US Air Force looks to SOA to boost situational awareness

USAF to roll out $4 million SOA-enabled system to sense, monitor and track incidents on its bases.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

If something goes wrong at a US Air Force base -- an aircraft malfunction or a fire -- the results can be deadly as well as costly. To improve the responsiveness of systems that sense, monitor and track such incidents, the Air Force is shelling out $4.5 million to move its alert systems to a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

The project, announced by Alion Science and Technology, a defense contractor, says it will employ service-oriented methodologies to enhance the Air Force’s Installation Command and Control (IC2) system, which provides vital situational-awareness information to decision-makers, and updates to base commanders, emergency managers and first responders. The new IC2 system code will add sensor management, communications management and sensor fusion capabilities.

The project will also move the Air Force's Integrated Information Management System (IIMS), an incident management system that offers a situational awareness map, into what it calls "a validated SOA application."

The result will be be better emergency response capabilities on Air Force bases and to help reduce emergency response system support and maintenance costs, says Chris Amos, senior VP at Alion. “By migrating IIMS to a SOA, we can make the incident management and IC2 systems more agile, to facilitate the Air Force’s command and control common operational framework,” Amos explains. “The result will be a significant cost savings to the Air Force and better-prepared decision-makers.”

Event processing and event-driven architecture are considered the real-time component of SOA. As far as the Air Force employing SOA to support event processing, it doesn't get any more intense and mission-critical than this.

(Thumbnail photo: US Department of Defense.)

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