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Shown above is a Combined Air Operations Center at a forward-deployed location. The Electronic Systems Center is looking to modernize the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System by moving to a service-oriented architecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Demetrius Lester)
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AOC Weapon System moves toward single computing environment

Posted 1/27/2011   Updated 1/27/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


1/27/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Electronic Systems Center recently put out a request for proposal to modernize the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System.

"We're looking to have a single computing environment for the AOC Weapon System," said Lt. Col. John Barrette, AOC WS 10.2 program manager. "Right now, there are lots of servers and workstations and not enough machine-to-machine integration. We want to implement a SOA - a services-oriented architecture - to improve the capabilities of the AOC."

Each geographic AOC supports one theater Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) in planning and execution of the kill chain - find, fix, track, target, engage and assess - for the air war.

Integrating mission services and data into a single computing environment will improve those abilities and also bring other benefits, according to Colonel Barrette.

"We will be able to increase the speed of command by reducing the need to manually move information between systems," he said. "We will also decrease the information technology footprint in the AOC, which will result in lower total ownership costs. In addition, we will be able to reduce the time it takes to integrate new capabilities in the AOC."

Currently, the AOC WS is composed principally of a collection of stand-alone systems. When a new capability needs to be added, or a legacy system upgraded, it can take up to 12 to 18 months to field. It is also becoming more expensive to keep legacy systems operational.

"We want to simplify life for the AOC operators, as well as for the system administrators in the server rooms," said Colonel Barrette.

Using an example of a smart phone, he said the SOA infrastructure should be accessible enough for a third-party software developer to be able to rapidly integrate a new capability.

"Basically, we want to create a platform that has a software kit," said Colonel Barrette. "We would be able to say effectively, 'Here's what you need to be able to play on my smart phone,' allowing for much quicker integration than we have now. "

The request for proposal was released Dec. 16, 2010, and it has two key components. First, the vendor who is awarded the contract will become the sustainment contractor for the AOC WS 10.1 baseline. The current contract for this work is set to expire in September. Second, the vendor will need to design and prototype the common computing environment - the SOA - and be able to demonstrate integration of capabilities into that environment for the AOC 10.2 WS.

"What's in the field today has been very successful for planning and executing major theater wars," said Colonel Barrette. "From a warfighter perspective, this AOC modernization will improve the operators' ability to effectively support dynamic planning for irregular warfare or counterinsurgency operations. With this RFP, we're trying to be responsive to the evolving missions of the AOC."

The program office plans to award the contract this summer. If the vendor is successful in the prototype phase, it is anticipated the program will move to milestone B and into the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development phase, by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012. Initial operational capability for two geographic AOCs is planned for fiscal year 2015. The estimated total contract value is $805 million.

With this common computing environment, warfighters will have more flexibility to support dynamic planning and execution across the full range of military operations, said Colonel Barrette.

"My vision is to make the AOC Weapon System work for the warfighter, not vice versa," he said.



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