifying the cascading effects of development risk. The goal is to allow acquisition professionals to develop intuition for procuring and deploying system-of-systems.
Applications of the modeling tool and the analytical network analysis method to different SoS topologies enables the comparison of the developmental performance of differing SoS and provides the ability for acquisition professionals to identify the features of a SoS that contribute most to the success or delays in the development process.
The work summarized in this report builds on the progress made during the previous years work by improving upon and experimenting with the exploratory model to address systems-specific risk, its propagation to interdependent systems, and the comparison of SoS alternatives; this last item is possible by both the exploratory model as well as the analytical network analysis method also developed during this period. Example studies presented in this report have quantified the importance and impact of system-specific characteristics (e.g. development risk, development pace, interdependency strength, etc.) as well as their cascading effects for the entire SoS. The example studies present the potential of these tools to aid acquisition professionals to develop an intuition of the development of complex SoS and methods that enable the analysis of alternatives for SoS in the context of the development and acquisition process.