Network Enabled Capability and Procurement Process

Today, Information Technologies, hence information has become the source of power and as a consequence the concept of net centricity has been introduce

Issue 13 - December 2008

Network Enabled Capability (NEC), is the modern military thinking that is based on, networking forces, increasing coordination, achieving and taking the advantage of information superiority . It is the impact of the continuous and rapid developments at Information Technologies, on military domain and it is about utilizing the information technologies continously and rapidly, interoperability, improving military effectiveness, efficiency and cost effectivenes.
The basic theory is as follows.
A robustly networked force improves information sharing,
Information sharing and collaboration improves Shared Situational Awareness
And Shared Situational Awareness improves synchronization and effectiveness
Sensors, decision makers and weapon systems are linked, as a federation of systems so that information can be collected and provided to whenever and wherever it is needed. Shared understanding and interpretation of the situation is achieved by networking so the actions and effects are synchronized. Flexible, agile, smaller and distributed forces are supported that are enabled with the information, coordination and collaboration tools. The approach is to pull the required data from the network.
The armies develop their own understanding of Network Enabled Capability and principles according to their realities and define their strategy for NEC transformation.
There are different terms used around the NEC concept. The US uses Network Centric Warfare (NCW) and recently Network Centric Operations (NCO), Sweden uses Network Based Defence, NATO and UK uses Network Enabled Capability (NEC).

In 1996, Admiral Owens used the term “system of systems” in a paper of Institute of National Security Studies. He mentioned the potential of a system of intelligence sensors, command and control systems and precision weapons for enhanced situational awareness, rapid target assesment and distributed weapon assignment (25). Later, US declared Full Spectrum Dominance based on information superiority on the battlespace, in Joint Vision 2010.
In 1998, “Network Centric Warfare” (NCW) term is used by Cebrowski ve Gartska in a US Naval Institute Proceedings paper, and Gartska, David Alberts, and Fred Stein wrote a book called “Network Centric Warfare” for the Command and Control Research Program (CCRP) where the new theory of warfare based on a military network is described.
A year later, in 1999 the US declared the Global Information Grid (GIG) Plan. GIG is defined as the globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating, and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel. The GIG includes all owned and leased communications and computing systems and services, software (including applications), data, security services, and other associated services necessary to achieve information superiority (26).
At these years, other countries like UK, Sweden has also initiated the studies on the concept of Networking for Military Capability Enhancement. UK used the term Network Enabled Capability and adopted the concept as evolving capability through pragmatic steps.
In 2002, US DoD defined the fetures of GIG and give the responsibilities to establish, manage and maintain GIG. The same year, weeks prior to the Prague Summit, the NATO C3 Board (NC3B) agreed on the need to develop a NATO concept to adapt national initiatives such as US NCW, and UK NEC to the NATO context. This context is referred to as the NATO Network Enabled Capability (NNEC). As a first step NNEC Feasibility Study is initiated and 12 nations including Turkey, funded the study and form a steering group. Version 2 of this study is published in 2005, revealing, the operational needs for Networking and Information Infrastructure and the transformational strategy for NNEC.
Today most modern armies has initiated the transformation to improve military effectiveness by networking. Large scale military projects are ongoing to take advantage of networking and to develop the infrastructure.

An important functional area that is subject to transformation, in accordance with the stratejic NEC goals, is procurement process. In this context, traditional, defence procurement policies and procedures, procurement management, the development lifecycle, program miletones, documentation needs, systems engineering methods and tools may be re-considered and improved.
Some of the aspects to be focused on can be as follows:
Requirement Integration
The newly acquired defence systems should be defined as born joint systems. The requirements should be captured, thinking all the existing capabilities and needs together and integrated, and thinking operational and technical interoperability at the beginning. The acquisitions can be planned, prioritized and conducted according to this interoperability and integrated effect analyses.
NEC concept and Capability Based Planning (CBP) roughly emerged concurrently. Together with the implementation of NCW, in the US DoD, Capability Portfolio Management (CPM) is introduced.
CBP aims to develop the most effective defence capability against an unknown threat, in a resource constrained environment. CPM is a procurement management method based on the CBP.
Today mostly different military units, acquire their own systems to meet their operational needs. That is, they define their needs, and requirements and follow the procurement process for the development, test and deployment. Nevertheless these military units warfight together at the battlespace. Even, sometimes they coordinate and collaborate with different civil and government organizations and departments. So this coordination and collaboration should began with the acquisition process. CPM is the application of this thought. In September 2006, USJFCOM initiated a pilot CPM program on Joint Command and Control. It is characterized by, supporting strategic decisions with capability based planning and management, and integration of requirement specification, acquisition and program processes. The goal of the CPM program is to provide integrated capabilities, to prevent duplications and delivery of a new system for an already owned capability, to define gaps after evaluation of all the systems together and to direct the procurement according to this analysis. In CPM first of all a capability inventory is prepared, thinking all the systems/services at that domain. Extracting capabilities from systems is not easy and there is no analytically proved method for that. In the Joint Command Control pilot CPM program, the capabilities are extracted in an hierarchical way from the basic Joint Command Control capability to the functions and services.[5] To maintain this inventory up to date and giving key importance in the procurement is aimed. The operational needs are expressed in terms of capabilities and their relation with the already defined capabilities in the inventory. In other words which capabilities in the inventory can be used, what additional capabilities can be added?
Interoperability begins with knowing your partners’ capabilities.
The principle is, acquiring born joint systems instead of integrating systems after acquisition.
And this is achieved by, thinking operational needs, requirements, together and integrated at the first place.
Architecture Frameworks
Documentation and representation of systems and their operational and technical features should be easily understandable. One should rapidly capture the related information about the system. Architecture Frameworks like NAF can be used in a standardized way.
Presenting the system architecture, in a common standardized way, improves common understanding and provides an easy method to capture the specifics. Additionally, the systems explained using the same methodology can be associated easily and are comparable. Architecture Frameworks provide a structured approach to meet these needs.
US DoD Architecture Framework (DoDAF), UK Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF), NATO Architecture Framework (NAF) are mature examples for defence sector architecture frameworks, and have resemblance to each other.
Architecture frameworks consist of standard description products such as diagrams, tables, graphics or text to present architecture descriptions. These products are categorized into views, which are different perspectives to express the architecture. The 4 basic views are: All View, Operational View, Systems View and Technical View.
NAF All View (NAV), products provide a scope and context of the architecture. The products are Overview and Summary, Integrated Dictionary and Architecture Compliance Statement.
NAF Operational View (NOV) products provide the operational mission, activity and flow. They don’t address or describe any system solution. High Level Operational Concept Description, Operational Node Connectivity Description, Operational Information Requirements, Organizational Relationship Chart, Operational Activity Model, Operational Activity Sequence and Timing Description and Information Models are products of NOV.
NAF System View (NSV) products focus on system components and their interfaces, and also systems interactions with external systems. The products are System Interface Description, Systems Communications Description, Systems to Systems Matrix, System Functionality Description, Systems Function to Operational Activity Traceability Matrix, Systems Data Exchange Matrix, System Quality Requirements Description, system Evolution Description, Technology Forecast, Systems Rules, Sequence and Timing Description, System Data Model and lastly Service Provision.
NAF Technical View (NTV) is about the technical implementation, and consists of the technical specifications, standards, rules, conventions. The NTV products are Technical Standards Profile, Technical Standards Forecast and Standard Configurations.
NAF also includes, Capability View, Service Oriented View and Programme View.
NAF does not contain a procedure for system development. But support all the life cycle development processes.
Today, with the developing NEC concept, where system of systems and federation of systems approach is being adopted, complexity is to be managed appropriately. Interoperability at all levels including technical and organizational levels is very important. Architecture Framework is the tool widely accepted to manage the complexity.
Acquisition Agencies, may expect the Architecture Framework products, in the standard project life cycle documentation. For example US DoD utilizes DoDAF very much in the defence projects. Some of the DoDAF products are defined as mandatory and must be given in the specific life cycle documents. The system is understood, related with other systems and evaluated through these products.
Technical Infrastructure
In the development process, reusability, standardization and efficiency should be considered and maybe a robust technical infrastructure, architecture repository, establishing common design rules may be developed.
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the most popular solution for NEC requirements that is addressed in many NEC related publication.
SOA is a new approach for systems design and development that provides methods for creating robust network applications. In the software engineering domain, a service is a platform independent software component that provides a specific functionality. Core Business functions are separated into services which can be resued for other applications over the network to implement some other applications. Sometimes SOA is compared with Object Oriented Programming (OOP) but differing from OOP, SOA is mostly about external communication and still SOA applications can use Object Oriented Techniques intrinsically.
SOA provides the mechanisms to build distributed and modular software, to integrate systems for system of systems or federation of systems, to achieve interoperability and reusability and these characteristics of SOA makes it very attractive for NEC designers.
When we look at the NEC programs in the world, one approach that takes attention, is to provide the technological infrastructure that can be called NEC enabler and the software architecture of this infrastructure is SOA. The intention is to develop NEC applications using NEC enabler to provide the right information to the right people at the right time on a secure environment.
The NATO NEC related documents like NNEC Feasibility Study and NATO ADatP-34 (NISP Network Interoperability Standards Profile) addresses the SOA based NEC infrastructure, possible service categories, core services, service management, related technologies and standards.
US DISA, who is responsible to acquire net centric solutions and direct the operation of GIG, is conducting the program, Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES). NCES utilizes SOA and provides the core set of enterprise services that enable information producers to publish their products, and information consumers to subscribe and/or discover those products.
Net centricity and GIG can be thought as a 3 layer architecture, first layer consists of GIG applications and data, second layer is NCES and last layer is IP based transport (Walker).
Core enterprise services provided by NCES are divided into 9 categories; Collaboration, Mediation, Information Assurance and Security, Discovery, Service Management, Storage, Application, Messaging and User Assistant. The intention is to utilize NCES while developing future DoD systems and to deliver the new functionalities as services to be reused over NCES.

Similar 3 layer approach is seen in Swedish Network Enabled Defence, Technical System Solution which is Network Centric Enabling System. The first layer is deployed systems, second layer is NCES and third layer is communication infrastructure. NCES is a SOA infrastructure and provide the core set of services, to integrate the deployed systems.

NEC is the modern military vision that is about better utilization of information and information technologies. NEC defines the basic theory but it should be studied thoroughly and formalized by individual armies. NEC approach has effect in different areas like acquisition, command and control, training, strategic planning etc.. In this study NEC impacts on procurement process is analyzed and different areas related with procurement is focused. These areas are requirement integration, architecture frameworks usage and SOA usage.