Mr. Walter Ott, Bill A. Olson, Ph.D. CSEP-Acq., Paul Blessner, Ph.D.
One of the growing challenges faced by the Systems Engineering (SE) community is the integration of independently developed, managed and operated systems into an interoperable System of Systems (SoS). In most cases, these systems are integrated into an “ad hoc” SoS, requiring extensive resources to mitigate interoperability shortfalls that impact the system’s ability to meet the user’s needs. The complexity of this challenge includes integrating systems approaching the end of their life cycle, existing systems that continue to independently evolve, and new and emerging systems. INCOSE’s recent SoS “Pain Point” survey  underscores the criticality of the SoS challenge to the commercial, military-defense, and government sectors.
Arguably, one of the greatest SoS challenges is the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) struggle to achieve interoperability between command and control (C2) systems, across inter-service and coalition boundaries. However, this persistent interoperability challenge is not unique to the DoD, impacting a wide array of inter-agency coordination efforts such as emergency response between local-state and Federal government agencies, and even the sharing of health records. These interoperability issues primarily stem from differences in procedures, equipment (software and hardware), data protocols, or a combination of these factors. This research will examine the applicability of a SoS SE framework and how it can address C2 interoperability issues stemming from independently developed systems with non-interoperable software/hardware and protocols.
This paper will build on earlier SoS research  , examining the applicability of the Integrated Systems Engineering and Test & Evaluation (T&E) Approach for a “collaborative” SoS, specifically the Digitally-Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) SoS. It will include an analysis of the Immediate Close Air Support (CAS) process, validating whether the Integrated Systems Engineering and Test & Evaluation Approach can be utilized to reduce SoS interoperability gaps, thus improving the efficiency of the Immediate CAS process (i.e. decrease “response” time).
As part of this analysis, the existing Immediate CAS mission process, primarily restricted to voice communications due to interoperability gaps, is compared against a CAS process leveraging machine-to-machine (M2M) data exchanges. The former represents the present day CAS SoS, where limited data interoperability is dependent on Service specific solutions. The latter system reflects the Digitally-Aided CAS SoS, where interoperability is achieved through a Coordinated Implementation (CI) approach. For scoping purposes, only the later stages of the Immediate CAS mission process is examined, starting at the point a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) or Forward Air Controller(Airborne) (FAC(A)) briefs strike aircraft, and ending with the post-strike assessment of the aircraft’s attack (steps 11 through 15).
 Harding, A., Dahmann, J., (2013). SoS Working Group, Pain Point Update. Paper presented at the INCOSE IW 2013 (26-29 January, 2013), Jacksonville, Florida.
 Dahmann, J. (2012, 19-22 March 2012). Integrating Systems Engineering and Test & Evaluation in System of Systems Development. Paper presented at the Systems Conference (SysCon), 2012 IEEE International.
 Dahmann, J., Rebovich, G., Lane, J., Lowry, R., & Baldwin, K. (2012). An Implemented View of Systems Engineering For Systems of Systems. Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE, 27(5), 11-16. doi: 10.1109/MAES.2012.6226689