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2020 Year in Review

Enabling the Advanced Battle Management System Vision through Architecture

The Air Force Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) is the Air Force’s approach to the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort to digitally connect different elements of U.S. military operations. ABMS aims to provide strategic advantage to the warfighter by enabling machine-to-machine data exchanges across systems and integrating existing systems, from sensors to shooters, with new technologies. All this must be done across all five warfighting domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. Software is central to achieving these goals.

Department of the Air Force ABMS efforts in 2020 involved more than 70 industry partners, 65 government teams, 33 platforms spanning 28 product lines, and hundreds of new and legacy systems and nodes managed across a large number of programs. ABMS is building out new capabilities and software infrastructure to deliver technical solutions in a way that balances diverse but critical qualities, such as resilience, predictability, and integrability. Managing this degree of complexity and coordination requires an effective architecture.

The SEI has demonstrated decades of leadership in software architecture, developing techniques that have been used across the DoD to remove ambiguities in architecturally significant requirements and design architectures that satisfy these requirements. The SEI was selected by the Department of the Air Force to help inform the ABMS architecture.

Top ABMS concerns include seamless communication across heterogenous software stacks and platforms throughout the Air Force and Space Force, and the need to integrate and process data across all five warfighting domains. These concerns will drive ABMS’ most significant architecture requirements.

Specifically, the SEI has been working on

  • making mission goals, critical quality attributes, key enablers, and key capabilities explicit to enable consistent, informed reasoning about architectural trade-offs
  • eliciting and prioritizing operational and developmental quality attribute requirements to guide architectural decisions for ABMS
  • guiding ABMS stakeholders through the creation of key mission threads to clarify how ABMS products fit together for end-to-end capability and to guide creation of capability needs statements
  • refining architecture views for an ABMS instance architecture to document allocation of responsibilities across product teams and enable analysis of duplication and gaps among product responsibilities
  • identifying standards that promote interoperability and open architectures critical to enabling the ABMS vision of providing a military Internet of Things to the warfighters

The goal of these efforts is to help ABMS use architecture as a tool to

  • iteratively refine the definition of ABMS itself to provide growing clarity to teams working across the ABMS ecosystem
  • promote efficient collaboration and interoperation within the ABMS ecosystem
  • analyze suitability of foundational decisions (e.g., common infrastructure) for long-term ABMS success, including operational and developmental perspectives
  • make decisions that ease migration of existing systems into the ABMS ecosystem

“Proactive efforts to iteratively refine the ABMS architecture will help balance rapid capability delivery with long-term sustainability and broad adoption,” said Philip Bianco, technical lead for the SEI’s ABMS support.

Photo: U.S. Air Force