Working the Challenge of Software for a 21st Century Combat Force


2017-07-19  San Diego, CA

Mr. Ritesh Patel discusses the new approach to developing, testing, integrating and deploying software systems for the Navy while working at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific).

SSC Pacific is accelerating warfighter advantage through science, engineering and discovery.



Video by Aaron Lebsack

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific

A recent article by Mark Wallace entitled “How Software is Eating the Military and What That Means for the Future of War,” provides some interesting thoughts about the challenge of managing the new generation of software based combat systems.

While war is still conducted with fighter jets, assault rifles, and roadside bombs, the world’s governments and armed forces are increasingly bringing new kinds of weapons and information systems to bear.

And these software-based systems may soon eclipse most others in the effect they have on the battlefield.

At the very least, a shift is under way that will see software come to have a deeper and deeper impact on almost every aspect of conflict….

“More and more of what [the military] is doing is going to be software, and software-enabled,” says Pat Antkowiak, Northrop Grumman’s chief technology officer.

“Throughout the [defense] community, there seems to be an awakening that this is all becoming much more fundamental.

“The potential for rapid integration and introduction of new capabilities built into a software framework, this is clearly part of the promise.

“This notion of being able to have rapid, highly automated prosecution of really complex tasks against an adversary who’s moving rapidly against you, that is certainly part of the benefit on the operational side….”

Just being able to update a software system without having to rethink things from the ground up is something of a new trick for the Department of Defense, strange as it may seem.

Reaping the benefit of up-to-date software development practices isn’t something that’s limited to experimental autonomous fighter jets, of course.

“Being able to upgrade, that’s really something that’s applicable to any platform that has any amount of software capability–which is really all of them [emphasis added] at this point in time,” says Renee Pasman, Lockheed’s director of Mission Systems Roadmaps for Advanced Development Programs.

Also, see the following article:

Software Upgradeability and Combat Dominance: General Ellen Pawlikowski Looks at the Challenge