Quantitative Methods in Defense and National Security 2007

Systems Engineering the MDA System -Using Capabilities Based Assessment to Develop and Implement the National Maritime Domain Awareness System Implementation Plan
Guy Thomas, (Coast Guard), George.G.Thomas@uscg.mil


The National Strategy for Maritime Security, and its supporting National Plan to Achieve Maritime Domain Awareness, written to fulfill the requirement of the joint National and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, NSPD-41/HSPD-13, Maritime Security Policy reflects the maritime security challenges of the 21st Century and directs the development of a sustained, continuous collaborative effort across the entire government of the United States, working with state and local governments, private organizations and foreign partners to provide a complete system to develop critical intelligence and information from all sources, classified and open source, and provide it to maritime operational commanders at all levels in a clear and concise manner in time to allow them to make the correct operational decisions and initiate the correct tactical action. It is clearly recognized by all participants in this development effort that successful MDA Implementation Plan, and its attendant Investment Strategy, execution demands unprecedented cooperation and information sharing among governmental agencies and organizations at all levels as well as the maritime industry, and international partners. The system requires an enhanced collaborative information environment (CIE) made up of information from human intelligence collection, defense, law enforcement and private organizations, and the integration of existing and emerging sensor technologies, analyzed and fused in an operator user-definable common operating picture (UDOP) operating in a multi-level security environment. Users with the highest clearance level would have access to all information, with those at lower levels of security clearances only having access to information appropriate for their level of clearance. Provisions for special access programs would also need to be accommodated. The technology exists to build such a multi-level system, however, it is getting all parties to agree to build it, and develop a real CIE within the total community of interest (COI) is the real challenge. Getting all to agreed to change their policies, procedures and, in some cases, the governing laws, is the real problem. Indeed, we do need to improve many aspects of our technology, but that is the easy part; getting buy-in from all of the participants to such an extent that they are willing to return to their parent organizations and move to get policies, procedures and laws changed is the hard part. This multi-dimensional task requires an equally sophisticated implementation effort to ensure the requirements of all stakeholders are fully considered and maximum buy-in is achieved across all departments, agencies, and all other entities within and without of government. . Thus, even the development of the implementation plan itself calls for the use of proven systems engineering methodologies and a structured analytical approach to the multi-departmental, complex problem of building an effective national maritime domain awareness system.

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