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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Grady Booch On The DOD Architectural Framework

Grady Booch writes, "If you think your commercial enterprise system is complex, place yourself inside an operation command and control system for warfighters, and it will make your problem look so simple". Excerpts with edits and my comments added:

Such offensive and defensive military systems are typically hard or near real-time (rebooting in the middle of a fire fight is a wee bit embarrassing), cannot fail (otherwise people will die or opportunities to get the bad guys will be lost), exhibit bursty behavior (war is generally characterized by long periods of boredom interspersed with brief episodes of intense panic), are not so much applications as they are systems of systems (with lots of legacy and lots of impedance mismatches between systems within which one must stuff people), are warped by historical, organizational, national, and geo-political forces, and are constantly changing (yet individually have incredible inertia and thus resistance to change). Grady introduces,The DoDAF, intended to ensure that the architecture descriptions developed by the Commands, Services, and Agencies are interrelatable between and among each organization’s operational, systems, and technical architecture views and are comparable and integrable across Joint and combined organizational boundaries. The framework provides rules and guidance for developing and presenting architecture descriptions. The products defined by the framework are the work products of architecture development, the descriptive artifacts that communicate the architecture. The framework provides direction on how to describe architectures; it does not provide guidance in how to construct or implement a specific architecture or how to develop and acquire systems or systems-of-systems.

The framework's architectural descriptions require the use of multiple views, each of which conveys different aspects of the architecture in several products (descriptive artifacts or models). The DoDAF defines the following views:
- Operational View depicts what is going on in the real world that is to be supported or enabled by systems represented in the architecture. Activities performed as parts of DoD missions and the associated information exchanges among personnel or organizations are the primary items modeled in operational views.
-Operational view reveals requirements for capabilities and interoperability.
-Systems View describes existing and future systems and physical interconnections that support the DoD needs documented in the operational view.
-Technical Standards View catalogs standard (COTS, GOTS) system parts or components and their interconnections. More details are available in this case study. Operational View, Systems View, and Technical View and views and major linkages are presented here. To make this frameowrk more complete, the DOD architects have tried to map this to Zachman Framework and the cross reference is available here. Overall a very comprehensive framework and Grady's introduction and his final comments make this an important approach that all major system architects may need to study closely.

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