Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA)

 

 



 

What is MOSA

A Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), formerly known as Open Systems Architecture or Open Systems Approach, can be defined as a technical and business strategy for designing an affordable and adaptable system. A MOSA is the DoD preferred method for implementation of open systems, and it is required by United States law. Title 10 U.S.C. 2446a.(b), Sec 805 states all major defense acquisition programs (MDAP) are to be designed and developed using a MOSA that -

  • Employs a modular design that uses major system interfaces between a major system platform and a major system component, between major system components, or between major system platforms;
  • Is subjected to verification to ensure major system interfaces comply with, if available and suitable, widely supported and consensus-based standards; and
  • Uses a system architecture that allows severable major system components at the appropriate level to be incrementally added, removed, or replaced throughout the life cycle of a major system platform to afford opportunities for enhanced competition and innovation.

This approach integrates technical requirements with contracting mechanisms and legal considerations to support a more rapid evolution of capabilities and technologies throughout the product life cycle through the use of architecture modularity, open systems standards, and appropriate business practices. DoD seeks to yield the following benefits with a MOSA:

  • Significant cost saving or avoidance
  • Schedule reduction and rapidly deploy new technology
  • Opportunities for technical upgrades and refresh
  • Interoperability, including system of systems interoperability and mission integration
  • Other benefits during the sustainment phase of a major system

MOSA Enabling Standards

MOSA enabling standards can best be described as widely accepted, supported and consensus based standards set by recognized standards organizations or the marketplace. These standards support interoperability, portability, and scalability and are equally available to the public under fair and reasonable license terms. The Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) has determined continued implementation and further development of MOSA enabling standards are essential to the ability to rapidly share information across domains, with quick and affordable updates or improvements to both hardware and software components.

To prepare DoD for a MOSA future, OSD established the Modular Open Systems Working Group (MOSWG) and three MOSA Tiger Teams (Standards, Implementation Guidance, and Requirements & Programming Functions) to develop maturity assessments, deliver MOSA specific standards, conduct gap analysis, identify standard profiles, and deliver a MOSA Standards Needs Assessment. The three MOSA Tiger Teams were successful in meeting their objectives and have now been succeeded by a single standards tiger team that meets monthly. OSD will continue to work with standardization stakeholders, including DSPO and the DepSOs, at these meetings to further identify MOSA enabling standards as they are developed.

The Defense Standardization Program (DSP) is providing a framework and guidance for program management and Standardization Management Activities (SMAs) to develop, adopt, maintain and distribute standardization documents associated with the “Modular Open Systems Standards and Specifications (MOSS)” standardization area in ASSIST. Current efforts in this area include identifying, publishing and distributing MOSA enabling standards (e.g., defense specifications and standards, non-government standards, service specific standards, etc.) in ASSIST.