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Technical note | Fit-for-Purpose Visualisation of Architecture to support Defence Capability Decision-Making


Making decisions across the whole portfolio of defence capability requires the integration of information about hundreds of projects and capabilities, from a number of different perspectives. Architectures have been used in the defence community for at least the last decade to address this complexity. However, traditional architecture views are often too complex for decision-makers to readily comprehend. The recently-released DoDAF 2.0 architecture framework promotes the concept of 'fit-for-purpose' views to facilitate decision support from architectural models. The work described in this paper applies a UPDM-based architecture development approach to capture capability development information with an emphasis on developing a fit-for-purpose visualisation to support decision-making. This work includes the development of prototype visualisation software to facilitate decision-support from DoDAF 2.0 architectural models.


Managing the entire portfolio of defence capability is a highly complex task. Senior decision-makers must understand a broad range of portfolio-level aspects, especially schedule, cost and capability. Whenever changes are made, it is critical that decision-makers are aware of the implications of these changes. This work explores the development of a decision support environment to address this problem, including a prototype solution developed as a proof-of-concept.

This work adopted the DoDAF 2.0 architecture-based approach as the framework to capture the complex data and relationships required. The Unified Profile for DoDAF and MODAF (UPDM), which provides the underlying representation in this work, is an architectural standard for modelling defence concepts, including project scheduling and capability information. The UPDM meta-model, which is compliant to the DoDAF 2.0, can also be extended to incorporate additional concepts, as was required to integrate project costing data in this task.

To support decision making, appropriate visualisation of data is critical. Decision-makers must be able to understand information by examining data in a variety of ways. DoDAF 2.0 promotes the development of 'fit-for-purpose' views to enable a complex data model to be presented in suitable ways according to decision support needs. This work has developed a prototype fit-for-purpose view called 'Program Viewer', which aims to support decision making by presenting high-level scheduling, cost and capability visualisations. Program Viewer is also interactive to enable decision-makers to understand portfolio-level implications when making changes to the data.

This work demonstrated that DoDAF 2.0 and UPDM provide a very capable framework to capture the complex data and relationships required, while facilitating the development of fit-for-purpose views for decision support. UPDM enabled rapid development of both the data model and fit-for-purpose views by leveraging existing standard metadata structures and programming interfaces. This work has achieved a proof-of-concept which demonstrates these benefits, and provides a unique decision support tool for senior decision makers. While this work recognises limitations in the current interoperability of UPDM and the dependence on quality input data, it found that given availability of reliable data, a UPDM-based model coupled with fit-for-purpose views can be an effective approach for decision support.

Key information


Kevin O'Shea, Peter Pong and Gary Bulluss

Publication number


Publication type

Technical note

Publish Date

July 2012


Unclassified - public release


Decision Making, Visualisation, Architecture, Modelling