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CHIPS Articles: SPAWAR Implements New Policy to Modernize Engineering Systems

SPAWAR Implements New Policy to Modernize Engineering Systems
By Elisha Gamboa, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs - July 9, 2018
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- In response to the exponential increase in complexity of Navy technical systems, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has established a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) policy to align key decision-making processes and streamline systems engineering capabilities across the Navy.

The MBSE policy enables the transition away from document-based systems engineering to the use of a common model that describes an enterprise-wide architecture covering all aspects of the engineering life cycle. It sets out to reduce the time, cost and risk to develop, deliver and sustain systems, as well as achieve Navy cybersecurity, interoperability, resiliency, and flexibility goals, all while maintaining data integrity.

"Our efforts to implement MBSE is transforming the way we design systems and perform system of systems engineering. This digital approach to engineering is accelerating our delivery of capabilities to the Sailor," said SPAWAR's Executive Director Pat Sullivan. "This transformation will improve our systems' interoperability as well as improve the fleet's cyber posture."

SPAWAR defines MBSE as the formalized use of a common model to support a data driven systems engineering lifecycle. MBSE can be used to support acquisition and budgetary decisions while ensuring interoperable designs and capabilities throughout the SPAWAR enterprise. Sam Rix, SPAWAR systems engineer, compares MBSE to building a structure.

"Document based systems engineering is like building with Lincoln logs while MBSE is like a marble race track," said Rix. "You can build a structure with both, but you can't easily make adjustments to your Lincoln log structure, or remove a part and see if it works better, without having to dismantle the entire structure. Furthermore, you can't test a Lincoln log set, it's a static architecture. In MBSE you can move a piece of an architecture and run a simulation to see how the 'marbles' react to the change in course."

Models have been used as part of document-based systems engineering approach for many years, however, the use of models has generally been limited in scope to support specific types of analysis or selected aspects of system design. MBSE takes individual models and integrates them into a coherent model of the overall system.

"We view this as a significant early step for SPAWAR in implementing the CNO's vision for digital transformation of our acquisition processes to enable speed to delivery, greater data sharing, and more effective decision making," said SPAWAR's Chief Engineer Rear Adm. Ron Fritzemeier. "Though this policy is a significant accomplishment it is merely the beginning of modernizing our systems engineering methodologies and processes across the Navy."

The implementation of MBSE across SPAWAR and the Navy will lead to a number of benefits for the fleet including reducing configuration management errors, improving end-to-end testing to ensure all systems are interoperable with existing systems before deployment and enabling digital engineering to reduce the time it takes to repair and replace broken parts of a system.

To ensure the successful implementation of the new MBSE policy, SPAWAR has developed a multi-tier training program. The MBSE team will be conducting roadshows across the enterprise to provide an overview of MBSE to everyone at SPAWAR. The second tier is the "SPAWAR MBSE Fundamentals" course that goes into more detail for leaders to understand the benefits, resourcing and responsibilities of implementing MBSE. SPAWAR will also offer more advanced training tailored specifically for modelers and architects.

MBSE presents SPAWAR and the Navy with the opportunity to improve the technical rigor and scope of engineering efforts. SPAWAR will continue to lead the way towards a fully realized MBSE environment to efficiently and effectively provide the fleet with the best warfighting capabilities available to support combat missions.

identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet.

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