COTS integration and acquisition is focus of Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum

Jan. 1, 2008
Dr. Stephen M. Jarrett, chief technologist of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Charleston leads the COTS Integration Session at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum March 11 at the San Diego Convention Center.

By John McHale

SAN DIEGO—Dr. Stephen M. Jarrett, chief technologist of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Charleston leads the COTS Integration Session at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum March 11 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Jarrett will discuss solutions to these COTS integration challenges and other issues facing defense COTS electronics designers at SPAWAR Charleston. His organization is instrumental in developing and employing lifecycle logistic solutions for warfighter systems.

Stephen M. Jarrett, SPAWAR chief technologist
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Jarrett will then join a panel discussion that focuses on when and where COTS solutions should be used in future defense systems and how to deal with their negatives.

Other members of the panel include Melanie Ott, principal electrical systems engineer, Photonics at NASA; Doug Patterson, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Aitech Defense Systems Inc., and Ron Parker, market development manager for the Military Aerospace and Government Segment within the Embedded and Communications and Enterprise Solutions Sales Groups for Intel Corp.

James Robles, senior technical fellow at the Boeing Co., is the session chair and moderator for the panel. Robles is also a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Advisory Board.

The COTS Acquisition and Procurement Challenges session, moderated by Ross Smith, president and chief executive officer for Quantum3D, will kick off the first afternoon of the conference.

The first presentation will be a talk on COTS Acquisition Reform from Dr. Sally Baron of the Defense Commercial Vendors Coalition, who will discuss methods for reforming electronics acquisition within the U.S. defense industry to require that off-the-shelf equipment and technology receive more consideration when procurement dollars are spent. She and her organization—the Defense Commercial Vendors Coalition (DCVC)—believe that federal acquisition reform will foster the development of a more competitive marketplace.

Following Dr. Baron, Vance Anderson, program manager/senior engineer for the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), will discuss the effect of lead-free regulations on the COTS Procurement Process.

The European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment directive prohibits the sale of new electronic equipment containing certain hazardous substances, such as lead, requiring the electronics industry to reduce nearly to zero, the amount of lead in products, including component finishes and solder.

Solder with lead is softer and useful in military and aerospace applications. The market pressure on commercial suppliers of these lead products may cause significant ripples in military procurement. This session will discuss challenges and procedures for compliance with lead-free regulations regarding electronic assemblies in military and aerospace applications.

Anderson is also leading a workshop the day before—March 10—on Lead—Free Issues for Defense Applications and Programs. Dr. Robin Keesee, deputy director for the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), also will discuss a “Roadmap for COTS Technology/Electronics in a Fast-moving Threat Environment such as IEDs.”

Closing out this session is retired Col. Timothy Kokinda, U.S. Army Signal Corps, with a presentation titled “C4ISR Lessons Learned from Iraq.”

James Robles of the Boeing Co.
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Today’s C4ISR (command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) technology has improved the capability of forces in the field, but the Iraqi conflict revealed integration challenges that need to be addressed. This presentation will discuss some of those lessons learned and how government and industry can be advocates for the warfighter and apply solutions.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3, Space, and Spectrum, Dr. Ronald Jost, will give the keynote address. Jost, who serves in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration, will be discussing “the Global Information Grid (GIG) and Network Architectures,” a presentation describing the GIG and the importance of network architectures in addressing major portfolio issues.

The forum theme is under the COTS Umbrella and content will touch on how innovation in COTS electronics affects defense applications today, especially for urgent warfighter needs such as counter- IED (improvised explosive device) technology. These programs put immense pressure on suppliers and integrators to get technology deployed as fast as possible, creating new challenges when it comes to integrating COTS technology.

DOD and industry leaders will discuss how to meet these challenges and more throughout the conference program.

Other session topics include: software-defined radio and the Joint Tactical Radio System program, IPv6 and its affect on military systems, information assurance, software security standards, ITAR and import/export issues, and thermal and power management for warfighter systems.

The Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum is brought to you by Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine and targets innovation in electronics solutions for defense applications. Presentations are geared specifically for program managers, engineering managers, and engineers at first-, second-, and third-tier defense contractors who need to understand the programs, opportunities, and latest innovations in defense electronics.

The content will reflect the hottest topics from Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, such as network-centric communications, commercial off-the-shelf procurement issues, software-defined radio technology, and power management. In addition, an exhibition will deliver a collaborative environment conducive to productive discussions, exchanging ideas, meeting new business partners, and reconnecting with current customers.

For more information on registering for the event, visit the Forum Website at To find out more about exhibiting or sponsoring the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum, contact Jeff Gallagher at 603.891.9147 or e-mail [email protected].

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