Agile and Adaptive IT Ecosystem, Results, Outlook, and Recommendations

May 2014
Topics: Acquisition Management, IT Investment Management, Command and Control, Government Acquisition
Harvey G. Reed, The MITRE Corporation
Fred P. Stein, The MITRE Corporation
John Nankervis, CIV Joint Staff J6
LtCol Jordon Cochran, USAF, OUSD (AT&L)
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The missions of the U.S. military require great operational adaptability and depend critically on obtaining information support via networks. The information technology (IT) that enables these networks typically takes the form of single, large, "releasable to U.S. only" systems that are difficult to adapt during a mission. This will present a growing problem in the expected operating environment for U.S. forces, which will feature coalition actions in which all partners operate at the same security and releasability levels and share information and data as equals.​

In a 2012 ICCRTS paper1 the authors proposed that the military adopt an "agile and adaptive ecosystem" (AAE) approach to IT development. The system engineering process for AAE uses multi-party engineering, featuring shared agreements that capture roles and responsibilities when components such as widgets, gadgets, or plug-ins are independently developed, delivered, and assembled into capabilities. The present paper builds on those findings and reports the results of efforts to create an AAE throughout the Department of Defense.​ It also presents initial recommendations on guidance, policy, and material development for AAE.

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