Analysis Tools for Managing Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Obsolescence
Navy SBIR 2016.3 - Topic N163-138
SPAWAR - Mr. Shadi Azoum - [email protected]
Opens: September 26, 2016 - Closes: October 26, 2016


TITLE: Analysis Tools for Managing Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Obsolescence


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES)

OBJECTIVE: Develop a COTS obsolescence advanced planning and decision analysis tool built on an open source framework to automate business decisions and “what if analysis” for the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) programs end of life (EOL) and end of support (EOS) components to assist in the obsolescence management strategy.

DESCRIPTION: CANES is the Navy’s only Program of Record to replace existing afloat networks and provide the necessary infrastructure for applications, systems, and services required for Navy to dominate the Cyber Warfare domain.

The fundamental goal of CANES is to provide Infrastructure and Platform as a Service, within which current and future iterations of Navy Tactical Network computing and storage capabilities will reside. CANES will provide complete infrastructure, inclusive of hardware, software, processing, storage, and end user devices for Unclassified, Coalition, Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) for all basic network services (email, web, chat, collaboration) to a wide variety of Navy surface combatants, submarines, Maritime Operations Centers, and Aircraft. In addition, hosted applications and systems, inclusive of Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Information Operations, Logistics and Business domains, require the CANES infrastructure to operate in the tactical environment.

The CANES network has to manage the complexities in scheduling and executing network installations afloat. The specific factors which create uncertainty and complexity are changing ship availabilities, budget limitations, and COTS End Of Life (EOL) or End Of Support (EOS) dates and when logistics buys can be implemented.  The tool should be able to ingest relevant data such as, but not limited to, ships availabilities and product EOL dates, and that would assist in putting the information in context for Navy decision makers. The tool should additionally be able to address compatibility issues with other applications and components, Business Case Analysis trade-offs, and provide a recommended schedule for replacement. The ability to ingest these criteria into a tool and manipulate the data to improve visualization of the data, expected impacts and perform rapid “what if” planning would reduce the tedious effort of trying to map this manually.

There are no known commercial alternatives to a decision tool which can accommodate the myriad requirements around the required business processes, fiscal year funding profiles, changing ship availabilities and the COTS obsolescence plans from industry. The Navy is in a unique position of having limited shipboard installation opportunities which adds significant complexity to the problem set. These complexities include multiple unique configurations per ship platform that each need to be managed and tracked for EOL issues. Additionally, each Navy platform has hundreds of COTS products, each with their own tech refresh cycle and original equipment manufacturer (OEM), resulting in a multi-dimensional problem to manage.

With Cyber Security in mind, the challenge of managing COTS obsolescence is critical due to the threat that unsupported hardware and software poses to Navy networks.  As the fielded networks age, the manpower required to track COTS obsolescence is a significant burden on programs. Due to program workloads and prioritization of new capabilities and newer networks, the current difficulties inherent in the manual processes result in not fully considering EOS/EOL when determining the acquisition planning and engineering changes to continue to support and accredit our systems. The product life cycle and well planned windows of engineering design and warfighter deployment are critical elements which dramatically affect the life cycle costs and total ownership cost of the CANES system and other IT systems fielded by the DoD. The current acquisition and sustainment efforts could be greatly improved with an innovative COTS obsolescence management tool that provides decision analysis and trade-offs associated with engineering design and deployment of COTS products. This becomes especially critical when combined with the limited windows of availability for installs due to high tempo operations. A COTS obsolescence decision analysis tool would enable the Navy and DoD to better manage technology refresh cycles and obsolescence in today’s high cyber threat environment.

PHASE I: The small business will define and develop a concept for an open source-based business analysis and decision tool to track COTS obsolescence and ingest externally available data such as ships availability schedules and ship configurations. The concept should include the ability to visualize the data in different human readable forms that enable the acquisition manager to make optimal acquisition and engineering decisions (cost, schedule, and performance). This capability would initially apply to CANES with the ultimate goal of applying to other DoD Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) programs.  CANES may provide a relevant Build of Materials of representative equipment for the Small business to populate and understand the requirement. Small business will not have access to CANES for Phase I.

PHASE II: Based on the results of the Phase I effort and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), the small business will develop a beta software release and a prototype solution to demonstrate their capabilities. The analysis and decision tool to track COTS obsolescence prototype will be evaluated to determine its capabilities and benefits in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW and in assisting the business decision and planning processes which are currently manually implemented.  The software will be evaluated with examples of products going EOL/EOS and how that information is visualized within the products.  Phase II testing will be representative of components going end of life/end of support and the tools ability to track and visualize this information.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The small business will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the software product for Navy use on the CANES program as well as update support for the open source frameworks and data sources utilized. The company will finalize the design and deliver the software, according to the Phase III SOW, for evaluation to determine its effectiveness by the CANES Program and the CANES Systems Engineering Team. The company will support the Navy for test and evaluation in accordance with the SBIR Phase II SOW. Following testing and validation, the end design is expected to produce results outperforming the current CANES business processes and ad hoc methods in use today.  Private Sector Commercial Potential: The software system described in this SBIR topic paper could have private sector commercial potential for any IT business which needs to determine optimal upgrade schedules to accommodate the IT obsolescence of their fielded network components.


1. describes the obsolescence problem that this SBIR topic paper is focused on resolving.

2. Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) ACQUISITION GUIDELINES: Implementing Parts Obsolescence Management Contractual Requirements Rev 3.0 (2001).

KEYWORDS: CANES, COTS, Cyber Security, Obsolescence, SBIR, Transition, DMSMS


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