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Int. J. Ocean Systems Management, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2009

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework: a System of Systems Engineering approach Mo Mansouri*

School of Systems and Enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology, 533 Babbio Centre, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA Fax: 201-216-5541 E-mail: [email protected] *Corresponding author

Alex Gorod, Thomas H. Wakeman and Brian Sauser

School of Systems and Enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA E-mail: [email protected] E-mail: [email protected] E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract: This research develops an engineering approach that brings meaning to the context of Maritime Transportation System of Systems (MTSoS) and increases understanding of how to govern it more effectively. We suppose that: System of Systems (SoS) can be identified by its distinguishing characteristics; Maritime Transportation Systems (MTS) can be considered as a SoS in which constituencies seek their own goals; and its integrated objective is to transfer goods safely and efficiently. Based on these premises, we present our management framework. The proposed framework enables us to engineer and manage MTS more effectively from a System of Systems Engineering (SoSE) perspective. Keywords: SoSE; system of systems engineering; transportation systems; management framework. MTS; maritime

Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Mansouri, M., Gorod, A., Wakeman, T.H. and Sauser, B. (2009) `Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework: a System of Systems Engineering approach', Int. J. Ocean Systems Management, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp.200­226. Biographical notes: Mo Mansouri holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tehran and a DSc in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering from George Washington University. He is currently an

Copyright © 2009 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework

Assistant Professor at the School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology. His independent field of research is on applications of governance in extended enterprise systems and enterprise networks. He is also conducting research on resilience of ports, maritime transportation and infrastructure systems. Alex Gorod is currently a Robert Crooks Stanley Doctoral Fellow in Engineering Management at Stevens Institute of Technology. He conducts research in the area of management of complex systems. He has also served as the President of the Stevens Student Chapter of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). Thomas H. Wakeman is the Deputy Director of Center for Maritime Systems and a Research Professor of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. He has served as Programme Manager in Regional Port Programmes of Port Commerce Department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Brian Sauser holds a BS in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University, an MS in Bioresource Engineering from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a PhD in Project Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology. His research interests include the advancement of a fundamental science of systems thinking ( and system and enterprise maturity assessment (




According to IEEE Standard 1220, the word `system' is defined as a:

"... set or arrangement of elements (people, products ((hardware and software)) and processes ((facilities, equipment, material, and procedures))) that are related and whose behaviour satisfies customer/operational needs, and provides for the life cycle sustainment of the products." (IEEE, 2005)

Since the definition refers to a wide scope in concept, the word has been used extensively by many disciplines and in a variety of contexts. Therefore, its meaning has evolved during time to fit our understanding of the term and in response to how we design and analyse the entities that are called `systems'. As the world experienced hardships of wars, paucity of resources and economic setbacks during the last century, a paradigm shift occurred with the introduction of new management approaches as well as new engineering techniques that were supposed to study the entirety of systems rather than their constituent components. The result was the creation of a new discipline known as SE that enables us to include new complexities in problem-solving processes. However, the same forces still push science to conquer new disciplines that help us take into account higher levels of complexity. While SE methodologies let us study a system beyond characteristics of its components, they do not provide us with the opportunity to see a system in the larger environment to which it belongs and consequently SE methodologies are not adequate in dealing with complexities that are caused by the interrelated network of several complex systems.


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Therefore, the necessity of a structured discipline for engineering multiple integrated complex systems with the main objective of addressing "... shortcomings in the ability to deal with difficulties generated by increasingly complex and interrelated system of systems" as stated by Keating et al. (2003) resulted in the creation of SoSE. This newly established discipline is in its inceptive phases of development and there is still a lot to know and experiment with regarding its principles and applications. Although many are attempting to define the concepts and distinguish the boundaries of SoSE or even SoS, a universally accepted definition has not yet been presented (Sage and Cuppan, 2001). From the review of modern history of SoS and SoSE by Gorod et al. (2008a), there have been dozens of different attempts to define the terms. Many efforts in the literature identify SoS by either its structure or its characteristics. Kotov, for example, defines SoS as "large scale concurrent and distributed systems that are composed of complex systems" (Kotov, 1997). Manthorpe uses a military-specific definition that views SoS through interoperability among military standard systems (Manthorpe, 1996) and Lukasik's education-specific definition considers SoS as a potential factor for "evolution of the social infrastructure" (Luskasik, 1998). Whereas Kotov, Manthrope and Lukasik concentrate on defining structure of SoS, others such as Boardman and Sauser, Maier, Bar-Yam and DeLaurentis define them through focusing on characterisation of SoS (Maier, 1996; Bar-Yam, 2004; DeLaurentis, 2005; Boardman and Sauser, 2006). Defining the SoS concept as opposed to the term, through explaining its characteristics as Shenhar and Dvir (2007) state, is not limited to an industry-specific context. It instead provides us with the flexibility necessary for including multidisciplinary engineering processes (Shenhar and Dvir, 2007). Moreover, as Boardman and Sauser indicate, taking the characterisation approach for defining SoS provides the opportunity to identify the dynamic nature of various forces within SoS (Boardman and Sauser, 2006). By describing SoS as: "a large widespread collection or network of systems functioning together to achieve a common purpose", Shenhar was among first to approach SoS in a network context (Shenhar, 1994). This approach was extended to other universally known network-centric systems, namely the World Wide Web, global communication networks, etc., as examples of collaborative SoS by people like Maier and Lane (Lane and Valerdi, 2005; Maier, 1998). Thus, extracting best practices from the network management world and applying them to the SoS domain has lead to a benchmarking approach that was suggested by Gorod et al. (2007) for applying network management methodologies in the development of an SoSE management framework. Parallel to the SoS-related developments in academia, there has also been progress towards this concept in industry as well as government. For example, in 1989, the term `system-of-systems' appeared in the Strategic Defence Initiative to describe an engineered technology system (GPO, US, 1989). The goal of this new discipline was composed of the successful engineering of multiple integrated complex systems working together to achieve one common purpose. As a result, SoSE is now recognised and practised by a variety of entities from academia, to government, to professional SE communities. The idea of looking at MTS in the context of an SoS was previously introduced in the literature (National Strategy for Maritime Security, 2005). However, in this research, we are proposing to apply the SoSE management framework to the MTS domain for a better understanding of its complexities and processes. The proposed

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


MTS framework will be a first structured step towards engineering more effective maritime systems. To do this, we will first present a characteristic-based description of SoS on the basis of the term's development in the literature. Second, we describe a perspective called `Holarchical View' for approaching SoS. Third, we adopt SoSE management framework proposed by Gorod et al. (2008a) based on the SoS characteristics and the principles of network management. Fourth, we provide a review of MTS in an SoS context through the `Holarchical View' representation of MTS. Finally, we apply an SoSE management framework to introduce a structured SoS approach to an effective MTS management.


System of Systems Engineering

Development of a clear distinction between the strategic intent of an SoS and its applied SE and management approaches is essential for better understanding of its context (Shenhar and Sauser, 2008). Despite the rapid growth of SoS and SoSE literature, there is still a need for an established body of knowledge in these fields. This is why there exist several approaches for addressing the emerging problems of an SoS and no single strategy can be applied to all cases (Shenhar, 2001). Such shortcoming encourages a combined utilisation of SE frameworks and management approaches by the stakeholders of an SoS (Crawford et al., 2004). The SoSE management framework represented in this research is developed according to a leading idea introduced by Gorod et al. (2007, 2008a, 2008b) that describes an SoS and its fundamental trait based on its characterisation and defines it in the context of a network. To describe this SoSE management framework, we construct the characterisation of an SoS and its network-oriented nature.

2.1 System of systems distinguishing characteristics

In this paper, we refer to the concept of SoS as presented by Boardman and Sauser in which `autonomy', `belonging', `connectivity', `diversity' and `emergence' are defined as fundamental distinguishing characteristics for such systems (Boardman and Sauser, 2006, 2008). These characteristics, as explained in this section, are categorised based on a review of over 40 definitions of SoS in the literature.

2.1.1 Autonomy

Autonomy is the ability of a system as part of SoS to make independent choices. This characteristic includes action and decision independence, while accomplishing the main purpose of the SoS as a whole:

"The reason a system exists is to be free to pursue its purpose. That freedom always comes with constraints, of course. But those constraints cannot be permitted to overwhelm or violate its nature to perform. Were this to be the case, the system of necessity would be abandoned and another found to take its place. True, any given system may fail to fulfill its purpose, but not for reasons of autonomy. More likely it is ineffectiveness, efficiency, or even unethical behaviour. The same cannot be said of a part that is integral to a system.


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That part is chosen ­ designed or procured ­ for a given purpose, just as a system is, but it is deliberately chosen for the reason of serving the purpose of the whole system." (Boardman and Sauser, 2006)

2.1.2 Belonging

Belonging refers to the right and ability of constituent systems to choose to be a part of an SoS. This choice is essentially based on their own needs, values, objectives, beliefs, benefits, or fulfilment:

"Part of the persuasion comes from the argument that the achievement of the SoS purpose is exactly why the system was brought into being, but constraints at the time of its origination required a lesser target to be set. In other words, the new `supra' purpose enfolds the system's original purpose. And what is more, the existence of the SoS will enhance the value of the system's purpose, exalt the role of the system, whose belonging makes achievement of the supra purpose more likely and more effective. But that belonging does mean partness for the autonomous system. This autonomous legacy system now exhibits both partness and wholeness." (Boardman and Sauser, 2006)

2.1.3 Connectivity

Connectivity is the ability of the constituent systems to stay connected to other systems within an SoS:

"Now we are faced with the need to create connectivity, or in other words achieve interoperability, amongst the legacy systems and possibly additions of new systems to SoS ... It calls for a dynamic determination of connectivity, with interfaces and links forming and vanishing as the need arises. Thus the ability of constituent systems to remain autonomous proves essential, for only then can they hope to make real-time connections on behalf of the SoS to enable it achieve and sustain its capabilities." (Boardman and Sauser, 2006)

2.1.4 Diversity

Diversity is considered evidence of visible heterogeneity:

"A SoS should, out of necessity, be incredibly diverse in its capability as a system compared to the rather limited functionality of a constituent system, limited by design. It seems to us that there is a fundamental distinction to be made between requirements-driven design for a conventional system based on its defined scope, and a capabilities-based SoS that must exhibit a huge variety of functions, on an as-needed basis, in order to respond to rampant uncertainty, persistent surprise, and disruptive innovation." (Boardman and Sauser, 2006)

2.1.5 Emergence

Emergence is a concept that describes creation of new traits and properties as a result of interconnection, superposition, development, or evolution:

"In a system, emergence is deliberately and intentionally designed in. What's more, unintended consequences, i.e., unpleasant or painful emergent behaviour, are tested out as far as possible. With a SoS, emergent behaviour dare not be restricted to what can be foreseen or deliberately designed in, even if this risks greater unintended consequences, though of course these can still be tested for. A SoS must be rich in emergence because it may not be obvious what tactical

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework

functionality is required to achieve broad capability. Instead, a SoS has emergent capability designed into it by virtue of the other factors: preservation of constituent systems autonomy, choosing to belong, enriched connectivity, and commitment to diversity of SoS manifestations and behaviour. The challenge for the SoS designer is to know, or learn how, as the SoS progresses through its series of stable states, to create a climate in which emergence can flourish, and an agility to quickly detect and destroy unintended behaviours." (Boardman and Sauser, 2006)


Each one of these five distinguishing characteristics of SoS has a dynamic nature. Since they are influenced by systemic opposing forces with different degrees of strength, their equilibrium stance are set by a combination of managerial corrective actions or internal attributes of the system, as indicated by Sauser and Boardman (2008). Figure 1 depicts two extremes of these paradoxical forces that interact within these characteristics. These opposing forces will be used in defining our presented framework. It is essential to understand that the above-mentioned characteristics are interdependent. Having a better understanding of their interdependence leads us to realise how they are related.

Figure 1 Systems characteristic and paradoxes (see online version for colours)

Source: Adopted from Sauser et al. (2008)

2.2 `Holarchical View' methodology

Originally proposed by Smuts (1926), and then revisited by Koestler (1967), holarchy illustrated a hierarchical structure of holons. A synthesis of the Greek word `holos', or whole, with the suffix `on', which means a part, holon is simultaneously whole and a component of a larger system. Giret and Botti outline the advantages of holarchy as follows:

"... (it) enables the construction of very complex systems that are nonetheless efficient in the use of resources, highly resilient to disturbances (both internal and external), and adaptable to changes in the environment in which they exist." (Giret and Botti, 2004)


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The same phenomenon was observed by researchers and referred to as orgs, integron and panarchy by Gerard (1964), Jacob (1974) and Gunderson and Holling (2001), respectively. The `Holarchical View' (Gorod et al., 2008c) makes it possible to view holarchy through the perspective of dualism. The concept can be paralleled to what is known as a `Janus face', with one side pointing towards the structured but not resilient System of Subsystems, and the other looking in the direction of the more disordered yet flexible and emergent SoS. We adopt the idea of the holarchical view methodology as depicted schematically by Gorod et al. (2008c) in Figure 2.

Figure 2 `Holarchical view' methodology (see online version for colours)

Source: Adapted from Gorod et al. (2008c)

2.3 Network management approach

As we mentioned earlier, SoS has often been viewed as a network in the literature. The internet, global communication networks, as well as transportation networks are all provided as examples of collaborative SoS that can be viewed as networks (DeLaurentis, 2005; Shenhar, 1994; Maier, 1998; Sauser et al., 2008). MTS as a part of the global transportation system is not an exception. In fact, the complex task of transferring goods and services through the interconnectivity of a vast and intricate group of systems, which exist and operate independently as well as interdependently to achieve

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


the objectives of an international supply chain, can only be done on the basis of a large well-constructed network. The form and organisation of such a network is to some extent the product of its SoS dynamics. However, we believe that an effective network management approach can influence the behaviour of the MTSoS through leading its dynamics.

2.3.1 Network management principles

To provide a complete management model for Information Technology (IT) network systems, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) created Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security (FCAPS) principles that is now known as the standard ISO/IEC 7498 (ISO, 1989). While the application of the ISO standard to managing network-centric systems was suggested in the literature, Gorod et al. (2007) proposed to extract `best practices' based on FCAPS principles of network management and apply them to SoSE management (Gorod et al., 2007). The ISO standard is a reference model used to "... provide a common basis for the coordinated development of management standards" (ISO, 1989). The ISO proposed principles define terminologies, create structure and describe activities for management of IT networks. These principles have been developed based on a systematic approach and, thus, can be considered a guideline for the description of other kinds of networks as well.

2.3.2 SoSE management conceptual areas

As we mentioned earlier, the ISO/IEC standard 7498 was developed for IT networks. However, the same concepts are applicable to the SoSE domain, as suggested in the literature (Gorod et al., 2007, 2008a). Gorod et al. (2007) modified FCAPS principles to make them more applicable to SoSE. The modified FCAPS principles (i.e., SoSE management conceptual areas) are `Risk', `Configuration', `Performance', `Policy' and `Resource' Management (RCPPR). The RCPPR concept areas are briefly described here, and the process of mapping FCAPS principles to them is depicted in Figure 3. We will explain them in more detail in Section 3.8. 1 2 3 Risk Management is the process of monitoring, identifying, analysing, prioritising and mitigating risks encountered in the SoS. Configuration Management is the activity of governing, directing and coordinating SoS by defining its functions and designing its structure. Performance Management refers to the activities of monitoring and measurement of performance in SoS based on analysing its active processes to maintain it at an appropriate level. Policy Management includes the activities that connect SoS to the outside environment through authorising processes and protecting it from illegal access. Resource Management is the function of allocation of SoS assets based on the use as well as utilisation of systems information in the SoS.

4 5


Figure 3

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The process of abstracting FCAPS to SoSE domain (see online version for colours)

Source: Gorod et al. (2007)

These SoSE management areas are definitive of the major functions that an SoS needs to have so that it can act as an independent dynamic system. In the next section, we connect these SoSE management areas to the characteristics of MTSoS to form our framework.


Maritime Transportation System of Systems

MTSs are critical and expensive engineered systems that enable economic activity through the transfer of goods and services between national and international destinations (Mansouri et al., 2008). In Homeland Security Presidential Directive-13, `Maritime Domain' is defined as

"all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances." Homeland Security Department, 2004)

The level of complexity involved in the dynamics of MTS can be recognised even through this description of maritime domain.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


It takes a long time to design, construct and operationalise maritime systems, and upon completion, they are exposed to variety of organisational and environmental risks that may disrupt their services and potentially result in large amounts of direct and indirect financial losses (Hultin et al., 2004). These threats range from natural to man-made disasters (Nilchiani and Mostashari, 2008). Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, as well as chemical and oil spills, maritime accidents, union actions and terrorist attacks are just some examples of these disruptive incidents. In addition to such external threats, there are other internal risks created as a result of organisational and systematic design that threaten MTS performance (Mansouri et al., 2008). Therefore, MTS needs to be designed and operated in such a manner that they can adopt appropriate strategies such as flexibility, resilience and agility in the face of disturbances. Structure of such a design is the product of a complex network of decisions that have to be made by a network of stakeholders. Territories of MTS-related responsibilities and performances are broad and many enterprises have to actively participate within the boundaries of an entire system to achieve its main goals. There are a lot of direct and indirect roles in MTS that are interrelated through a network of complicated rules, regulations and business processes. For instance, each year about 7500 foreign ships enter US ports staffed by more than 200,000 foreign sailors (Hultin et al., 2004) who interact with millions of other people who are themselves parts of the MTS enterprise in the US ports. Even if we consider the effects of this single factor on security management in American ports, it will be almost impossible to take all of the stemmed complexities into account. There have been a lot of efforts and investments dedicated to security-related issues; however, in reality we are far away from calling our ports secured. According to Hultin et al. (2004), public American ports are exposed to all kinds of risks and even though a much greater security is provided by entities such as Custom's Container Security Initiative (CSI) and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), only 2­3% of the cargo entering the USA is physically checked. Many autonomous organisations from civil society, governmental and private sectors are involved in conducting MTS business. These entities are stakeholders of MTS, and each has a different perspective. Yet, as they perform in a hierarchy within their organisation, they also interact with other entities on a network-centric level. Such a characteristic extends MTS to a "network of maritime operations" (National Strategy for Maritime Security, 2005) that can be described by the term `holarchy', which was introduced in Section 2.2 (Smuts, 1926; Koestler, 1967; Giret and Botti, 2004). We have adopted the holarchical view in explaining the behaviours of MTS and its constituent systems. From this perspective, MTS is a perfect example of an SoS in which the amount and interconnectivity of communication and interaction weaves complexity into the fibres of its core, and the combination of perspectives involved in its processes is a constraint for management and decision making. Organisational components that form the complex network of MTSoS can be categorised into a variety of groups. However, from a systems perspective, we can identify them through their roles in overall performance of MTSoS. In this research, we have chosen the classic categorisation of such systems' major agents available in the literature (National Strategy for Maritime Security, 2005; Maritime Administration, 2008; Slater, 1999), which defines them as:

210 1 2 3 4 5

M. Mansouri et al. ships ports intermodal connects waterways users.

As depicted in Figure 4, although these agents are a whole within their own boundaries and thus perform as an autonomous as well as independent system, they are also parts of a superior structure, which is in fact the MTSoS. We briefly describe these agents in this section by explaining those characteristics that have a systematic impact on the performance of MTS as a whole.

Figure 4 Holarchical view of MTSoS (see online version for colours)

Each one of MTSoS' five agents is an independent operational system and includes several interdependent subsystems that work in hierarchy. If we go deeper in defining the entire MTSoS, we can show how entities of each layer are connected horizontally with others in the same layer of maritime systems. These interconnections and interdependencies construct the complexity of the MTSoS' network in terms of communication as well as interoperability. Security entities exemplify interdependencies

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


of the entire SoS in lower layers. These agents include all the governmental as well as private agencies involved in the process of making ports safe and providing security for the maritime domain. The federal government takes the lead in protecting American ports; however, some of the security personnel are hired by private companies, mostly the trading entities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secures American ports primarily through the activities of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Coast Guard. CBP is responsible for cargo security, and screens cargo entering the country through American ports. The US Coast Guard is, however, responsible for maritime security as well as reviewing and approving security plans for vessels, port facilities and port areas that are required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. There are also other cargo security programmes including: the Container Security Initiative (inspection of US import cargo by CBP prior to leaving the outbound foreign port); use of radiation detection equipment to screen for weapons of mass destruction; use of other non-intrusive inspection devices; the C-TPAT, which encourages maritime stakeholders to verify their security measures. In general, while the governmental agencies take the lead on waterside and cargo security, the process is shared with several players of the system, namely port authorities, facility and vessel operators, also the state and local police (Market*Access International, 2007). Therefore, activities related to the security of MTSoS are shared among all five agents of the SoS. Consideration of a factor such as security in connection with all of these entities, and the process that is created as a result could be a topic of a future paper. In this research, however, we only consider MTSoS at a high level and will not define lower layers of this large network.

3.1 Ships

Ships and vessels are instruments for transferring goods and freights from the ports at the originating countries (cities) to the ports of destination. Maritime shipment is performed using bulk carriers, tankers and container ships. Bulk carriers transfer bulk cargo items such as ore or food staples such as rice and grain. Tankers are used to transport fluid such as crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, chemicals, as well as vegetable oils, wine and other kinds of food. Finally, container ships carry their entire load in truck-sized units using a technique called containerisation. These kinds of ships form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transportation. The size of units in container cargo movement is standard, which simplifies the intermodal transportation as it fits the trucks and train spaces. Therefore, containerisation allows efficient transport and distribution throughout the entire supply chain. Moreover, containerisation provides opportunities for better security management as the containers can be sealed and kept under surveillance and monitoring systems, which follow them from manufacturing firms to American ports. Thus, containerisation has enabled the integrated transportation system from production to consumption. As a result, a considerable amount of worldwide cargo transportation is done through containers.


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3.2 Ports

Ports are facilities for receiving ships and transferring maritime passengers and cargo from waterways to land, which makes them a major agent of MTSoS. All of the functions and operations necessary to run a port might be referred to as port services, which cover a vast area of activities that are in charge of port's infrastructure as well as loading/unloading ships and releasing them. Port infrastructures include wharfs, cargo-handling equipment, manoeuvre ships, as well as customs and administrative facilities. Consequently, any kind of services related to marine construction, the infrastructures' maintenance, dredging, operation of cranes, forklifts, harbour pilots, barges, tugboats, chandler's operations, ports maintenance, steamship operations, quality inspection, temporarily freight warehousing, terminal operations and customs-related and administrative activities are considered within the territory of port services (American Association of Port Authorities, 2008a). Longshoremen, stevedores, forklift and tugboats operators, and so forth do these services. We define ports' subsystems as marine construction, port maintenance, port operation and logistics.

3.3 Intermodal connects

Intermodal connectors are responsible for moving the unloaded cargo from the port facilities. Ships usually transport a huge amount of cargo, many times larger than the capacity of other transportation means such as train and trucks (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2008). Thus, to do this task, it is necessary to store the shipped cargo at the ports terminals for a short period of time. In general, the related activities of intermodal connects engage several groups including transportation operators, warehousing staff, and to some extent distribution employees. Intermodal connect is considered an active agent of MTSoS, as it has an important role in the flow of cargo out of port terminals and through the entire nation. Trucking and train transportation systems are the major subsystems of intermodal connects. However, a very small portion of this activity might be done through airway systems inside the country. In some cases, other kinds of vessels transport smaller portion of cargo through major rivers in the nation, which can be considered an extension to MTS, and therefore is also excluded from this group.

3.4 Waterways

Waterway refers to the body of water that is navigable by ships and other vessels. Oceans, seas, as well as lakes and some of the rivers and canals, which have certain characteristics, can be categorised under one of the major agents of MTSoS. Waterways must be: deep enough to allow draft depth of ships using it; wide enough to let passage of beam width using it; free of physical or current-related barriers. Canals are waterways constructed to provide a new path of travel for ships, and they have become an important part of MTS, as they may offer passage for huge ships from two bodies of water, divided with land from one another. The Panama, Suez and Erie canals are examples of this kind of waterway, which have significant roles in the flow of maritime cargo. Since there are a lot of ships using waterways around the globe as a means of transportation, there must be a navigation control system in operation. Such a system helps ships to sail within their designated paths and also provides them support by

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


monitoring their location. In this sense, waterways are very similar to roadways and airways. Waterways that belong to a certain country's body of waters are governed under that country's rules and regulations. There are also some maritime areas recognised as international waters. Waterways are the paths that go through these bodies of water and play the role of roads for MTS. Attributes such as traffic, security, legal availability, as well as international laws and regulations impact the functionality of waterways and can influence the entirety of maritime operations. Therefore, it is crucial to consider waterways as one of the major concerns of the MTSoS.

3.5 Users

The collection of all the people at both sides of the MTSoS can be considered its users. On the basis of the definition of the SoS' boundaries, this might include manufacturers, intermodal connect people, port services personnel, distributors and even wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Trading entities, which include the entire group of private, non-profit, or governmental organisations that are involved in import/export processes, are in fact the main users of MTSoS services. These entities are small and midsize companies or large corporations. They are major players of MTS as well as the nation's economy, regardless of size or the volume of their transactions. The impact of these entities on the economy is so essential that some call the USA a maritime country (Weinstein, 2007). In 2006, MTS brought in $2 trillion, which is equivalent to almost 14% of the country's GDP. Moreover, American ports handle a wide variety of goods that are critical to the global economy, including petroleum, grain, steel, automobiles and containerised goods (American Association of Port Authorities, 2008b). These entities create MTS' real transactions, which are the transportation of goods and services among national as well as international destinations. Some of the larger trading entities have their own systems of distribution, which is a part of their supply chain that starts from manufacturing firms in the originating countries to wholesalers and retailers in the USA. On the other hand, the majority of trading entities (import/export companies) in the country are small businesses (Zero Growth for US Container Imports, 2008), which rely on independent contractors for distribution services. This is why considering distributors independently makes sense in the system from a commercial or economic perspective. Many midsize and small import and export businesses work closely with distributor entities, which help them with disposition of their goods nationwide from/to the ports. In this sense, distributors are the natural end-users of trading entirety output. Distribution is an inseparable part of MTS, but it can be categorised in several ways. In some organisations, it is a part of procurement and logistics; in others, an extension of the manufacturing systems. Yet, as an important component of any supply chain, distributors are in a critical position to deal with two sides of the trading entities: manufacturers from one side and wholesalers/retailers from the other providing warehousing, logistics and other procurement services.

3.6 External factors

There are many known and unknown external factors that have crucial impacts on behaviour and operation of MTSoS. Since we do not intend to identify or describe these factors in this research, we consider their effects on the entire SoS through a black box


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perspective. To make a distinction between agents of MTSoS and external factors and to clarify the nature of such external influences, we categorise them into: law and policy factors, financial factors and natural environment factors for which we present a brief description. In addition to these external factors, there are myriad human factors that influence the cognitive capacity of stakeholders as well as the policy and decision-makers of MTSoS. The process of identification, classification and analysis of such factors can also be the topic of new research. However, since such human factors delineate the pattern of decision making of MTSoS and as a result have an essential impact on their entire behaviour, we include them in our management framework as another black box that will also be briefly described in the following sections.

3.6.1 Law and policy factors

Laws and policies factors influence MTSoS through their roles in shaping dynamics of maritime activities. These factors affect the system via enforcing regulations for operational processes as well as imposing restrictions to certain activities. In fact, DHS policies and regulations, international trading laws, environmental advocates and security entities are the major outputs of such factors on MTSoS. Law and policy factors are creators of organisational as well as functional forces that direct the high-level movements of MTSoS and set the pace of processes and activities of the entire system by providing quality assurance guidelines for the SoS' activities. Except for international trading laws and regulation as well as some of the security concerns, which are totally imposed externally, some aspects of the law and policy factors are charged and fed internally through the behaviours of other members of MTSoS. As a result, such forces are partially created and applied to MTSoS by its own dynamics. Environmental advocates, for example, bring environmental concerns into the domain of MTSoS. As the MTS activities continue to grow at ports all around the country and in proximity of urban infrastructures, the environmental advocates are increasingly concerned about issues such as congestion, water and air pollution, and other environmental impacts of these activities on quality of life. These agents force ports to develop cold iron capability, compel terminal operators to meet government mandates for no net increase in air emission levels, and require ocean carriers to comply with state regulations on vessel speed and fuel used on ships at distances where state jurisdiction is uncertain. Thus, they are considered balancing forces that try to limit the environmental impacts of maritime industry by enforcing regulations when MTS activities grow.

3.6.2 Financial factors

MTSoS is an enabler of financial transactions. From one perspective, shipment as the ultimate objective of MTS is in fact a representation of financial activities among trading entities, distributors, port services, and consequently the entire players of global economy. Financial entities are a very important part of MTSoS, as they initiate development as well as maintenance projects and direct the flow of activities throughout the system. Not only private-based operations, but also governmental and even non-governmental activities within the MTS are greatly dependent on the availability of funds, budgets and investment capacities. Therefore, financial resources empower MTSoS agents to play their essential role within the domain of the maritime SoS.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


Interestingly, most of these activities, except for those of environmental advocates and other non-governmental institutions, are self-sustained and fed by MTSoS created wealth. Thus, financial entities are the main and most basic creators of the maritime industry. It is almost impossible to model the details of financial relationships within MTS. However, we include these entities as an external black box that affects maritime systems. Many of the essential economic goods are transported through MTS all around the globe. Thus, forces caused by the global economic factors have a considerable impact on the behaviours of MTSoS. Demand for consumption is the force behind the transportation of products from overseas. In cases of a stagnant global economy or during recession periods in large consumption countries such as the USA, MTSoS faces financial challenges as trading entities, distributors, wholesalers and retailers decrease the volume of their orders. Such circumstances might force transporting companies, especially the owners of ships, to limits of their profit margins and even past their breakeven point. In other words, the dynamics of the global economy has a cascading effect on the entire MTSoS' territory, and consequently all its agents will be affected. Global economic factors undoubtedly affect the maritime systems. Interdependencies of global events and the network of interrelated matters make it very complex to model the effects of global economic factors. However, it is possible to include such factors within the dynamics of MTSoS using a black box perspective.

3.6.3 Natural environment factors

Maritime activities also fall under the influence of natural environment factors. Such factors may affect MTSoS through: hydrologic hazards, atmospheric hazards, or geological and seismic hazards, and they impose considerable costs in the form of maintenance, reconstruction and preparedness on the systems every year. Floods and coastal erosions are examples of the hydrologic hazards, whereas tsunamis and earthquakes are categorised as geological and seismic threats. Also, atmospheric hazards in the form of hurricanes and cyclones happen regularly in the maritime domain. Natural environment factors usually affect the maritime systems as externally disruptive events and their impacts are intense to the extent that one could not model MTSoS without considering them. Since the effects of environment are out of control, such factors have been viewed as outputs of an external black box.

3.6.4 Human factors

Humans are at the centre of the decision-making processes. In the case of maritime systems, a collection of all decision-makers and stakeholders construct the cognitive body of MTSoS. Such a cognitive state, which is a function of many other external restrictions, encompasses the entire human factor inputs to MTSoS. There are myriad external factors that affect the MTS decision-makers. In this research, we name time, budget, tools and knowledge constraints to present some examples of these factors. People have to make decisions in limited periods of time and only by taking their limited available financial, technical, and informational resources into account. The restrictive nature of these factors brings about new complexities to the context of MTSoS that makes it even more dynamic and less controllable. Therefore, it is necessary to model the imperfection of the MTSoS cognitive state as a function of external restrictions as well as the subjectivity of human beings that makes them behave in certain patterns.


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3.7 Characteristics of Maritime Transportation System of Systems

In this section, we will represent the MTSs by explaining their distinguishing characteristics and discuss the opposing forces within each. The paradoxes presented by these opposing forces create a `System of Subsystems' at the one end and a `System of Systems' at the other end of spectrum for distinguishing characteristics of MTSoS as depicted earlier in Figures 2 and 3. Using this model of analysis, we can explain the overall status of MTSoS by identification of its position on distinguishing characteristics. Our hypothesis is that where the opposing forces meet may position MTS on the relative spectrum of SoS and thus, help us in governing MTSoS. These meeting points are dynamically shifting over time, as MTSoS forces evolve. This generates the dynamic nature of MTSoS, which will be analysed in our future researches on this topic.

3.7.1 Autonomy

MTSs are handling over 95% of the country's overseas cargo through American ports. MTSoS is responsible for transportation of more than 2 billion tons of freight and 3 billion tons of oil, each year in the USA. Moreover, the volume of trade moving through the nation's 102 seaports has nearly doubled since 1995, and by 2020, this figure is expected to be double again reaching to about 4 billion tons per year (American Association of Port Authorities, 2008a). This enormous volume of activities can only be done by the collaboration of hundreds of autonomous organisations and companies, which are active within the territories of two opposing forces: · Conformance The creation of DHS on 1 March 2003 indicates the existence of conformity within the boundaries of maritime systems. As the fifth department in the federal government formed by merging of 22 agencies and their 180,000 employees, DHS has the responsibility of protecting the country from terrorist attacks as well as responding to natural disasters (Hultin et al., 2004). This mission has been followed in part by the development of different standards for almost all the processes by which the agents of MTSoS are abided. In addition to DHS and its related organisations, there are many other standards that have been developed to address a variety of different MTS-related matters from building ships, to policies and trading rules. · Independence Constituents of each operational system of MTSoS are independent entities that make their own decisions. Nearly every business operating around ports is considered MTSoS' stakeholders. Global shipping firms and container companies, for example, which have major facilities within the ports, are indeed direct stakeholders of these systems that are run independently (Hultin et al., 2004). This is also true of many other independent and private businesses working as a part of intermodal transportations or port services industries.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


3.7.2 Belonging

The main objective of MTSoS is to transfer cargo (people and military assets) efficiently and effectively in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner. The accomplishment of such a goal together with economic incentives brings MTSoS into existence. The five agents (ships, ports, intermodal connects, waterways and users) and all their hierarchical subsystems and organisations belong to MTSoS through their transactional relationship or operational interdependency. The opposing forces for belonging are: · Centralisation Several agencies of DHS including US Customs Service, US Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and National Infrastructure Protection along with other agencies such as port authorities set controlling standards and define procedures, rules, and regulations for conducting port services (Department of Homeland Security, 2008) and regulate MTS activities through their restrictive processes and orders. Moreover, port authorities such as governmental or quasi-governmental public authorities are established to create and support economic development within the ports areas (American Association of Port Authorities, 2008a). Such entities act as centralised bodies to set the overall operation policies that govern the entire MTSoS. · Decentralisation According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in 2001, 38% of the total trade within the USA was transported by MTS, which includes 46% of total annual import. In the same year, the value of the trade arriving by ship was over $6 trillion that was loaded by over 500,000 non-vessel operators and 40,000 freight forwarders around the globe (Federal Highway Administration, 2008). Since these activities are mostly done by private businesses, this kind of information indicates a decentralised functionality of MTSoS both internationally and all around the nation.

3.7.3 Connectivity

Ports, as the major nodes of the MTS network, are connected through national and international waterways and ships and their means of transportation can be considered as the maritime links of MTSoS. On the land, the MTS network becomes complete through intermodal connects, which link ports to the users all around the nation, and includes businesses as well as consumers. From this perspective, MTSoS is a complex network of entities that pursues the goal of safe and efficient transportation through waterways, rails and roads, from manufacturers to consumers. However, while there is a strong net-centricity in the structure of MTS, agents pursue their own financial benefits and economic objectives. Therefore, the opposing forces for connectivity are: · Platform-centric MTS allows different modes of transportation to transfer cargo and passengers. The area of MTSoS activities is so broad that it handles 99% of all overseas trade (Committee on the Maritime Transportation System, 2008). In such an enormous business, making money becomes the lead for self-organisation, competition and the


M. Mansouri et al. progress of many autonomous private companies. According to the Transportation Sector-Specific Plan, not even a single governmental entity is exclusively responsible for providing the resources required to overview MTS activities from the perspective of ensuring security (The National Infrastructure Protection Plan, 2007). These facts show how MTSoS agents and their subsystems perform independently and in a platform-centric manner.


Network-centric To achieve its objectives in a safe and efficient manner, MTSoS needs DHS' network-centric governance. Since the USA must be able to protect her critical infrastructure of which MTS is a priority, `security' has become the keyword of such a network-centric approach. As recommended by the National Strategy for Maritime Security, "a stakeholder participation in security of MTS is essential", and DHS is responsible for leading as well as overseeing the recommended strategies because "extensive outreach was conducted to over 2700 individuals representing over four million private-sector organisations and state and local governments" (National Strategy for Maritime Security, 2005).

3.7.4 Diversity

The maritime domain in the USA includes 25,000 navigable waterways, more than 3700 terminals, more than 1400 intermodal connections, more than 95,000 miles of coastline, 360 ports, 3.4 million square miles of Exclusive Economic Zones, as well as thousands of other facilities (The National Infrastructure Protection Plan, 2007). Moreover, from an economic perspective, a large variety of customers including transportation companies as well as trading entities are closely involved in the activities of MTS. These factors bring diversity into the context of maritime systems through diversification of manufacturers on the one end, and distributors, shipping services, wholesalers and other sales businesses on the other end. · Homogeneity There are several aspects of homogeneity within the context of MTSoS. Only certain ports can accommodate ships of a certain size. For example, only a handful of ports can accommodate Maersk Emma, which is the largest ship in the world. However, ship manufacturers are still working on new ships twice as big as Maersk Emma (Johnson, 2008). The same fact is true about waterways and ports. Namely, some canals and ports cannot offer their services to certain sizes of ships. This is why there are standards developed for depth, width, size of ports, platforms, channels, as well as for the power and capacity of loading and unloading equipment. Containerisation is another aspect of homogeneity within MTS that has been institutionalised in the industry during the last 50 years in pursuit of higher efficiency to deliver port services, intermodal transportation and transportation costs. As Raine states,

"in 1959, according to Matson research, the industry was loading and unloading 0.627 tons per man hour. By 1976, with container shipping well established, the figure was 4234 tons per man hour. A ship's time in port shrank from three weeks to 18 h." (RAINE, 2006)

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework This only presents an example of the level of efficiency that containerisation has brought to MTSoS through homogeneity. · Heterogeneity


On the other hand, MTSoS is quite heterogeneous. There are different ships, loading and unloading tools, repair and maintenance equipment, portal facilities, etc., within the boundaries of maritime systems. Each one of the companies involved with the MTS processes has their own methodologies and engineering tools. Moreover, highly diversified waterways, over 350 different ports, intermodal connections, MTS users, and ship and vessel manufacturers contribute to the overall heterogeneity of MTSoS (Maritime Administration, 2008; Slater, 1999).

3.7.5 Emergence

Emergence is another very important characteristic of MTSoS that allows for the achievement of goals while staying competitive, safe and resilient in coping with the complex and dynamic maritime environment. There are some properties of emergence that can be identified, expected and foreseen, whereas others cannot be identified or determined. · Foreseen The users of MTSoS expect it to be secure, safe, environmentally sustainable as well as resilient. It is also expected that all maritime activities be done in a timely and cost-effective manner. According to a report by the National Strategy for Maritime Security, DHS is responsible for supervision of the development and execution of several key strategies including: risk management, stakeholder responsibility and coordination, security information management, technology, training, etc. (National Strategy for Maritime Security, 2005). Translation of such DHS responsibilities into practical procedures requires a good understanding of the components of maritime systems and a vast knowledge of MTS operations. The existence of such know-how shows the determinable side of emergent properties of MTSoS. · Indeterminable However, when we deal with the dynamic and complex system of MTSoS, the majority of emergence properties are indeterminable. As presented by the Maritime Administration and the US Marine Transportation Systems,

"this evolution has transformed the way we think about the business of moving freight and people. It has completely altered the transportation landscape and the role of transportation in our lives. Marine transportation is now a system of systems ­ an integrated network, not just within the US, but around the world ..." (The Maritime Administration and the US Marine Transportation System, 2007)

Natural disasters, for example Hurricane Katrina as well as union actions and strikes, are presentations of indeterminable properties of emergence in MTSoS. According to the MTS Report to Congress,


M. Mansouri et al.

"different organisations may be responsible for different geographic areas, users, or parts of the MTS. they may have different priorities, requirements, and procedures. Coordinating the MTS, along with the role of the MTS in the total transportation system, is complex and not always clear." (Slater, 1999)

The complexity mentioned in this report can be the source of endless indeterminable emergent properties in MTS.

3.8 Conceptual areas of MTSoS management

To complete the process of SoSE approach and propose a structured management framework, we have adopted the modified FCAPS principles proposed by Gorod et al. (2007) and applied them to the MTS domain. These modified principles will be discussed in this section and include RCPPR.

3.8.1 Risk management

Risk management includes the identification of threats associated with the operations of MTSoS and the development of prevention, contingency and emergency plans that enable the systems to maintain its functionality. The objective is to prevent disruptive incidents proactively, rather than dealing with them in a reactionary manner.

3.8.2 Configuration management

Configuration management provides guidelines for effective and consistent governance over maritime systems by defining allowances for constituent systems to be a part of MTSoS. It also sets a platform for effective communication among the systems of MTSoS and facilitates their cooperation by creating standards and protocols that integrates them into an SoS.

3.8.3 Performance management

Performance management offers a holistic monitoring procedure through which stakeholders of MTSoS are able to maintain the systems' performance to a certain level for sustaining the system's effective operation. This ensures the effective contribution among MTSoS' systems, provides necessary conditions for interoperability among them, sustains the required level of diversity, and provides the situation for the necessary level of emergence in maritime environment.

3.8.4 Policy management

Policy management facilitates the establishment of holistic governance for leading MTSoS by offering effective policies and providing decision-makers with the necessary tools. This will be done through setting directions that position MTSoS' stance in relation with their environment and within the boundaries of law. The main output of policy management is intra-organisational regulations that delineate the extent of extinguishing characteristics of maritime agents to sustain and lead MTSoS.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


3.8.5 Resource management

Resource management enables the decision-makers to allocate assets, know-how, equipment, knowledge, information, and all other maritime resources to the constituent systems of MTSoS. This will be done through tracking systems' information on distinguishing characteristics of the constituent systems. The main output of resource management is an effective knowledge system that feeds the decision-makers with the appropriate information for resources allocation.

3.9 SoSE Management Matrix of MTSoS

We use the distinguishing characteristics of MTSoS alongside the presented SoSE conceptual areas (RCPPR) to create a matrix that provides guidance for an effective management. This mapping is done based on the System of Systems Engineering Management Matrix (SoSEMM) presented by Gorod et al. (2007). The matrix is a powerful tool that provides guidance for governance over MTSoS. It summarises the relationship between the distinguishing characteristics and conceptual area of maritime systems management processes in the form of a table. The developed matrix is depicted in Table 1.

Table 1 System of Systems Engineering Management Matrix for MTSoS

Configuration management Provides guidelines to govern autonomous behaviour of MTS' systems Performance management Monitors and sustains systems performance in order to meet MTS' goal Monitors and sustains systems contributions to MTS Policy management Resource management

SoSEMM for Risk MTSoS management Autonomy Permits preservation of autonomous capabilities of MTS' systems

Helps to establish Tracks the extent of information on autonomy for MTS autonomous resources of MTS


Permits effective Provides cooperation among guidelines for effective MTS' systems cooperation among MTS' systems Provides consistency in integration of MTS' Systems

Helps to define the Tracks boundary of information belonging to MTS showing the level of systems' belonging to MTS Helps to protect against unauthorised access to MTS Helps to provide the desired level of diversity for MTS Tracks and provides information on connected resources of MTS Tracks and provides information on diversity of MTS

Connectivity Permits effective integration of MTS' systems

Monitors and sustains the level of interoperability of MTS' systems


Permits evaluation of diverse activities of MTS' systems

Provides Monitor and governance for the sustains the level diversity of MTS' of diversity among MTS' systems so systems that SoS performs effectively


Permits recognition of new behaviours of MTS

Provides Monitors trie Helps to influence Tracks emergent constraints to extent of emergent capabilities shape emergent emergence of MTS behaviour of MTS of MTS behaviour of MTS to achieve its goals


M. Mansouri et al.


The MTSoS management framework

Having a clear understanding of the characteristics of the MTSoS and network-based interrelationships and connections of its systems, combined with accurate knowledge of capacity or limitations of human resources responsible for its leadership enable the development of a holistic management framework for MTSoS. We propose our management framework based on a description of MTSoS agents' characteristics and their opposing forces in relation with conceptual areas of its management. We suggest that the results of such holistic investigation can be applied as an SoSE tool for governing and optimising the entire complex network of maritime systems. The MTSoS management framework is presented in Figure 5.

Figure 5 MTSoS management framework (see online version for colours)

The management framework has a holistic approach to maritime environment and the relationship among its constituent systems. The emphasis of the framework is on the importance of the feedback loops that connect the actual state of MTSoS with its cognitive status at any given time. This connection is possible through the installation of certain sensors that gather information from a system's processes through a variety of predefined metrics. In our framework, we suggest the design and installation of sensors that describe the actual state of MTSoS through the measurement of its agents' distinguishing characteristics. In fact, we suggest gathering information on levels of autonomy, belonging, connectivity, diversity and emergence for each agent namely ships, ports, waterways, intermodal connects and users.

Maritime Transportation System of Systems management framework


The information gathered about each agent's status within the spectrum of distinguishing characteristics' opposing forces will be constantly saved in the system's knowledge-base and will shape the structure of MTSoS's cognitive state. The decision-making parties among the system's stakeholders will use this body of knowledge for analysis and apply the conceptual areas of management to influence the MTSoS' performance. In fact, the RCPPR processes will be used as controlling tools for the effective governance of maritime environment based on the information acquired from the actual state of system. Such a controlling tool will provide the decision-makers with an effective way of influencing MTSoS distinguishing characteristics and lead them towards the desired positions. This loop becomes complete when the actual state of MTSoS is tracked and recorded again through the description of the information system. Since the results gathered by the information system are constantly saved and analysed by decision-makers, they become a part of cognitive capacity of MTSoS. Therefore, the collection of all tools, techniques, processes, procedures, software, strategies, policies and management approaches construct the cognitive status of the system. It is also important to consider the effects of MTSoS' environmental influences as well as human factors. Such external factors constrain the implementation of the proposed management framework by imposing undesired forces or producing judgemental biases. This is why the external factors that have been briefly explained in Section 3.6 should be considered as a risk to the framework's effectiveness.



The review of literature on maritime systems management illustrates the necessity for creating an SoSE management framework. Analysing SoS' concept reveals that many identified it as a network and suggested extracting a network management approach to the SoSE domain. In pursuit of creating an effective SoSE management framework for MTSoS, we proposed the utilisation of RCPPR (modified from FCAPS principles) as management conceptual areas to influence the distinguishing characteristics of MTSoS to govern management processes within the maritime network. Moreover, the presented SoSEMM is suggested as a guideline for governance within MTSoS. The significance of this paper lies in its ability to consider MTS as an SoS and to offer a framework for management of MTSoS from an SoSE perspective. The proposed management framework is the first crucial step towards defining and development of a structured and effective SoSE management standard in the realm of MTSoS. The insights of our approach to the problem of MTS will open the field for future research and may lead to the development of an MTSoS Management `Toolset' for international maritime commerce applications.


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