Chief Software Engineer
Danielle Curcio assumed the roles of chief software engineer for Corporate Engineering and program manager for Raytheon’s cyberrange in June 2010. As chief software engineer, she oversees and guides multiple software efforts across Raytheon’s businesses. She applies her broad range of architecture and technology experience to business software challenges and user needs, generating enterprisewide synergy for software design, development, test and support. As program manager for the cyberrange, Danielle leverages engineering capabilities across the company to design, build and operate Raytheon’s cyberrange capability. Prior to joining Corporate Engineering, Danielle was Naval Defense Systems department manager under the Systems Architecture Design and Integration Directorate at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) business where she was responsible for program execution, cost proposal approval and personnel management.
Technology Today recently spoke with Danielle about software innovation and the importance of modeling and simulation in a product’s life cycle.
TT: What are your primary responsibilities as corporate chief software engineer?
DC: As chief software engineer under Corporate Engineering, my main concentration is on promoting enterprisewide synergy for software across the businesses. I work directly with the business software directors to identify best practices and deploy them across the enterprise through our Integrated Product Development System [IPDS]. One mechanism to explore new initiatives for an enterprise approach to software engineering and technology is the Raytheon Common Engineering Process [RECP] program. Software RECP projects are defined by the Software Engineering and Technology [SWE&T] Council. Strategic council projects focus on productivity, technology, tools, process, learning and metrics. Software Innovation for Tomorrow [SWIFT] is the current council initiative to revolutionize how we develop software across the enterprise. Information operations [IO] and information assurance [IA] are other areas of concentration, where I am working to further information security development, testing, implementation, deployment and accreditation. I am also the program manager for the Cyber Operations, Development and Evaluation [CODE] Center. The CODE Center is used to test networks and systems by exposing them to realistic nation-state cyberthreats in a secure facility with the latest tools, techniques and malware. It is a critical element for building our Raytheon Cyber Strategy.
TT: What are some of the challenges facing software development in this industry today, and how are we addressing them?
DC: The software discipline faces many challenges, now more than ever. Some of the challenges are common across every discipline such as the uncertainty of the defense budget, the rising cost of maintaining existing systems, small company competition and the mounting cyberthreat to new and existing systems. The need for new capabilities continues to grow and customers demand them quicker than ever before. The unique challenge to software is that advances in computing have resulted in more software-driven features in our systems. The rate of increase in our software size and complexity is outpacing current gains in productivity. We cannot continue with the status quo and expect to remain competitive. To address these challenges, Raytheon is changing the way we develop software through the SWIFT initiative.
TT: Can you discuss the Software Innovation for Tomorrow initiative and what benefits it provides to our programs and our customers?
DC: SWIFT is the application of best practices and emerging technologies to increase software productivity and reduce cycle time while improving quality with less out-of-phase defects. The initiative originated at the 2010 Raytheon technology integration workshop as a solution for integrating and applying technologies across the company to improve productivity and program execution time. For 2011 and 2012, the focus has been on deploying Scrum, continuous integration, structured reuse and automated testing. This has been accomplished through pilot activities that have enabled us to mature our methods. Accurately measuring productivity and quality is critical in determining the success of SWIFT. Metrics collected across the pilots are beginning to quantify the improvements that SWIFT provides. Early indications show that software teams across Raytheon that adopted Scrum as part of their pilot activities realized productivity improvements of more than 25 percent.
For 2013 and beyond, we will continue to explore emerging technologies, mature methods and expand our adoption across the enterprise.
Reducing software cycle time and increasing productivity without compromising our high standards for quality will allow us to better serve our customers. A reduction in cycle time will deliver capabilities to the warfighter at a quicker pace and fundamentally change the way systems are developed, deployed and maintained.
TT: Can you discuss the CODE Center and what benefits it provides?
DC: The CODE Center is an enterprisewide cybersecurity engineering development environment and test range for developing comprehensive solutions to serve our customers and support our products across the Raytheon portfolio. The CODE Center serves all Raytheon businesses and Corporate Information Technology as well as external customers and stakeholders. The CODE Center enables cyber resilience assessments of Raytheon products and solutions against sophisticated nation-state threats, including discovery of zero-day vulnerabilities. It provides a secure engineering environment for the integration of companywide cyber capabilities, the testing and demonstration of cyber technologies, the integration of cybersecurity technologies, the integration of customer and partner capabilities, and cybersecurity training. CODE Center capabilities enhance Raytheon products and strengthen our position with our customers as well as provide a key discriminator to Raytheon as a major systems integrator. Having the capability to validate the security and cyber resilience of our products will be a distinguishing factor in future competitive proposals.
TT: How is modeling and simulation (M&S) used in the development of software for today’s complex systems?
DC: Modeling and simulation plays a critical and evolving role throughout the life cycle of today’s systems. From concept evaluation through system development and validation, M&S can help us understand our customers, communicate the value of our products and deliver systems with reduced cost and schedule. A great example of this is the work Raytheon has done with the SDB II [Small Diameter Bomb II] program since 2012. SDB II has a challenging flight test schedule that includes multiple captive-carry, controlled and guided test flights, all in less than a year. The SDB II team uses flight software and simulation architectures that are reusable products [genSoft and genSim] shared by multiple programs. The SDB II simulation environment integrates flight software with high-fidelity hardware models that accurately represent all bit-level logic in the software-to-hardware interface. This allows the team to rapidly test flight software with high confidence that missile performance will be accurately predicted. This extensive and detailed M&S environment has contributed to the delivery of quality software and has earned a high degree of customer satisfaction.