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Unify and simplify. To reduce duplicative functions, the Office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy has announced it will shut down the Defense Department's Business Opportunities Web site by the end of fiscal 2004 and transfer its functions to the Federal Business Opportunities site, www.fedbizopps.gov.

DODBusOpps was created in 1999 as the first government site to offer vendors a single Web location for all military service solicitations, program manager Richard Clark said in a release. Since then, thousands of vendors have visited DODBusOpps to use the automated solicitation mailing service and wireless access services.

'Eliminating the DOD Web presence will make it easier for vendors to find contracting opportunities in a single location,' Clark said. 'Moreover, we are meeting the e-gov mandate to simplify and unify the e-business jungle.'

Setting standards. In June, the Air Force will roll out a prototype enterprise architecture for its Command and Control Constellation that will set mid- and near-term goals for how the service plans to connect land, platform and space-based sensors and use common standards to relay information.

Jim Thilenius, deputy chief architect in the Air Force Chief Architect Office, said the C2 Constellation will be one of many Air Force enterprise architectures, operating under the same framework and governance strategy, that support core business processes.

A group of Air Force Domain Councils is coordinating the architectures across the agency to develop the governance strategy. The domain owners are governed by the Enterprise Architecture Integration Council, an executive level oversight board headed by John Gilligan, the Air Force CIO.

'The Air Force enterprise architecture is not one architecture but the body of Air Force architectures across the organization,' Thilenius said. 'They are comparable, and information in them is reusable.'

Each architecture is aimed at reducing the Air Force's total cost of ownership of IT and will be integrated with other architectures and with the joint Defense Department enterprise architecture, Thilenius said. The C2 Constellation architecture will 'shape the acquisition of future [C2] capability,' he added.

The biggest push of the C2 architecture will be to better manage systems through common standards and communications protocols, Thilenius said.

'Where we need to go is a controlled set of tools,' he said.

Name change. The Defense Department's Financial Management Modernization Program office became the Business Management Modernization Program office. And DOD's financial management architecture is now the business enterprise architecture.

The name change more accurately represents what the office does, said Catherine Santana, the office's deputy director for enterprise architecture. The renaming decision came from Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and comptroller Dov Zakheim, Santana said.

'The name now clearly indicates the true scope of the enterprise,' Santana said. 'It was done for clarity. It's not a debit program. It's not an accounting program. It transforms business operations.'

Last month, DOD unveiled a plan to whittle down more than 2,200 financial systems for an enterprise architecture being developed by IBM Corp. The architecture identifies the business rules as well as the technology needed for a departmentwide financial infrastructure, Santana said.

The financial framework has seven business areas: acquisition, accounting and financial management, environmental liabilities, logistics, personnel and readiness, program and budget, and technology infrastructure and real property. A domain owner will manage each business area, Santana said.

The domain owners will review the finished architectural blueprint and decide which parts each will undertake. This month the domain owners will present their pilot proposals.

Version 1 of the financial management enterprise architecture is posted online at www.dod.mil/comptroller/bmmp.

Working together. The reasons top brass still struggle with interoperability in Defense Department communications systems are many: too many organizations designing command and control systems, too many systems and a missing software architecture, said an associate professor at Auburn University.

True interoperability is defined through software, said J.A. 'Drew' Hamilton Jr., director of the Information Assurance Laboratory and associate professor of computer science and software engineering at Auburn.

What is desperately needed is requirements engineering, which would ensure systems are designed and built to be interoperable, Hamilton said. This can best be achieved through prototyping and simulation, he added. Hamilton defined software architecture as the 'high-level design developed from the requirements.'

'We have to design software to be interoperable,' Hamilton said. 'If you are serious about network-centric warfare, you have to be serious about interoperability.'

Only a few interoperability problems in fielded systems can be solved, Hamilton said. Successful joint interoperability lies in future system design.

Hamilton is retired from the Army, where he served as the first director of the Joint Forces Program Office and on the staff and faculty of the Military Academy.

'The further down the stream you make changes, the more difficult [change] becomes,' Hamilton said. 'Prototyping lets a potential user know how software is going to work.'

Simulation can be used as a prototype, Hamilton said. 'It gives a better feel for whether the system being proposed can actually meet the requirements.'

Software is also the dominant means for developing interfaces between systems, Hamilton said.
'You have to design for interoperability. It relies on the future system side because all we can do is patch,' Hamilton said.

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