Systems Engineering for Contingency Basing
Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation
Tactical Small Units (TSU) (battalion [300-1000 soldiers] and below) currently establish non-standardized base camps for contingency operations (contingency basing), potentially limiting their ability to efficiently employ Full Spectrum operations by placing the TSU with reduced capability. The TSU may not be able to effectively support the modern Full Spectrum battlefield demands unless contingency basing capabilities specific to the TSU are combined as a single, integrated, agile, force projection platform. A contingency base should provide Soldiers with an effective, logistically supportable, affordable, and rapidly deployable environment to project force across the Full Spectrum of operations. The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and the various Program Executive Office (PEO) and Program Management (PM) stakeholders working together must develop a contingency basing capability – along with a development planning process -- that will enable an Army enterprise approach to capability delivery for the tactical edge with total system integration aligned to Army Modernization strategies and ARFORGEN (Army FORce GENeration). As such, the U.S. Army’s transformation and force structure changes have resulted in a reduced capability regarding training, planning, management and expertise available to the Army units as they establish, maintain, sustain and transition a contingency base through its life cycle.
This research focused on specific aspects of Tactical Small Unit-Contingency Basing (TSU-CB), as a force projection platform and a potential means to address the interrelated individual Soldier and TSU load (cognitive and physical) using methods and tools developed for systems engineering. The research task is to develop a set of interrelated processes, mechanisms, and tools to capture, explain, and manage the complex operational and system interaction posed by the dynamic nature of the TSU operations, along with a means to measure progress. The TSU exhibits a complex, pluralistic, set of requirements across a number of factors ill-suited to standard system engineering practices. Novel means to optimize TSU-CB need to be considered.
The primary operational outcomes being sought are:
- Reduced vulnerabilities and losses: Human, systems, and information
- Reduced sustainment demands: Substantially reduce supply convoy requirements by implementing self-sustaining and “right-sized” basing capabilities with special emphasis on fuel, water and waste.
- Cost effective choices and solutions: Innovation that targets life cycle affordability; sustainment cost savings re-directed to resource DOTMLPF integrated solutions.
- Effectively trained and ready Soldiers and planners with contingency basing skills effectively distributed throughout the Operating and Generating Force.
- Reduced Contingency Basing manpower burden on operational mission forces: yielding a Force Multiplier effect.
- Reduced time, material, equipment and personnel requirements for Base Construction/ Deconstruction: Modular, scalable, adaptable; re-deployable “fighting bases.” Informed by existing contingency construction planning and management systems and tools.
- Enhanced interoperability with Joint, Inter-Agency, Inter-Governmental and Multi-National (JIIM) partners. Informed by coalition partner practices.
- Reduced Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) Risks.
The processes and tools need to enable the measurement and assessment of improvements based on new and emerging technologies that will be integrated as capability packages into the ARFORGEN process.
Thus, this research was a collaboration among the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), RDECOM and its respective Research and Development Engineering Centers (RDECs), Army support functions (such as PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support, Training and Doctrine Command, PEO Integration, and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, to name a few), and the Army user community. Below are seven sub tasks that were in response to the above stated eight objectives. For the first year of this research task, only three of the sub tasks were executed and will be reported up on in this Final Technical Report. All sub-tasks are summarized below, and those sub-tasks not supported are identified in italics.
1. Focus on initial system boundaries and connections in order to facilitate early dynamic modeling. In order to separate the critical few from the trivial many, SERC shall work with NSRDEC researchers and chief engineers to create an abstraction of the whole Contingency Basing and Soldier Load scope that can be animated at a early stage as a guide to identify the critical components and aspects that will need priority of scrutiny on order to create high-fidelity models. This will be achieved by creating high-level systemigrams and system models for Soldier load and Contingency Basing. In addition, identify means to create initial value/risk based design objectives and functions on a reduced (and thus manageable) constraint space. Consistent with this work, SERC will provide expert input to capability capture, analysis and value risk capture.
2. Model-based systems engineering (A). As Contingency Basing is emerging, there is a proliferation of separate, individual models: business case/cost, functional decomposition, virtual, logical, Sandia logistical support, and SysML, to name a few. It will be difficult to keep these models in synchronization -- linked – especially during the early work on this initiative. A conceptual framework for “holistic” modeling support for complex initiatives such as Contingency Basing need to be explored. In addition, SERC could help the Army create specifications for the interoperability of the many CB models, an area of active research. The goal is to anticipate model compatibility problems and prevent them. Furthermore, the model-based system could be used to look for patterns, such as program protection exposure, architecture for resilience, incomplete vignettes, and technology insertion candidates.
3. Model-based systems engineering (B). Network models will be created to identify features that belong together. Contingency basing is awash in functions, tasks, views, data, connections, causes, time orderings, priorities, and linkages. Have any been missed? One way to ascertain this is to ask a wide scope of experts who normally operate in siloed organizations about what should be connected to what else -- using social networking tools. The collective linkage network can then be interrogated to see if the already documented connections account for the clumps, cliques, and cluster suggested by an array of specialized experts. In addition, a specific perspective to prioritize functions will be provided relative to a number of dimensions, such as time-ordering, socio-political factors, regulations, doctrine, etc.
4. Help assess and formalize Developmental Planning Process and Practices within the US Army. Based on the established and piloted Air Force Research Laboratory’s Concept Characterization and Technical Description process (its version of early life cycle Developmental Planning, Air Force Research Laboratory Instruction 61-104, Science and Technology), SERC researchers will work with the Contingency Basing leads to tailor this early systems engineering standard to Army needs. The Air Force standard is one of the few early SE development processes that has been in place long enough for lessons learned to accumulate and to inform both the standard and its application in the science and technology area.
5. User CB workbench. In addition, the model-based system would function as a user workbench where a combatant commander could explore options for configuring contingency bases. While there would be significant computing capability “under the hood,” the user would see models only in his/her terms. And as field knowledge of contingency bases grows, the workbench would grow in fidelity and decision support. SERC will help to create the specification and pilot instances of this Workbench.
6. Visualizing an “infinity” of data. All of the permutations and combinations of the input space will produce a flurry of base configurations. How will one be able to make sense of all of the combinations of inputs and then be able to react sensibly to the output? Visualization technology helps engineers see patterns in high-dimensional data. Imagine all of the possible outcomes with just the few input categories suggested by the Corps of Engineers: time, size, mission type, base systems, operations tempo, and human dimensions, resulting in a spectrum of recommendations about configuration and duration (expeditionary, temporary, and enduring). To this add the vagaries of the consumption data, such as water per day per Soldier, energy consumption per day per Soldier, etc. SERC will aid the Contingency Basing team experiment with and weigh features of visualization systems as a way to reason from the dense space of data.
7. Assessment and improvement of SoS engineering methods. Validation and verification (V&V) of Contingency Basing concepts and early formulation will be difficult because in its current form it is an applied practice, the kind that can best be validated only in the field, such as at the Systems Integration Lab at Ft. Devens. But that would be very late in the conceptual life cycle to find errors, so a form of early V&V is required. SERC researchers working with the Army would develop improved verification and validation approaches for SoS via models and formal methods. It would be desirable to verify and validate at the functional level, rather than delay every time to the final material solution. It would also be desirable to understand a model based paradigm that allows a more expedient synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of the problem and potential array of solutions, and allow trade space exploration and a better understanding of the resilience of the architecture and deployment. Accordingly, we propose an exploration of deep systems engineering practices that would formalize the characterization of testable properties as a long-term improvement for what will appear as conventional engineering in the early days of the Contingency Basing initiative.