Converge and merge

Two big news items have occurred since our last issue. The first is that under , the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) standard began the process to establish itself as its own consortia. The second is the end-of-the-year Mercury Systems’ announcement that they were acquiring Themis Computer.

Tri-Force convergence

On my radar the past few months has been the activity around Open Standards Architectures (OSAs) in the defense industry. Always a strong proponent of OSA solutions, the defense industry is stepping up the pace.

The most recent advancement has been the convergence of multiple efforts under the SOSA Consortium and its establishment as a separate entity under The Open Group last November.

Three initiatives have joined forces to work together on an OSA strategy for the end users to come together and agree upon requirements for their particular applications. Their intention is to use readily available open standards where possible, guide the development of new standards if needed, and facilitate the growth of a supporting ecosystem.

  • CMOSS (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) / Electronic Warfare (EW) Modular Open Suite of Standards), initiated by the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 2013.
  • HOST (Hardware Open Systems Technologies), initiated by U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Patuxent River in 2014.
  • SOSA (Sensor Open System Architecture) standard, initiated by the U.S. Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB as an Open Group committee and incubated in the Future Airborne Computing Environment (FACE) Consortium in 2015. (

Driven by the acquisition teams, the technologists are ramping up efforts to get to the next level. Their work is starting to show up in current bids but there is still much more work to be done. Suppliers are adjusting their product strategies to line up with the resulting standards. It will take some time and there will be bumps in the road, but the successful suppliers adapt to the requirements. The user side of the equation will need to make changes to their own execution tactics. But to thrive in the new environment, they too must change the way they develop platforms, implement new technologies, and manage long, complex platform life cycles.

To say that it is a daunting task is a huge understatement. The teams are motivated and showing good progress. Some of the issues are being tabled for now until more has been learned or more pieces of the complex puzzle come together. The work is never done, as there are a lot of moving parts in the equation. Technology, requirements, and policy changes, are all impacting what remains to be accomplished.

The energy level of the participants is very high, with leadership that is driven to get things accomplished. While there is still a tremendous amount of work to do, the teams are on a mission to meet their goals. Not everything is going to get to the end stage, but key components will get accomplished and new initiative will emerge to fill gaps in the strategy. I envision other organizations with similar goals to take a look and work to find ways to supplement these initiatives.

Learn more

Three presentations at Embedded Tech Trends 2018 by the principles of these initiatives go into more details. Each reviewed their missions and goals and what they expect from the convergence of efforts. To view the presentations, visit:

from OpenSystems Media, Mike Hackert from NAVAIR, and I moderated a recent webcast. Check it out and the Q&A session at the end:

Trusted Mission Solutions group

VITA sponsor member, Mercury Systems acquired Themis Computer in February. How this acquisition impacts the industry is to be determined, but it strengthens Mercury Systems position as an industry leader.

Mark Aslett, Mercury’s President and Chief Executive Officer provided me with his insight. “All of our acquisitions since 2007 have shared a common strategic rationale. They’ve expanded our addressable market and customer offerings, while generating cost and revenue synergies over time. In line with this strategic rationale, we believe our acquisition of Themis Computer (now known as Mercury’s Trusted Mission Solutions [TMS] group) will provide us with a platform for accelerating our growth through further penetration of the C4I market. TMS has a large installed base and is designed-in as a provider of rugged, rack-mount servers for some of the largest Navy and Army server programs. As a result, they strongly complement Mercury’s presence in this area, as well as in the subsurface market. As we focus our efforts on C4I, we believe we can offer additional capabilities to TMS’s customers, most notably through our industry-leading security IP portfolio. This will help them meet their unique requirements and growing demand for secure and trusted computing.”

Topics covered in this article