Is the military ready for a systems engineering failure?

Friday, March 23, 2007

We are on the threshold of command and control chaos because too few investments have been provided to the “art and science” of information system engineering. Large numbers of shiny things on the battlefield, while a distinct advantage, burden dismounted forces unless they are horizontally networked from the start. The war’s asymmetry is not the threat as much as is our inability to keep pace with current operations. Information-livened capabilities demand rapid system integration for emerging operational markets. Is the military heading for a systems engineering failure? Can our equipment keep pace with the changing face of the enemy? Is information needed for protecting the troops as important as mine-resistant vehicles?

Share Your Thoughts:

Why in God's name would anyone want to delay putting Cougars (MRAP) in the field. Yes, C2 systems are an important part of war-fighting, but you would deny our brothers in arms the vehicles that have logged over 2,000,000 combat hours and encountered 1,000's of IED blasts without a single fatality, just to wait for Comm gear?

Field the vehicles now. We can always retrofit them to accept what ever "black-box" that the Comm guys come up with later.

If your son was in Iraq and doing EOD missions today, would you want him in his Humvee waiting on the Cougar to get to the field while someone decides what "open architecture" should go in the vehicle? Not me. Get 'em over there ASAP.

It seems that hardware deployments are always getting held up by the technology inside the shell. If we can dependably build and deploy hardware on a time schedule why can't we master the software end of the process? The big reason is that software is ever changing - standards, protocols, processes all are changing at a pace that too quickly outpaces our ability to keep up in the real world - like trying to build a house on shifting sand. The minute something's deployed its obsolete so why would we ever wait - deploy what you have now and maximize taxpayer investment in what's already been purchased. Even if you delay for what seems like the perfect system it will also be dated the minute it hits the field so why bother.

Outstanding article. Can't wait for CyberCommand to stand up!