Case Study - Systems Engineering & AI

Sentek Global Helps Defense Customer Respond Quickly to COVID-19 Needs by Supporting Digital Transformation Initiatives

The Challenge

The systems currently fielded to serve our government customer’s logistics, supply, and maintenance were a patchwork of functionality. The systems were numerous and not properly interfaced for data sharing and analysis. Since big data analytics provides machine learning and business intelligence on a global scale, our customer knew they were missing out on important data and efficiencies.

The legacy applications were recognized as being:

  • Unsustainable and built on outdated coding schemes
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Prone to cyber insecurities
  • Non-compliant with contemporary financial auditing standards

An opportunity existed to replace them with modern, efficient, cloud-based systems that leap-frog them in capability.

The Solution

Sentek Global provided systems engineering support for the Navy to acquire, test, field, and sustain next-generation supply and maintenance management systems. This full-range system engineering support included:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Architecture design and integration
  • System engineering documentation
  • Cloud computing architecture analysis and deployment
  • Cybersecurity engineering
  • Data migration and analytics
  • Agile test planning

Sentek Global’s requirement engineers assessed and organized requirements for each element in the proposed worldwide logistics enterprise and defined their interrelationships. The requirements were cross-walked to establish dependencies, and provided traceability between new applications, legacy systems, and the converged authoritative database. In the case of one component subsystem, Sentek Global personnel consolidated over 10,000 functional requirements for supply operations into a more usable 350 functional requirements.

Sentek Global data analysts devised a Data Migration Roadmap to guide Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) vendors in collecting data from field sites to populate an authoritative, cloud-hosted, database. This migration plan ensures data from scores of systems and hundreds of field sites are efficiently collected, transformed, and ingested into central data stores available to the Navy logistics enterprise.

Sentek Global cybersecurity engineers guided the development and processing of the enterprise cloud solution’s Authorization to Operate (ATO) packages across a wide array of application, database, and host platform variants. Four of these cybersecurity engineers managed over 18 separate packages, serving as Information System Security Engineers or Validators. Each of these packages presents unique technical and policy challenges, and each faces a highly aggressive deployment plan.

Within two years, a more limited-scope precursor system was designed and deployed with the assistance of Sentek Global engineers. A Sentek Global software engineer (cloud architect) played a pivotal role in configuring and deploying this system, with its multiple associated servers and databases, for first-time use in the Navy “cloud.” The successor system, planned for fielding within another two years, is projected to serve 150,000 fleet users.

Sentek Global test engineers researched all guidance governing testing routines unique to Defense Business Systems. Adept in Agile testing paradigms, our test engineers devised comprehensive, first-of-kind test plans to accelerate delivery of the enterprise system’s ground-breaking capabilities.

The Results

Data deployed to the authoritative data repository is now exposed throughout the Navy supply and maintenance enterprise, and predictive analytics are becoming a logistical force multiplier.

As the merits of the precursor system were proven, the expanded promise of the cloud-hosted authoritative database became evident across the fleet logistic community. Faced with the escalating imperatives of the rapidly advancing COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy customer urgently sought to migrate disparate databases used to manage fleet medical supplies into an accelerated implementation of the converged, cloud-hosted database. Informed that cybersecurity authorizations constrained the intended migration, Navy leadership expedited review of system security architectures and planned policies as they were urgently assembled by Sentek Global cybersecurity engineers. The completeness and quality of these information security plans were quickly affirmed by the Navy Authorizing Official. An Authorization to Operate (ATO) was granted within an unprecedented two-week review. The entire fleet benefits from the big-data analytics made possible, in part, by the security frameworks devised by Sentek Global.

Sentek Global data analysts are designing and modeling recurrent-neural-networks, applying machine learning algorithms to help find redundant data fields – even those stored on disparate data sources, or using different formats. This algorithm streamlines enterprise data consolidation and reduces manual data mapping activities by an estimated 30%.

Sentek Global cybersecurity engineers gained two firsts when securing the initial ATO for the precursor logistics system in November of 2019. This ATO was first to gain authorization in the Navy’s rapidly evolving cloud-hosting environment and first to employ the Risk Management Framework (RMF) within the sponsor division. The ATO was gained on-schedule, a noteworthy accomplishment given system complexity and the pattern of schedule challenges that have accompanied RMF processes. The Navy program manager cited the accomplishment: “We are the first team to put out an RMF schedule that stuck… Congratulations!”

Initial Requirements Documents (IRD) for the enterprise logistics system, compiled by Sentek Global requirements analysts, earned praise at System Engineering Technical Reviews and were expeditiously approved at OPNAV. The Navy program manager praised this accomplishment, stating, “Your ability to multi-task and deliver top-notch products helped drive our success and warrants a BZ.”

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