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The Future is Here, and It's Interoperable

What is MOSA?

Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) is a business and technical strategy for developing new systems or modernizing existing ones. Adopting MOSA provides the ability to support and evolve capabilities over a system's life-cycle, and enables program teams to build, upgrade, and support systems more quickly and efficiently.

MOSA can be implemented by focusing on modular system design with well-defined interfaces. This approach is essential for change and evolution and emphasizes the importance of using industry-supported standards for component interfaces.

Is MOSA the new norm?

The short answer is yes. In 2017, congress passed the National Defense Acquisition Act (NDAA), requiring all Major Defense Acquisition Programs to adopt MOSA for the development, prototyping, and deployment of major weapon systems components or technology. The NDAA FY2021 builds on past directives, mandating program officers to identify, define, and document every model, and deliver modular system interfaces and associated documentation.

It’s hard to argue against making a Modular Open System Approach a priority. Whether retrofitting an electronic warfare system or developing a new capability in a fielded aircraft, the interoperability it enables is critical to the success of any mission.

What are the benefits of a Modular Open Systems Approach?

When implemented properly, MOSA can be an enabler of significant benefits to programs and companies in the DoD ecosystem.


Modern defense systems rely on data sharing and need to be adaptable in the face of complex threats. Adopting a modular open systems approach enables systems and components to be interoperable by design, so new capabilities can be delivered quickly – even when they use different languages and standards.

More Choices

Adopting an open systems architecture with a modular approach allows companies to shop around for components, allowing for increased market competition and access to diverse technology. With MOSA, programs and companies can integrate new capabilities and share data between systems - without divulging proprietary information.

Cost Efficiency

MOSA supports system design and acquisition strategies that lead to the development of affordable, adaptable systems. Software interfaces enable simpler reuse of components in new programs and companies with less time and effort, resulting in reduced costs.


When MOSA is adopted across the defense industry, companies will be able to modernize their systems while having the flexibility to configure and reconfigure available assets to meet operational and technological requirements, freeing engineering time and energy to develop new capabilities.

Navigating MOSA with Tangram Flex

Transitioning to MOSA is a daunting task — especially for legacy systems and components built with proprietary designs. The good news is that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Our Component Software Integration Platform, Tangram Pro™, simplifies the process of integrating mission-critical defense systems, and it's easy to use.


Our CSIP, Tangram Pro™, provides tools for automatically generating secure software interfaces for integration at the component and system level — while giving teams a simpler way to work together throughout the engineering lifecycle with its digital engineering workspace and component interface library.


Each military branch has unique architectures and standards, making MOSA more important than ever. Tangram Pro™ interfaces can convert data between standards with high accuracy and security, enabling interoperability in new and legacy systems.


Tangram Flex technology offers component-based engineering technologies with roots in DARPA's HACMS program, enabling customers to embrace MOSA and build confidence in component and system performance with cyber-hardened software interfaces and built-in validation & verification.

Get ready for the MOSA Mandate with Tangram Flex
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By approaching wargaming using a component software integration platform (CSIP), we will be able to rapidly integrate new capabilities, improve communication, reduce errors in data transfer, and support modular open system architecture (MOSA) operations. While there is more work to be done to support wargaming at the speed of relevance, this is a huge first step in allowing cloud-based technologies to change the game of distributed resource planning and execution.
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