Pentagon revamps systems tests
- By George I. Seffers
- Nov 12, 2000
The Pentagon is accelerating a sweeping initiative to improve joint operations
among the services by ensuring that their key systems can exchange information
The initiative will overhaul the Defense Department's process for ensuring
interoperability among command and control systems that the services use
to manage and exchange information supporting tactical operations, logistics,
intelligence and other functions.
"This is probably the largest singular change in the [command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance]
realm in the last 10 years," said John Osterholz, the Pentagon's director
of architecture and interoperability. "It may not sound like an exciting
story when you're talking about re-engineering a process, but this is a
The initiative brings together officials from across the Pentagon, including
its chief information officer; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the undersecretary
of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics; the director of operational
test and evaluation; and the Joint Forces Command.
The department has been working quietly over the last 18 months to pull
together the key elements of the initiative. The deputy secretary of Defense
provided funding for the initiative to begin in fiscal 2002, but Osterholz
said the effort is too important to wait and that the Pentagon is pulling
together enough funds to begin in 2001.
The Pentagon's plan calls for $25 million to be set aside for fixing
interoperability with existing systems from 2002 to 2007 so that officials
can bypass DOD's cumbersome multiyear budget process.
The department hopes to avoid such problems in the future by improving
the process it uses to assess command and control systems before putting
them in the field. The Pentagon plans to invest $100 million over the next
four years to run a Joint Development Engineering Plant — essentially a
test bed for simulating interoperability scenarios.