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Tackling the Cost Challenges of System of Systems

Author: Arlene F. Minkiewicz

Category: White Papers

The Department of Defense and its contractors are currently facing unprecedented challenges in planning projects involving groups of systems integrated into one large system of systems (SOS). These challenges are intensified by the fact that these systems tend to be heavily software-dependent. Often planners must decide which configuration of platforms best meets mission needs with respect to affordability, performance, and risk in the very early stages of a project from top-level requirements. This article presents research of the cost issues associated with delivery of SOS capabilities. It starts with a discussion on what SOS are and areas where SOS projects vary from typical system development and deployment. New and expanded contractor roles and activities are presented, highlighting how these drive cost differences from traditional system projects. Guidelines are provided for performing high-level analysis of SOS costs to enable decision makers
to perform trade-offs between various configurations in order to pursue the most affordable solution that will meet mission needs.

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