Information Technology Challenges of 21st Century Engineering

Dr. Robert T. Neches
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering


We must do no less than to transform the engineering of complex systems to make them affordable, effective, and adaptable. Doing so will enable engineers and program decision-makers to collaboratively focus on building the right things to provide utility in a wide range of joint operations, and across many potential alternative futures. Increased computational power and availability allow us to exploit data and apply services in much more flexible ways. This creates an opportunity to consider capabilities and mission utility more deeply, rather than getting locked into requirements and key performance parameters. That is a critical enabler to engineering for adaptability and maximizing value of the system to the warfighter. We believe it is time to demonstrate a new engineering ecosystem which combines automated tools and stakeholder participation to generate more counters to potential surprise. Among the key contributing technology concepts are: Co-evolution of systems and missions via information sharing and decision aids, Option-preserving tradespace exploration Analyzed/evaluated wrt lifecycle issues, Informing requirements refinement, Accelerated design and testing via rapidly composable modeling & analysis tools and risk-sensitive engineering planning aids