The Army’s relatively new concept for open architectures across its platforms and subsystems that is discussed with its procurement and acquisition stakeholders and with industry will eventually need to work its way into the pre-proposal and proposal phases of acquisitions if the service is going to benefit from the promise of more common, reusable and commoditized technologies and systems, an Army official said on Monday.

“To advocate implementation of CMOA (Common Modular Open Architecture), specific contract language is required in the RFP to ensure bids and proposals are compliant,” Jeannette Evans-Morgis, chief systems engineer for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASALT), said during a teleconference with media. “The combined application of MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) and CMOA will benefit future programs through plug-and-play architecture development, enhancing flexibility and actually reducing program cost reliance on proprietary vendor-centric solutions and engineering time. So, it’s the idea of modularity, plug and play, interface controls, standards-driven so that we can modernize as quickly as we possibly can.”

The concept of CMOA as introduced last fall by Dr. Bruce Jette, the Army’s former acquisition chief. Since then, the ASALT community, with help from Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, has been working with the Army program executive offices (PEOs) for the planning and implementation of “common subsystem architectures and design interface standards” so that they can eventually be written into the pre-request for proposal (RFP) process, she said.

The effort was initially aimed at the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), which is in the competitive process, but it turns out that through the discussions across the PEOs that “they’re already implementing things that are very much in tune with this common modular open approach to include aviation platforms, subsystems within the C5ISR and throughout many of the Army portfolio,” Evans-Morgis said.

The OMFV is effort to replace the M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

The initial focus for areas of open system to approach under CMOA will be the “low hanging fruit,” she said.

This includes data architecture for the OMFV to “enable artificial intelligence and machine learning in those platforms,” Leo Smith, the deputy director within the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer, said during the call. In addition, the ASALT sees programs for Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing and C4ISR/Electronic Warfare Open Suite of Standards as part of this potential low-hanging fruit to use for CMOA, Evans-Morgis said.

Smith also said the ASALT is working with the Army’s aviation programs in Huntsville, Ala., on taking advantage of the strategy it has in place for the improved turbine engines program for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft programs. He said the strategy has been to achieve as much commonality as possible in the engines across different aircraft variants so this “lends itself to a CMOA type concept.”

Evans-Morgis’ office last week had a meeting with about 150 different industry attendees representing original equipment manufacturers, tier one and tier two suppliers in the automotive sector to discuss the CMOA concept. These companies now want one-on-one engagements for further discussions, she said.

Before CMOA language can be written into RFPs, the reference architectures and standards for common interfaces need to be “fully fleshed out” and “industry and the Army” have to work together toward this, Evans-Morgis said.