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TITLE VIII--ACQUISITION POLICY, ACQUISITION MANAGEMENT, AND RELATED MATTERS
Subtitle A--Acquisition Policy and Management
P. L. 113-291
Explanatory Statement, 12/4/14, H8671
SEC. 801. MODULAR OPEN SYSTEMS APPROACHES IN ACQUISITION PROGRAMS.
(a) Plan for Modular Open Systems Approach Through Development and Adoption of Standards and Architectures- Not later than January 1, 2016, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics shall submit a report to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives detailing a plan to develop standards and define architectures necessary to enable open systems approaches in the key mission areas of the Department of Defense with respect to which the Under Secretary determines that such standards and architectures would be feasible and cost effective.
(b) Consideration of Modular Open Systems Approaches-
(1) REVIEW OF ACQUISITION GUIDANCE- The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics shall review current acquisition guidance, and modify such guidance as necessary, to--
(A) ensure that acquisition programs include open systems approaches in the product design and acquisition of information technology systems to the maximum extent practicable; and
(B) for any information technology system not using an open systems approach, ensure that written justification is provided in the contract file for the system detailing why an open systems approach was not used.
(2) ELEMENTS- The review required in paragraph (1) shall--
(A) consider whether the guidance includes appropriate exceptions for the acquisition of--
(i) commercial items; and
(ii) solutions addressing urgent operational needs;
(B) determine the extent to which open systems approaches should be addressed in analysis of alternatives, acquisition strategies, system engineering plans, and life cycle sustainment plans; and
(C) ensure that increments of acquisition programs consider the extent to which the increment will implement open systems approaches as a whole.
(3) DEADLINE FOR REVIEW- The review required in this subsection shall be completed no later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(c) Treatment of Ongoing and Legacy Programs-
(1) REPORT REQUIREMENT- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report covering the matters specified in paragraph (2).
(2) MATTERS COVERED- Subject to paragraph (3), the report required in this subsection shall--
(A) identify all information technology systems that are in development, production, or deployed status as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that are or were major defense acquisition programs or major automated information systems, and that are not using an open systems approach;
(B) identify gaps in standards and architectures necessary to enable open systems approaches in the key mission areas of the Department of Defense, as determined pursuant to the plan submitted under subsection (a); and
(C) outline a process for potential conversion to an open systems approach for each information technology system identified under subparagraph (A).
(3) LIMITATIONS- The report required in this subsection shall not include information technology systems--
(A) having a planned increment before fiscal year 2021 that will result in conversion to an open systems approach; and
(B) that will be in operation for fewer than 15 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(d) Definitions- In this section:
(1) INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY- The term `information technology' has the meaning given the term in section 11101(6) of title 40, United States Code.
(2) OPEN SYSTEMS APPROACH- The term `open systems approach' means, with respect to an information technology system, an integrated business and technical strategy that--
(A) employs a modular design and uses widely supported and consensus-based standards for key interfaces;
(B) is subjected to successful validation and verification tests to ensure key interfaces comply with widely supported and consensus-based standards; and
(C) uses a system architecture that allows components to be added, modified, replaced, removed, or supported by different vendors throughout the lifecycle of the system to afford opportunities for enhanced competition and innovation while yielding--
(i) significant cost and schedule savings; and
(ii) increased interoperability.
Modular open systems approaches in
acquisition programs (sec. 801)
The Senate committee-reported bill contained a provision (sec. 801) that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to adopt an open systems approach to Major Defense Acquisition Programs and Major Automated Information Systems, and to other programs the primary purpose of which is the acquisition of an information technology (IT) system, entering the acquisition process after January 1, 2016. The committee believes that a comprehensive open systems approach is an important component of IT acquisition reform.
The House bill contained no similar provision.
The agreement includes the Senate provision with a clarifying amendment.
The provision requires the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to develop standards and define architectures necessary to enable open systems approaches in key mission areas of DOD.
The Under Secretary is further required to review and update guidance to ensure that acquisition programs use open system approaches in the product design and acquisition of information technology systems to the maximum extent practicable and to detail in the contract file reasons why any system is not an open system.
Finally, the provision requires the Under Secretary to identify legacy information technology systems that are not utilizing an open systems approach and outline a process for potential conversion to an open systems approach.
S. Rpt 113-176 to accompany S. 2410
Open systems approach to acquisition of systems containing information technology (sec. 801)
The committee recommends a provision that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to adopt an open systems approach to Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP) and Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS), and to other programs the primary purpose of which is the acquisition of an information technology (IT) system, entering the acquisition process after January 1, 2016. The committee believes that a comprehensive open systems approach is an important component of IT acquisition reform.
The provision would provide exceptions to this requirement for the procurement of commercial end-items and systems, and for so-called Quick Reaction Capabilities acquired or developed in response to Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statements or Joint Emergent Operational Needs Statements. The provision also would require the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD (AT&L)) to identify all the legacy systems as of January 1, 2016, that were or are MDAP or MAIS that are not open systems, develop a process, including business case analyses, for ranking the priority of such legacy systems for migration to open systems, and develop a plan to migrate the top half of that prioritized list to open systems within 10 years of the date of enactment.
To support this open systems approach to IT acquisition reform, the provision requires the Secretary to: (1) Identify the distinct computing environments and mission domains in DOD; (2) Form or use existing voluntary and consensus based standards bodies to create technical reference architectures (TRA) and domain-specific services (DSS) for those computing and mission domains; and (3) Ensure that the DOD components are using the same TRA and DSS to avoid duplication, competing approaches, and lack of interoperability.
The provision defines an open system approach as an integrated technical and business strategy that: (1) Employs a modular design and uses widely supported and consensus-based standards for interfaces between layers, segments, services, and applications; (2) Is subjected to verification testing to prove the openness of its interfaces; and (3) Allows components to be added, modified, replaced, removed, and supported by different vendors over the life-cycle of the system, enabling competition and innovation. By computing environments, the committee means the computing infrastructure that support missions and functions, ranging from embedded, real-time, safety-critical systems, to mobile computing, to large-scale enterprise or cloud-based environments.
Traditional, closed system acquisitions typically result in vendor lock for the life of the system because the design is tightly integrated between system components and between software and hardware, and software and interfaces are proprietary and unique. In such systems, it is very difficult and expensive to modify any component because of the tight coupling; and hardware and software coupling inhibits insertion of new commodity hardware.
In open systems, new hardware can be easily inserted, software can be extensively reused from one project to another, services are common and reused, new capabilities, services, and applications can be quickly developed and inexpensively integrated, and modifications and upgrades can be incrementally executed with low risk. Software is separated or abstracted from hardware, allowing substitution of new hardware or the application of software from one system to another.
The committee has over a period of years encouraged DOD, including through legislation, to develop meaningful IT acquisition reform strategies in recognition of the differences between the IT industry and non-IT hardware development processes. The committee has been disappointed by the inconsistent nature of the DOD's response.
In a few key areas, such as Navy sonars and submarine ship systems, DOD has shown that open systems architecture designs can yield significant benefits.
The Navy is now applying open systems approaches to a large number of programs, both large and small. The Air Force is using this design approach for unmanned aircraft avionics and ground control stations through the Rapid Capabilities Office, and to migrate to an open system on the F-22 and the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS). The Navy and Army jointly are building an open systems architecture approach for aviation systems through the Future Airborne Capability Environment. The Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Task Force in USD (AT&L) is applying an open systems approach to the UAS Control Segment initiative. The Army's Intelligence and Security Command is designing the next-generation version of DCGS to be an open system. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence has for several years been constructing an open systems architecture for the entire Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise.
Nonetheless, DOD's approach to open systems remains spotty and inconsistent, and very few open systems have actually been built.
Accordingly, the committee concludes that DOD would benefit from a policy which establishes a presumption in favor of open systems architectures and requires program managers to focus on this issue early in the acquisition cycle.
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