AQA development was begun in February 1996 under special corporate funding. Between February and August, we developed a “Proof of Concept” version of the AQA, and subjected it to trial use on the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Information Processing System (IPS). Portions of the AQA have been applied on: FAA’s Standard Terminal Automation Replacement Systems (STARS), National Missile Defense, and Theater Battle Management Core Systems. The AQA has been adopted for use by the Chief Architect’s Council of the Air Force PEO for Battle Management portfolio.
The development of the AQA was carried out by a small team in consultation with systems engineering specialists throughout MITRE. These specialists contributed specific measures in specialized areas of architecture, such as communications, reliability and availability, safety, and security. AQA development was conducted on MITRE’s “intranet” to facilitate the team’s communication and coordination and permit frequent peer review.
Our initial experience with the AQA appears to validate our basic approach. Through trial use, we were able to refine and simplify our set of measures. However, we do need to improve our techniques for scoring and aggregating measures into complete results. Our experience with AMC IPS also confirmed something else we had long suspected: better techniques are needed to help MITRE systems engineers absorb and correlate the tremendous volume of documentation and other information generated by a major DoD procurement and there is a good opportunity for automation in this regard.
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MITRE’s Architecture Quality Assessment (AQA) is intended to provide an objective and repeatable technique for the evaluation of system architectures. This paper describes the scope of AQA and its intended use; the evaluation methodology embodied in the AQA; the process of conducting an architecture assessment using the AQA; the current status of the AQA; and a comparison with other approaches to architectural assessment.