Army releases guidance for common operating environment architecture

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The Army has selected a set of technical standards that collectively form what the service has dubbed a common operating environment architecture for information technologies that warfighters utilize from training through deployment.

Army Chief Information Officer/G6  Jeffrey Sorenson and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Malcolm O'Neill approved an architecture guidance (.pdf) document in a memo (.pdf) dated Oct. 20.

The Army says it hopes to increase interoperability and decrease cost, creating the possibility for applications to operate across a widely-standardized environment. The common operating environment does not currently apply to embedded, real-time of critical vetronics or avionics systems, the guidance states. However, the Army intends to extend the COE across enterprise and tactical servers, vehicles and aircraft, sensors, mobile end user devices and desktops.

Among the principals behind the COE is that applications should be built for a server environment, "thus making applications easier to update, to operate and to maintain," the guidance states.

Future testing of software interoperability will change from a direct test of the application against every other system it might interact with to an interface-based approach  that verifies an application's functionality in a test bed, the guidance adds. If the application exchanges relevant data in the correct format with the right standard in the test bed then it will earn an interoperability certification. A detailed test plan is set for release in December, according to the guidance.

The COE is part of a broader initiative called Army Software Transformation, which seeks to standardize computing environments and software development toolkits, streamline the process for software development and create an "Army Application marketplace."

For more:
- download the Sorenson-O'Neill Oct. 20 memo (.pdf)
- download the COE architecture guidance (.pdf)
- go to an Army webpage with additional COE context and links

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