Military Embedded Systems

MOSA has “changed the culture” of USSOCOM software acquisition, official says


May 07, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

TAMPA, Florida. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has significantly altered its approach to software acquisition thanks in part to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’S) Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) mandate, according to Jim Smith, USSOCOM Acquisition Executive at SOF Acquisition, Technology & Logistics during a conversation with reporters in advance of the SOF Week event in Tampa, Florida, which starts May 8, 2023.

USSOCOM has created a new Program Executive Office for SOF Digital Applications in an effort to accelerate the software-acquisition process, Smith notes. "We now have six-plus programs that are in continuous development/continuous deployment pipeline for software acquisition,” he said. “We've completely changed the culture on how we're doing that, and what's made that hum is our absolute adherence to MOSA.”

Smith cites the Mission Command System as just one example of MOSA's impact. This system leverages a "big-tent philosophy" and involves more than 17 different vendors contributing to the capability. Smith attributes the success of this approach to USSOCOM's adherence to open architecture, which prevents designers and vendors being locked into proprietary systems. Of particular concern is the implementation of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). As a joint command, Smith says, USSOCOM needs to integrate with various service implementations of JADC2, and MOSA can help with that.

SOF Week 2023

Regarding the upcoming SOF Week event Smith describes it as the "premier industry outreach event" for interacting with industry partners. The event will feature 250 one-on-one sessions with industry partners, providing an opportunity for what Smith calls "rich dialogue" among SOF operators, USSOCOM acquisition professionals, and industry partners.

A wide range of technologies will be showcased at the event under a broad portfolio ranging from satellites to submersibles. The primary focus, Smith asserts, will be on the information domain, particularly machine-to-machine interfaces that enable collaboration, information gathering and transmission at the edge.

The reason for this focus: USSOCOM places a high importance on systems working in contested environments, as well as on the data transport layer for managing information flow from the tactical edge, Smith says.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a lot of information flowing from the tactical edge.

The questions that then become important come down to ‘How do we get that information? How do we store that information? How do we access that information?’”

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