Think-Tank Proposes Pentagon-Wide 'Pedigreed Database'

Article excerpt

Industry and government leaders are calling for the creation of a uniform database to aid the Pentagon's efforts to support the modeling and simulation community. They believe such a step will help to make the promise of modeling and simulation a reality.

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Database Standardization Committeemade up of key executives from the public and private sectors is also requesting increased funding to improve modeling and simulation. The committee is also asking the Pentagon to create a list of modeling priorities which will allow industry to respond in kind.

The database standardization committee, founded in 1996, spent nearly a year studying the issues concerning what roles modeling and simulation will and should play in the Defense Department's future.

Members of the committee include Gen. Lawrence F Skibbie, USA, (Ret), president of NDIA, representatives of numerous corporations-including Northrop Grumman Corporation, Texas Instruments, Boeing, Presearch, Inc-as well as numerous Pentagon officials. "A broad perspective," was ensured, said one committee member, by picking a diverse group of Pentagon and industry leaders.

Cost Effective

One conclusion the committee reached early on in their discussions was the cost effectiveness of the Pentagon designing and maintaining databases with a proven history, or a pedigreed system, to support a set of standardized models.

This, the committee determined, would "ensure greater consistency and credibility among studies [and] allow studies to begin sooner and be conducted faster and more economically than the process allows today. Both government and industry would share in the cost avoidance."

Committee members cited the existing Air Force legacy process, concluding it satisfied a need for "coherent, consistent, documented data." Therefore, they determined that a Pentagon-wide pedigreed database should be the first step taken in support of future modeling and simulation efforts.

"The key to this pedigree process is the acceptance and application of data standards by all data sources supporting the process," said a representatve of the ad hoc committee.

The committee concluded one problem with status quo views of modeling and simulation is that "no commonly agreed-upon direction exists for coherent, consistent, documented system data." The establishment of a standard referenced database process, the group estimated, would save 30 to 80 percent in future study costs.

"Once the policy is in place, prioritize the models used most frequently and apply the pedigree process to the databases for these models," suggested committee members.

The group did say existing funding is inadequate to support such a project They specifically called for financial assistance to support the establishment of a certification process in the areas of modeling and simulation. Such a process will "provide credibility and prevent misuse,' they said.

Data sharing among various defense organizations that rely on modeling and simulation is another approach that the defense and industry leaders are championing. …