Q: How does the Marine Corps use predictive analysis and modeling to identify affordable technical alternatives throughout a program's life cycle?
A: The Marine Corps is using a model-based systems approach and a variety of technologies to improve the entire acquisition process.
Defense Department weapon systems typically have a large number of requirements with different and competing relationships. These relationships are often difficult to identify and may remain unknown before system development and integration. Modeling tools provide the department with the capability to better understand the relationships between cost, schedule, risk and performance before requirements are finalized and major costs are incurred. Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), as the Department of the Navy’s systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology system programs, is transitioning from a document-based, sequential systems-engineering approach to a model-based engineering approach to better understand and inform requirements prior to major milestones and contract awards. The foundation for this transformation has been the implementation of model-based systems engineering based on the application of the Systems Modeling Language (SysML). MCSC developed a unique SysML-based tool, the Framework for Assessing Cost and Technology (FACT), which allows concurrent tradespace analysis and incorporates the technological advantages of a model-based engineering approach to acquisition.
FACT is a government-owned, Web-based tool that provides the framework to integrate disparate data and models into a single-decision support environment that permits concurrent engineering and cost analysis. It allows for near real-time first- and second-order assessments of the impacts on cost of requirements, design and performance changes.