Integration of Software-Intensive Systems

In the public sector, interoperability between systems of systems used by local, state, and federal agencies is critical for homeland security. The U.S. military increasingly relies on information sharing to plan and execute combat missions. Commercial organizations are increasing interoperability between business systems and at the same time are integrating dozens of microprocessors with related software within products like automobiles.

Meeting these interoperability goals has proven difficult. While some of the practices learned through building "stovepipe" systems have been adapted to creating systems of systems, a new mindset and entirely new practices must be developed to make concepts like Net-Centric Warfare reality.

We have summarized our thinking on several facets of this new mindset for investigation in an SEI report on conditions for achieving network-centric operations. The facets for investigation are described in the table below. We frame these as areas of significance, pointing to the necessary condition that should be achieved in each and suggesting an incremental objective to pursue in the near term.

Area of Significance Necessary Condition Incremental Objective
Governance procedures Governance is cooperative, distributed across the constituents, and applied selectively. Aim to develop resolutions to issues and measures of effectiveness.
Engineering practices Engineering practices appropriate for evolving (including developing) systems of systems are available, widely understood, and applied. Develop engineering practices appropriate for systems of systems incrementally.
Management practices Management practices are sufficiently defined and performed to enable the acquisition of systems of systems. Increase interaction between the operational community and the communities related to management and construction.
Legal and regulatory framework There exists a legal and regulatory framework to support the acquisition of systems of systems. Interpret or modify the legal and regulatory framework to better support systems of systems.

Read the SEI article on these concepts for another view.