Army releases first version of Unified Data Reference Architecture

By Dan Schere / March 27, 2024 at 8:36 PM

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army has released the first version of its Unified Data Reference Architecture (UDRA), service officials announced this week during the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium here.

UDRA will address the challenge of improving the Army’s current data architecture, which is “complex and focused on networks, systems and message protocols for moving and sharing data,” according to an Army description. “This UDRA introduces data mesh principles to flatten and simplify the Army’s data architecture, streamline data product sharing across mission partners, and support data-driven decision making at greater speed and scale,” the service’s description of the architecture states.

Army Deputy Assistant Secretary for Data, Engineering and Software Jennifer Swanson told Inside Defense on March 26 that the service has been developing the architecture in collaboration with industry for the past year.

“That was important to us to make sure that what we put out was executable and feasible. And so we have evolved the architecture.” she said.

The architecture was co-signed by both the Army acquisition executive as well as the chief information officer, Swanson said.

“Implementation is beginning across ASA (ALT), and it is going to be required for at least our new programs. We need to kind of do the math on the existing ones and what makes sense. I think we're going to start taking a look at that soon. But I think that there will be some level of migrating some of that to this data mesh architecture as well,” she said.

Also this week, the Army officially launched the Innovation Exchange Lab, which will allow industry to test out their data solutions to determine compliance with the architecture.

“It’s really a cloud-based lab where industry can bring their data solutions and test against the UDRA implementation. So basically, do I comply. Do I not comply? What are the things that I might need to tweak in order to comply or get closer to complying,” she said.