Friday, June 26, 2015

Evolution of System Development

In the 1970s, Tom Demarco believed that we should spend a significant amount of time developing a description of the "current system".  This meshed well with the development of Information Systems in accordance with DoD Standard 7935A.

About 2000, Tom Demarco revisited his Structured Systems Analysis methodology and stated that nobody would devote that much time to developing a description of something that needed to be replaced.  Countries which could afford a significant defense budget could make faster progress using prototyping.  A rich country such as the United States of America could  fund thousands of engineers doing fun stuff.  Even rich countries had problems funding all their engineers during cyclical economic downturns.  The United States of America had a surplus of scientific and engineering professionals during the 1969-71 RETRENCHMENT.

Demarco was right in the late 1970s when information systems science was getting started and he was right about 2000 when Information Systems Engineering was going strong.

MIL-STD 490 A established the format and contents of specifications for program–peculiar configuration items, processes, and materials~.  It was published on June 4, 1985.  It superseded the previous edition of 30 October 1968.

When a change in scale is involved, it is likely not to be noticed unless one spends a significant amount of time on the current system description.  Several changes of scale were involved in developing the System Description for the World-Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) [pronounced WIMEX].

The WWMCCS accomplished 6 Operational Tasks..These exist in the JCS requirements statement.  In general, they accomplish the "military operational process" (sense, analyze, decide, act, communicate) which has been documented in various places.  My earliest reference is AD0479368 "Concepts for Command and Control Systems",by Henry M. Parsons and William E. Perry, 23 December 1965.

The sense function included Tactical Warning.  One of the first systems to support this function was SAGE.

The Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) was a system of large computers and associated networking equipment that coordinated data from many radar sites and processed it to produce a single unified image of the airspace over a wide area. SAGE directed and controlled the NORAD response to a Soviet air attack, operating in this role from the late 1950s into the 1980s. Its enormous computers and huge displays remain a part of cold war lore, and a common prop in movies such as Dr. Strangelove and Colossus.

The command center displays were upgraded is from the TRW Technology Series and describes this upgrade.

The WWMCCS included separate processes for "conventional" and "nuclear" planning and execution.

The WWMCCS Information System (WIS) was supposed to support the "Warfighters" in the National Military Command System (NMCS) and their command subordinates.

The Massachusetts Mafia won the WIS development contract but could not deliver.  The Global Command and Control System (GCCS) was an effort to meet the needs of the NCA and the Warfighters.    

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Your Grandfather was a Theist

Our Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were avowed Deists.

To my daughters I can say, "Your Grandfather Brown was a Theist."

His beliefs were strongly influenced by The Fundamentals. The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (generally referred to simply as The Fundamentals) is a set of 90 essays published from 1910 to 1915 by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. The Fundamentals were edited by A. C. Dixon and later by Reuben Archer Torrey. The Fundamentals was first published as a 12-volume set, and later as a four-volume set retaining all 90 essays. The 90 essays were written by 64 different authors, representing most of the major Protestant Christian denominations.

The essays were written to affirm conservative Protestant beliefs, especially those of the Reformed tradition, and defend against ideas deemed inimical to them. They are widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism.

The project was initially conceived in 1909 by California businessman Lyman Stewart and his brother Milton. They anonymously provided funds for collecting essays to set out what they believed to be the fundamentals of Christian faith, and for printing and distributing copies of the collected essays.  The Fundamentals  was sent free to ministers, missionaries, professors of theology, YMCA and YWCA secretaries, Sunday School superintendents, and other Protestant religious workers in every English-speaking country. Over three million volumes (250,000 sets) were sent out.

The volumes defended orthodox Protestant beliefs and attacked higher criticism, liberal theology, Catholicism (also called Romanism by them), socialism, Modernism, atheism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Millennial Dawn, Spiritualism, and evolutionism.