An Open-Standard System Architecture (OSSA) is an architecture development approach that utilizes open standards to reduce the cost/risk of ownership of weapons systems, delay system obsolescence, and allow fielding of capability more quickly. An open systems approach reduces weapon system cost through facilitating the use of widely accepted standard products from multiple suppliers in DoD weapon systems. If a systems engineer defines a weapon system architecture by specifications and standards used in the private sector the DoD can leverage the benefits of the commercial market place, and take advantage of the competitive pressures that motivate commercial companies to improve products and reduce prices.

There are six (6) basic elements of an open architecture:

  1. Open Standards: Parts, modules, objects, products, and systems are based on vendor independent, non-proprietary, publicly available, and widely accepted standards. Standards allow for a transparent environment where users can intermix hardware, software, and networks of different vintages from different vendors to meet differing needs.
  2. Interoperable: The ability of systems, units, or forces to provide and receive services from other systems, units, or forces and to use the services so interchanged to enable them to operate effectively together.
  3. Interchangeable: The ability of two or more parts, modules, objects, or products to be transparent replacements for one another without other changes in hardware or software. This property provides opportunities for upgrades and technology insertion.
  4. Portable: The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange and use information or the ease in which a system or component can be transferred from one hardware or software environment to another.
  5. Modular: Physical or logical modularity to meet functional requirements
  6. Scalable: The ability to grow (and interlink hardware and software) to accommodate increased loads.

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Updated: 7/17/2017

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