Yes – DevSecOps Can be Done, and Done Well

Weeds picture

Rob Wedertz – VP DoD Programs

DevSecOps Diagram

Inarguably, the pace of change in the technology environment outpaces the program and acquisition oversight within the Department of Defense.  I don’t believe this is a controversial statement.  C-SPAN is riddled with testimony of senior ranking DOD officials asserting the same.  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is littered with language encouraging the Department to accelerate the adoption of rapid acquisition methodologies.  Nowhere is the delta between advanced technology capabilities and the Department’s ability to procure these capabilities more prevalent than in Software (i.e. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Discrete Event Simulation).  And even more specifically, it is the incorporation of the development methodologies, for example DevSecOps, that often befuddles program managers, contracting officers, and even leadership, as this methodology is counter to acquisition guidelines and requirements oversight.

In an effort to close the delta, the Department has established bodies (e.g. DoD Enterprise DevSecOps Community of Practice – a Joint effort among DoD CIO, OUSD (A&S), and DISA; the Defense Innovation Board, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and others) to “sanctify” best practices and is actively campaigning to align acquisition and procurement with best in breed enabling technologies and development methodologies.  Because we have been charged with designing, developing, and implementing the Joint Staff’s Global Force Management Decision Support Platform (ORION), we are actively “leaning out over our skis” to demonstrate that DevSecOps can and should be done.

As a software development company tasked to deliver leading edge technology-enabled decision support platforms to the Joint Staff, there is little more deflating than telling our platform leads that they cannot implement the best in breed capabilities (i.e. open-source software, enablers, architectures, etc.) because the product is evolving so quickly that we cannot introduce it into the Risk Management Framework accreditation sphere.

Fortunately for us, we were introduced to Defense Innovative Unit (DIU) (then with an “experimental” on the tail) early in the ORION development process. They were encouraged by our startup mentality developed in support of our commercial products and they encouraged our government oversight to think about things like; Minimally Viable Products (MVPs), continuous User Engagement, and leveraging modern technology and platforms.  During their assessment of the ORION Joint Platform (at the time known as the Joint Force Capabilities Catalog (JFCC) / Global Laydown Server (GLS)) DIU acknowledged that we were already accomplishing the things they suggested.  They passed as much to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his support staff.  Achieving this level of maturity didn’t happen overnight.

We lived the painfully slow migration from “waterfall” acquisition and associated development practices to Agile, and are on the leading edge of DevSecOps.  In fact, as DoD CIO, OUSD (A&S), and DISA work through “sanctifying” the DoD Enterprise DevSecOps maturity model (via a Community of Practice), and the Defense Innovation Board awaits the response to their Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) study published in April of this year, we’re already demonstrating that the DevSecOps model works, can be implemented at no additional cost to the government, and perhaps most importantly, is scalable.  Case in point – when we began the ORION project, we were squarely in the “rapid prototyping” phase of development as the overarching requirements were being developed, and oversight was being codified.  The early days required rapid deliveries and constant engagements with users, all while adhering to information assurance requirements and cyber security.  (Note – we were (and are) deploying code to the SIPRNet, a production environment, every 2 weeks – functionality that is Beta, IOC, and FOC simultaneously.)  Achieving and sustaining this level of S/W development maturity is difficult and often requires a champion.

Advocacy is paramount.  It is not enough to be an innovative company with technical “chops”.  You MUST have a program sponsor that endorses the DevSecOps methodology and removes legacy critical barriers that prevent innovation at the speed required.  (It does not hurt that our advocacy was a shared understanding and endorsement from the sitting CJCS and the leadership of DIU.  That we were doing it was the result of technical leadership and guidance provided by our Joint Staff J35S Program Manager; that we are continuing to do it is the result of the senior leaders of the DOD acknowledging that is the way it SHOULD be done.  Early in the project, the J35 Deputy Director of Regional Operations, briefed the entirety of the Joint Staff (J-DIRs, Director, and Chairman) and the Deputy Secretary of Defense.  Paraphrasing his remarks, [sic] “these guys are pushing the envelope on s/w development.  They sprint, they fail, they recover, they deliver, they iterate – we win.”

Perhaps the lynchpin in achieving technical maturity in an oftentimes legacy environment is the simple acknowledgement that requirements WILL change.  When we started ORION, Globally Integrated Operations and Dynamic Force Employment were not yet established in policy.  Had we developed and delivered an application that was a reflection of solely the original requirements specifications, both the program and our platform would now be obsolete.  Fortunately we’ve been allowed to iterate throughout the software development lifecycle.  Continuous user feedback and rapid development cycles have facilitated relevance and viability that have ultimately enabled the Joint Staff to make Better Decisions, Faster.

Aligning the DevSecOps methodology with Scaled Agile Framework has additionally ensured that ProModel is permeating best practices not only across our DOD vertical but also in our COTS and Healthcare spaces as well.  Our collective roadmap is articulated in the Defense Innovation Board’s Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) study graphic below.  Our objective is to live in the “Do’s” and demonstrate that we can and should avoid the “Don’ts.  ORION is validation that it can be done.

Ingalls Develops Automated Unit Lay-Down ‘Advisor’ with Capacity Planning Tool

Image_Ingalls from theSigal MagazineHuntington Ingalls Industries – Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) identified substantial savings potential in the lay-down placement and assignment process that had been previously utilized for managing asset location throughout the construction process.

Building four different hull forms in the tight shipyard footprint is a challenge. Ingalls Shipbuilding work instructions define the processes and responsibilities for the proper allocation and optimization of real estate (lay-down spaces) for structural units and assemblies under construction, while providing forward visibility for scheduled or potential overloads to capacity.

However, the old capacity planning processes were tedious and overly time-consuming. Resulting real estate allocations were seldom optimal and often required substantial rework to resolve space allocation conflicts, as the construction schedules for each hull form jockey for the same production resources.

The Ingalls team developed an automated process that optimizes unit layout and scheduling, and increases the construction of many units under a covered structure, significantly improving production rates—a plus in the hot southern climate.

“The new tool has taken a process that historically took 10 weeks to complete and can now finish the scheduling activity in less than an hour. Following project completion and full system implementation, we expect to reduce ‘real estate’ allocation processing time by 30% and place 20 more units ‘under cover’ annually, with an estimated cost savings of over $990K per year.”

 (Article Courtesy of “theSignal” and DefenseNews.com)

Click here to read the rest of the Ingalls story

Decision Support Tool Promotes Army’s Supply Chain Readiness

Two Department of Defense publications recently ran articles on the Army’s continuous pursuit of  supply chain excellence.  Our men and women in the military cannot do their jobs without the right materiel at the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, and the right condition. ProModel Corporation is the software developer behind the Decision Support Tool (DST) featured in both articles.

Learn more about ProModel and our products, in booth #200 at the upcoming AUSA Global Force Symposium and Exposition on Mar 26-28 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL.

Decision Support Tool Promotes Army’s Supply Chain Readiness

“DST gives materiel managers the capability to realign equipment on their property books to maximize readiness or fulfill high-priority requirements. A plan that once took days to create can now be completed in minutes. With just a few clicks of the mouse, property book officers can optimize their formation, synchronizing existing equipment on-hand against authorization.”

– Lt. Col. Rodney Smith, chief, Distribution Integration Division, DMC.

Read full Army.mil article

AMC (Army Materiel Command) Restoring its Atrophied Repair Parts Inventory

Using a new system called the Decision Support Tool that Army Sustainment Command runs out of Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., “for the first time in my career, we can really see ourselves, and so we know where every single piece of equipment in the Army is, whether you are in the active component, the Reserve component or the National Guard. It’s never been that way; it’s very powerful.”

Army Materiel Command – General Gus Perna

Read full Defense News article

Huntsville Utilities Knows How to Win Back Customers

Watch this presentation from the 2017 E Source Forum Conference given by Huntsville Utilities on how they rebuilt customer relationships and prioritized customer experience (CX). ProModel played a role in this turnaround as mentioned starting at the 6:40 mark.

Speaking of Huntsville Alabama – We will be at the annual AUSA Global Force Symposium and Expo at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL Mar 26-28. Stop by ProModel booth #200 and check out our latest products and releases.

State Probation Office Assesses Jail Occupancy Rate with Simulation

CHALLENGES

The mission of the Office of Probation for any state in the US is to provide seamless services to the victims, communities, offenders, and courts of that state. The administration of probation is a complex and ever-changing process. Recently a state probation organization’s Sr. IT representative contacted ProModel looking for help understanding, analyzing, and improving its probation office processes. Its systems and infrastructure needed to be updated, but before that could begin they needed to understand the “As Is”condition of its processes and all that was involved.

During the project, the US Justice Department planned to release about 6,000 inmates early from prison—the largest one-time release of federal prisoners — in an effort to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to non-violent drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades. The inmates from federal prisons nationwide were set free between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2 of the same year. This followed action by the U.S. Sentencing Commission—that reduced the potential punishment for future drug offenders from the previous year and then made that change retroactive. The panel estimated that its change in sentencing guidelines eventually could result in 46,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 drug offenders in federal prison qualifying for early release.

It became important to also determine the impact of this action on this state’s probation services and local jail systems.

OBJECTIVES

The Probation Office was interested in using Predictive Analytics to analyze the as-is condition of its processes:

• Where might there be any bottlenecks or constraints?

• Assess the impact of the new law on the probation office workload and the local county jail occupancy rate.

• Where could other improvements be made?

SOLUTION

In order to model and simulate the current processes, they needed to be fully understood and documented. ProModel’s resident lean expert was brought in to work with Office of Probation personnel to create a quick high-level Process Simulator Model of the voucher process. Together in a room with four or five probation team employees, ProModel documented in Microsoft Visio, the ins and outs of the voucher system. When this model was built and simulated, the results so closely resembled the realities of the current process and resource utilization of certain team members, that the go-ahead was given to proceed to a complete model of the voucher process.

The entire probation process was modeled and simulated by several experienced members of the ProModel consulting team, along with Office of Probation personnel. The following processes models were completed:

1. Voucher process

2. Juvenile probation process

3. Adult probation process

4. Problem-solving court process

Probation Voucher Process_Image_5

One Part of the Overall Model

VALUE PROVIDED

As part of the law change, convicts who are guilty of certain felonies will spend part of their sentence in probation instead of spending all of it in prison. These felons are at a higher risk level than the current average probationer, and will likely cause a disproportionate workload increase on the probation officers as well as take up county jail space should custodial sanctions need to be implemented.

This simulation model clearly communicated that the current processes and resources available were not adequate to handle the predicted increases in probation candidates. Several areas of the process were evaluated for improvements and the model was used to validate several proposed IT enablers and Lean modifications.

 

Joint Force Capability Catalog (JFCC)

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Rob Wedertz – VP DoD Programs

The United States Military consists of more than 4 million active and reserve men and women, operates at 800 military bases in over 70 countries and has an annual budget of nearly $600B.  The requirements to manage this force globally and ensure it is adequately equipped, trained, and ready to implement both our National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy are daunting tasks.  For the military planners who must provide the most sound and reasoned advice to military and civilian decision makers who ultimately have the authority to direct the forces to carry out the global strategy, detailed information about these forces must be readily available and current.

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has doctrinally mandated the integration of Enterprise Force Structure data (Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps forces – capability, readiness, availability and employment) via the Global Force Management – Data Initiative.  This effort will provide the Force Providers (Services), the Combatant Commanders (Force Requirements), and the Joint Staff (Force Allocators) with a technology-enabled Decision Support Platform to carry out the National Military Strategy.

The Joint Staff J35S has been tasked with the technology implementation of this capability, called the Joint Force Capability Catalog (JFCC).  The Joint Staff J35S has chosen ProModel Corporation to design, develop, and implement the JFCC.

JFCC Dashboard

ProModel was chosen as the lead software provider based upon our deep-seeded experience providing Decision Support Tools such as the ARFORGEN Synchronization Toolset (AST), the Lead Materiel Integrator – Decision Support Tool (LMI-DST), and the Naval Synchronization Toolset (NST).

The JFCC is a “sea change” for the Global Force Management community because it is not being developed as a stand-alone platform, but rather as an integrated system with the capability to:

  • Aggregate data from more than 60 disparate systems
  • Present the data in a user-friendly graphical user interface
  • Conduct Course of Action (COA) predictive analysis

The JFCC ultimately provides stakeholders with the ability to do the following:

  • Account for forces and capabilities committed to ongoing operations and changing unit availability
  • Identify the most appropriate and responsive force for capability to meet Combatant Commander requirements
  • Identify risk for the Secretary of Defense associated with sourcing recommendations
  • Improve the Department of Defense’s ability to win multiple overlapping conflicts
  • Improve the Department of Defense’s responsiveness to unforeseen contingencies
  • Provide predictability of the Services’ rotational force requirements
  • Identify forces and capabilities that are unsourced or hard to source

ProModel is proud to have been chosen to provide this much needed capability to the Department of Defense.

ProModel at the Olympics 2016 and 2002

rio2016

Alain de Norman, President of Belge, ProModel’s Brazilian based partner was in attendance at the several events during the 2016 Olympics.  He was kind enough to provide us with some great shots he took during several of those events. One shot shows a US basketball player blocking a shot from one of the French players. There is another great shot of a long jumper and it shows the progression of his jump. Check out the montage video below:

Here is a video of some of that same US vs France Basketball game.

Thanks for sharing those great images of the 2016 Olympic Games Alain!  Here is a link to the Belge website for more information about the services they provide in Brazil.  http://www.belge.com.br

ProModel also has some experience with Olympic venues.  Take a look back at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the ProModel Solution that made it all possible! The 2002 Winter Olympics were one of the most complex logistics challenges ever. ProModel products and services were used to design security systems and bus transportation for most of the venues. The predictive technology enabled the Salt Lake Organizing Committee to model and test various scenarios related to security operations, weather, and transportation system design.

simulationgames

Click to read the full story in IIE Solutions Magazine.

If you would like more information about ProModel solutions contact us.