SERC Supports Joint Program Executive Office Goal of Enhanced Acquisition Decision Making
The Directorate of Integration of the Joint Program Executive Office (JPEO) for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRND) is currently moving toward adopting digital engineering (DE) into its acquisition processes to enhance appropriate acquisition decision making. In support of this, the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) research, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis (Purdue University), addressed avenues for JPEO to evaluate their complete technology portfolio at the enterprise level. This extends previous research by the SERC on System-of-Systems (SoS) methodologies and analysis of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies. The research team explored SoS analysis to identify the needs of JPEO in the context of Integrated Layered Defense (ILD, a new concept being developed to holistically look at the CBRN SoS ecosystem) and investigated steps to prepare JPEO for assessing the inclusion of technology prioritization and AM throughout its entire technological portfolio.
This research was conducted in two phases. During both phases, the research team met regularly with JPEO to continuously assess their needs. In phase one, the team aimed to increase its familiarity with JPEO operational procedures. This enabled the identification of the best portfolio of technologies by developing an Agent-Based Model (ABM) to simulate a JPEO mission thread and analyze JPEO procedures used to inform the acquisition and procurement processes. This modeling enabled identification of bottlenecks or other weaknesses to the further development and integration of ILD.
DeLaurentis commented on the strength of the collaboration with the JPEO team, “The key to the successful completion of this project was the consistent collaboration provided by the JPEO-CBRND lead for the study, Al Wong (Lead Engineer). There were many elements of organizational context and technical specifications that the SERC research team at Purdue needed, and Mr. Wong and his team always came through with the information (and encouragement) needed. A true collaborative project!”
In phase two, the research team focused on Advanced Manufacturing, in particular Additive Manufacturing (AM). Currently, there is an Army policy directing consideration and use of Advanced Manufacturing in acquisition activities, as well as Implementation Guidance from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)). To address these, the team proposed SoS methodologies to analyze stakeholders and requirements at the enterprise level as well as key points based on industry state-of-the-art to identify capabilities and technologies in the JPEO portfolio suitable for implementation with AM techniques. An information-centric framework, which focused on the questions “What can we do?” and “What should we do?,” was determined an effective aid for early stage, enterprise-level acquisition decisions regarding whether AM should be considered together with, or in lieu of, traditional subtractive manufacturing.
For the question of “What should we do?,” it was found that the answer is problem-dependent, as the choice whether to acquire technologies and capabilities based on AM depends not only on cost and performance, but also on factors including possible scenarios for the use of the capability, the number of components required, and ease of deployment and use. The research team’s visit to an innovation center already considering and applying AM confirmed that analysis and study of the range of determining factors needs to be specialized for specific applications in order to reach a decision about the adoption of AM for each capability and technology in the whole JPEO portfolio.
The research allowed the team to provide initial recommendations to guide JPEO’s future efforts in meeting DE and AM implementation mandates. Potential areas identified for further activities include:
- Identification of current AM equipment capability for JPEO that includes creating a list of all AM equipment that JPEO can use now and can be compared with the JPEO portfolio to identify which products can be manufactured with AM without spending additional capital equipment funding.
- Identification of future/potential AM equipment capability for JPEO based on what AM components JPEO wants to produce.
- AM Portfolio Optimization that includes development of a systematic approach that will enable improvement of the System-of-Systems Robust Portfolio Optimization (SoS-RPO) tool.
For more information on this research, contact Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis.