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Information systems serve in a variety of ways in military environments but have the common objectives of supporting decision processes. Systems engineers have had difficulty in developing automated systems for this purpose because of the amount of lead time required to analyze a problem situation, to procure hardware and to design and prepare computer programs, and because the problems and the problem situation are highly dynamic. Extrapolating requirements for some time in the future from current problems and methods of operation have tended to result in inadequate or incomplete systems designs when systems are developed and tested against the actual requirements in an operational environment. A variety of approaches to system development have been employed. These have ranged from the "job shop" approach at one extreme to the "turn-key" approach at the other. The job shop approach is typified by many independent, special-purpose programs, each written to perform a particular job with its own data base. The programs are executed under job controls established by machine operators. New capabilities are developed and operated in the same way. This approach is usually responsive to individual staff elements since each program is designed for the specific purpose of the particular group which will have considerable input to the design, a good knowledge of the logic employed, and confidence in the products obtained from it. It has growth potential limited only by total machine capacity. Operational capability is provided and can be evaluated with relatively short lead time.
Date of Publication: April 1965