Digital Engineering: Recommendations for the U.S. Department of Defense
Digital Engineering (DE) has received considerable attention in both industry and government as a tool to reduce acquisition timelines and costs, allow for more rapid systems upgrades, and streamline maintenance and upgrades. Specific to Department of Defense (DoD) system development, DE may be defined as the integration of data provided across industry and government engineering disciplines through the use of commercially and DoD-developed tools to support lifecycle activities from concept development through disposal. The following will offer an overview of the evolution of digital engineering (DE) in systems design, development, and testing from an engineer’s viewpoint, and will also offer observations on how the DoD might best take advantage of DE to accelerate force modernization developments and transitions. Going beyond DE as a marketing tool, this paper outlines specific areas of practice unique to DoD where DE can support better outcomes. The DE challenge for DoD is attaining knowledge-based integration of data sufficient to answer lifecycle questions, including:
- How do the currently fielded systems or those under development support near-term missions?
- What is the performance and cost impact of replacing a subsystem in a legacy system?
- How do design decisions today impact system sustainment and operations availability?