Architecture has been one area of early systems engineering that has generated a consistently increasing amount of attention. Within DoD, this dates back to interoperability problems uncovered by joint warfi ghting in the fi rst Gulf War. The C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,
Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] Architecture Framework was released and re-released in the mid-1990s to address the system design of interoperable, networked systems.
It would become the DoD Architecture Framework in 2004 and codifi ed
in Joint Capability Integration and Documentation Systems, Acquisition Management Systems (DoD 5000), and numerous Service policies and instructions. Increased complexity of the weapons systems that DoD acquires will continue, with no end in sight. With greater program and system interdependencies, larger software and networked weapons systems will flourish.
Meeting performance, cost, and schedule goals continues to challenge many
DoD programs. U.S. Government Accountability Office reports, such as their Assessment of Selected Major Weapon Programs (GAO-06-391), found several consistent factors that contributed to DoD’s ability to handle such complexity. The major systems engineering contributors included requirements, reliability, test planning, and software. GAO reported that current efforts have “not eliminated cost and schedule problems for major weapons development programs.” If the challenges of current systems engineering cannot be
resolved, that may only indicate greater challenges are in store for us in acquiring more integrated, network-centric weapons systems in the future.