AUSTIN, Texas – As Architecture Branch Chief at U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) headquarters, Luis Fregoso knows that great ideas are only as powerful as the ecosystems they operate within.
To ensure that the Army of 2030 and the Army of 2040 are designed and implemented in the most effective, efficient and seamless way possible, Fregoso and his team of 20 engineers develop enterprise architecture tools and visuals to illustrate how signature transformation activities can connect and integrate to produce optimal outcomes.
“Having a framework that is understood, that’s standardized and, probably most importantly, that’s useful allows organizations to share products and synergize modernization efforts,” Fregoso said.
Army architecture products, also referred to as “artifacts,” include software-enabled models, diagrams, pictures, matrices, one-pagers and situation reports. They are often interactive and highly detailed, rendering dynamic brainstorming and planning content that can expand and adjust intelligently along with changes in Army future readiness research, experimentation and program execution.
At AFC, architecture artifacts utilize large amounts of data and qualitative lessons learned from experiments like Project Convergence to map out and examine the work of command entities, producing a holistic blueprint to inform senior leader decision making and the Army’s ongoing development of future force requirements and capabilities.
AFC’s architectural analysis additionally considers the influences and demands of systems, structures and resources beyond the command and broader Army, incorporating partner and Joint Force factors to offer more comprehensive insights.
“I’ve seen firsthand how our architecture products help generate discussion, but more importantly, help generate better understanding,” Fregoso said.
Fregoso is able to draw on his previous experience as an Artillery officer and his educational background in electrical engineering to provide his team and AFC with a cohesive picture of how system-of-systems thinking and planning can benefit the Army.
His teammates are similarly attuned to – and passionate about – the value of thoughtful integration.
AFC Architecture Experimentation Lead Bryan Lee, who studied civil engineering before becoming a Department of the Army Civilian, sees how leveraging modern modeling tools and systems can simultaneously accelerate and harmonize Army transformation, particularly in the realm of technology.
“Before you can really decide on specific new technologies, or potential technologies, you have to first have the time to experiment with how they can serve a purpose or meet a capability gap or an issue that’s been identified for the warfighter,” Lee said, further explaining how architecture products have the ability to illuminate gaps and redundancies as well as potential solutions, especially when utilized early on.
Lee and his Architecture Branch colleagues frequently use MagicDraw software to generate and build upon models, as well as share information with key stakeholders, who can then provide iterative feedback on proposed approaches and outlines.
“Our goal is to have a living set of products that continuously evolve,” Lee said.
Lee, Fregoso and the rest of the AFC Architecture Branch have applied architecture principles and problem-solving strategies to a range of command activities, from Project Convergence 22 to system-specific Cross-Functional Team experiments.
Current projects include efforts to adopt more consistent taxonomy, validate interconnected security structures and construct Fit-For-Purpose Views, or user-requested data subsets designed to inform key decisions.
The team is also creating an AFC baseline architecture, modeling and capturing data for each of the command’s signature technologies, and directly supports System-of-Systems Integration Readiness Assessment (SIRA) reviews, which serve as a quick assessment tool to ascertain integration and interoperability requirements for a given technology.
In line with AFC’s forward-leaning approach to Army transformation, Architecture Branch staff routinely embrace opportunities to try, fail and learn rapidly, in the process honing their ability to adeptly support future planning.
“To really get transformation that we want, we want to figure out how we – individually and as teams – can help make the mission better. To do that, you have to take risks,” Lee said.
The team coordinates closely with the Army's Futures and Concepts Center, Joint Modernization Command, Chief Information Officer/G-6 and Office of the United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, among others, to align and advance various Army architecture initiatives.
While the end goal of architecture efforts is enabling a strong and agile Army for many years to come, the AFC Architecture Branch also places great emphasis on the importance of consistently optimizing investments made by the American public.
“I feel obligated to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to maximize what taxpayers are paying for,” Fregoso said.
“When our efforts help with that, I feel good about what we’re doing.”
To learn more about Army Futures Command, visit www.army.mil/futures.
Defense personnel interested in gaining a greater understanding of architecture development principles and tools can also explore the architecture learning resources offered by Defense Acquisition University (DAU).