Development and Application of the Framework for Assessing Cost and Technology (FACT) to Support USMC Ground Vehicle Design Analysis
Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation
Report Number: SERC-2015-TR-017-117
Publication Date: 2015-06-12
Project: Development and Application of FACT Portfolio Management Capability
The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) has been leading the development of the Framework for
Assessing Cost and Technology (FACT) since the spring of 2011. FACT is designed to be a comprehensive ModelBased
Systems Engineering (MBSE) environment to support DoD acquisition. FACT offers a means to capture a
solution architecture, define design variables and performance parameters of interest, integrate models and/or
simulations, execute trade studies, and analyze the results. All of these capabilities are offered in a collaborative
web interface. The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has been the primary developer of FACT.
A specific project of note, which utilized FACT, was the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) Feasibility Study
conducted in 2013. Through using FACT, the collaborative Government, Industry, and Academic study team (to
include GTRI) was able to explore nearly one million different variants to understand the implications of design
choices on cost.
Over the course of 3 years, the complete FACT feature set was pieced together through supporting various
efforts. Each effort built upon the existing capability new functions and features to meet a specific problem’s
needs. Throughout this report, this version of FACT will be referred to as “FACT 1.x”. As this occurred, it was
realized that FACT’s roots were a monolithic software structure as opposed to a modular, extensible architecture.
After the success of FACT, and from the lessons learned over the three years of development, the effort
summarized in this report was initiated to re-architect FACT into a more modular and extensible architecture,
offering an industry standard REST API. Re-factoring FACT’s capabilities into this architecture would allow
Government and Contractor developers to build upon the FACT base with a greatly reduced learning curve, easing
adoption of the framework. Throughout this report, this newly architected FACT will be referred to as “FACT 2.0”.
To this end, the following specific tasks were initially laid out to guide the effort. The tasks were evaluated and
updated as needed throughout the execution to meet the needs of the FACT 2.0 development.
1. Explore Modeling and Simulation Capabilities Available for Evaluating Solutions Against the
Requirement Set. First, GTRI will examine the defined requirement set and determine what modeling and
simulation capabilities, which could be leveraged to evaluate a design against the requirement. GTRI will
collaborate with Government Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) on tool availability and applicability to each
requirement. This set of tools informs the packages which will need to be integrated into FACT. A specific
program was not selected during the execution of this research topic; therefore the work related to this
task was conducted in a general sense based on past experience.
2. Support Technical Exchange Meetings. GTRI will be prepared support regular (approximately weekly)
Technical Exchange Meetings with the Government analysis team. These meetings will allow GTRI to
provide status updates to Government stakeholders and ensure the GTRI team is providing the
3. Update Data/Models in FACT to support Tool Use. GTRI will provide support in updating the Programspecific
instance of FACT with appropriate data and models. Task 1, to ensure the appropriate modeling,
informs this task and simulation tools are integrated within the framework. Configuration management of
data within the Framework will be conducted to allow the Government to understand the provenance of
design decisions. This task also includes GTRI documenting and (semi-) automating the process on
bringing new applications into FACT. Completing this work is necessary to ensure the Government fully
understands how to utilize FACT for future work. Additionally, GTRI will develop and execute training curriculum and materials to enable Government engineers and analysts to utilize the systems engineering
4. FACT Toolset Improvements. GTRI will improve the FACT toolset to support execution of a design process
using sound model-based systems engineering principles. GTRI will coordinate with MARCORSYSCOM on
specific updates. Improvements include (1) expanding the tradespace capability with visualized data
pipelines and automated parallel execution; (2) strengthening the representation of requirements and
implementing a means to relate requirements to higher-level desired capabilities, including definition of
utility functions; and (3) expanding the means to represent part/component interoperability to include
insight into groups of potential component sets via graph analysis of the interoperability graph.
5. Explore and Implement Visualization Techniques. GTRI will explore different means by which to visualize
large amounts of design data. GTRI will implement various visualization techniques and iterate with
MARCORSYSCOM decision makers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of each technique. This task will
deliver a presentation or report explaining the techniques and providing examples. Some of the
techniques will be implemented in the delivered toolset.
6. FACT Hosting. GTRI will either support MARCORSYSCOM through direct hosting of FACT instances or work
with Government hosting facilities to ensure the proper computational resources are available. SERC will
conduct analysis on the expected loads and performance/time requirements from the Government team
to size computational resource requirements properly