By Douglas Orellana, VP and Practice Lead, Intelligent Systems Engineering
As a national security and technology-driven company, ManTech is also a uniquely forward-thinking one. I say that because, while new to the organization, I was asked to join it to lead one of five next-generation technology focus areas; mine being Intelligent Systems Engineering. These focus areas represent the evolution of ManTech’s business and the thoughtful planning dedicated to ensuring that our evolution is in-step with the needs of our customers, their missions and the advancements in technology that will enable those missions.
Today, the majority of US operations are joint and “multi-domain,” spanning air, land, maritime, space and cyberspace, and requiring tight synchronization to ensure maximum impact. This vastly more complex array of integrated planning and actions – performed at speed – is made possible by digital transformation – the adoption of digital technology to literally reshape/recreate every step taken in the battlespace. Digital transformation holds the power to re-invent all missions in other spheres of government, as well. For that matter, it has transformed conventional approaches to technology.
Intelligent Systems Engineering is one such example of this shift in mindsets on how to approach capability development. In practice, digital transformation has a lot to do with organizational change management, and conditioning teams to think about solving problems differently.
Why? Because building an entire solution to a problem can be a time-consuming, resource-intensive endeavor. And a single procurement cycle is a lifetime in the technology space, where innovation is happening all the time. Intelligent Systems Engineering empowers teams to address one sliver of a problem – or multiple slivers at a time – accelerating development and creating efficiencies that can be applied across domains to enhance the performance of entire programs or missions. It allows them to “model before they fly,” so to speak.
Across programs within the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence and Federal Civilian communities, ManTech has put this approach to work in myriad ways.
One example is our novel approach to delivering comprehensive digital twins – virtual replicas of physical devices, workflows or networks – and virtual mission testbeds that, together, expand and enhance our customers’ analytical capabilities for exploring and trading requirements, assessing solution spaces, or testing for resilience.
This approach involves:
- Creating a digital ecosystem infrastructure to support the construction and curation of cyber-physical digital twins;
- Building the digital twin platform using physics-based modeling and simulation commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tools and ManTech’s command, control, computers, communication and cyber (C5) virtualization and orchestration capabilities that can be used as a virtual mission testbed;
- Creating an exemplar-scoped, cyber-physical twin for mission threads; and
- Managing the process, methodology and governance for the construction and curation of these digital twins
To do it, we fuse traditional physics-based modeling and simulation technologies with C5 virtualization, accelerating the ability to integrate new sensors and continually upgrade. This approach, unlike traditional digital twin efforts that focus mainly on simple virtualizations of the physical aspects of a system, is much more comprehensive. It gives teams a holistic way to analyze System of Systems (SoS) performance as well as the ability to integrate with new technology and capabilities through a virtual mission testbed.
This flexible, integrated twin platform, which is part of a digital thread, can provide customers with the scalability they need – from concept through operations – and supports the continued evolution of the SoS. It creates a digital mission testbed from which they can not only observe current operational systems, but also virtualize, test, and deploy new capabilities that advance the overall mission.
As our experience in this domain has proven time and again, digital twin technology is not just operationally relevant, it is cost-effective, saves time and reduces risk. By creating a virtual, digital ecosystem we can support multi-domain product integration for rapid trade analysis, development, demonstration, and capability delivery for our customers.
The bottom line: ManTech’s Intelligent Systems Engineering approach can make teams more nimble and more effective and allows us to solve problems faster. And when we do that, we are the mission partner our customers expect us to be and that we aim to be, too.
For more information, please contact me at [email protected]