“Force Generation” Architecture: Cold Phase

Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum
Posted by Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum on Apr 7, 2013

Enterprise Architecture

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After having introduced Core Objectives, understanding ‘the grand plan’, the stakeholders, their concerns and their ability to act, we will continue with the parallel between the military approach of Force Generation and our architecture case. The cold phase is all about preparation: staff, mode of operation and supporting tools. Make them work!  

The Military approach and concepts 

  • Capability assessment

In the cold phase the commander will assess his required and/or available capabilities to prepare for possible missions according to the core objectives and battle plan. The commander will:

  1. assess the need for staff – qualitative and quantitative.
  2. consider his (military) operations framework (doctrine).
  3. and explore available military units and equipment (tools), and their (required) capabilities or skills. 

Addressing his sponsor for additional guidelines (governance) he will get his troops organized and in basic working order.
Once operational the commander will set up liaison relations with partners en supporting parties to ensure continuity of operations (sustainability and support). 


Cold phase, as part of “Force Generation” Architecture

An example: the new assignments for the Dutch army required a shift from the large generic forces and heavy equipment to smaller, mobile, fast deployable and highly specialized units. From governance perspective the premise of technological superiority instead of force through numbers was also taken into account. Therefore four elements should be thoroughly considered to build a capability: staff, doctrine, military equipment, and the blending of these into a workable and effective unit.
So, nothing new or strange here!

  • Acquire staff (Team composition)

Recruits, by Senior Airman Micky M. Bazaldua www.theodoresworld.netAs conscripts were replaced by regular troops, the army had to learn to recruit from the open market and compete with civil companies and government. Due to the new kind of missions and scarce resources women were also recruited.  New staff requires training. The skillset for the troops grew from basic combatant to basic diplomatic skills and high-tech operators of state-of-the art  equipment needed for mobile and expeditionary operations.


Training consists of individual training to survive on the battlefield, specialist training, up to the basics of team deployment. As a football trainer once said: ”The most important part of the team is........the team”.

  • Frame work and methodsMilitary_doctrine A Reference Handbook by Bert Chapman www.ebook3000.com

Doctrine is (roughly stated) the Army’s equivalent of framework and methods. It describes how to prepare and lead operations in a consistent way, at different levels in the organization and with the purpose to ensure interoperability between organizations. Often called ‘command and control’ or C2.

  1. The first element addresses decision-making involving factors such as mission statement, commanders intent, intelligence and analysis, review own troops, and so on.
  2. The second element includes the “translation”  from the ‘commanders decision’ into orders and – subsequently - control and coordination of the execution including communication standards. Officers and NCO’s are trained in NATO-doctrine, ensuring allied compatibility.
  • Acquire tools

Military equipment can be considered as the equivalent for tools. Depending on the mission / desired outcome, additional guidance, environmental factors and other factors of influence, involved or critical parties / participants and time line of the operation, the commander will do his utmost to have the necessary tools at hand.

Selection of equipment at hand is a politically monitored process, conducted as a strategic study following the core objectives with the purpose of sustainability and durability. This is the major reason why there exists a “military industry” focused on and specialised in delivering the required tools for military organisations. 

  • Compose, organize and integrate

A military capability out of building blocks www.airforce.mil.nzTroops must learn to work with a broad range of equipment that in most situations belongs to different types of units. Basic combat drills and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are the essence of an operational military unit on each level. Together with selected specialists, units will start to exercise their roles as part of larger elements to specific ends, in which every unit constructively contributes to the aim and objective, jointly forming a truly military capability. 

So, in the cold phase, a military capability (an organized element with a specific mode of operation to a specific end) is made up from and comprises of several ‘building blocks’: staff, basic training, doctrine, equipment, combat drills and joint exercises. 

The architecture case

We now shift perspective to the realm of enterprise architecture. As with the “core objectives” phase, the “cold phase” maps neatly onto TOGAF’s preliminary phase. 

Rather than assessing the core capabilities for achieving a military objective, the enterprise architect considers the capability of the (architecture) team in the light of the task before him. If not, then appropriate action must be undertaken.  A typical assessment / reaction could be:

  • If we are to reduce IT cost with 25% in the next 2 years, with a landscape of 1500+ applications, then we have to increase the number of architects as well as make sure they understand financial / ROI calculations.
  • To do a proper analysis of dependencies, financial implications of interventions and changes, proper modelling / portfolio management tooling is required that may have to be purchased. Staff must be trained to operate the tool set.
  • As an equivalent of the doctrine discussion: a clear change management strategy must be agreed upon: how much power does the architecture team have? What governance and decision making structures are in place? Who will lend his business power to the architecture team, backing up their preliminary approach? 

It is easy to see the parallel between the two realms here. It should also be noted that the cold phase (military) / preliminary phase (architecture) will be handled differently, depending on the goals that we want to achieve. This does not mean that we have to re-invent the wheel each time, though. The point is to (re)use what is already there, focus on the new goals and shape things up for action. 




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