Author Brian J. Morra

Mitchell Institute Policy Paper

May 21, 2024

Digital Engineering: Accelerating the Defense Acquisition & Development Cycle in an Era of Strategic Competition

by Heather R. Penney
Senior Resident Fellow, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

with Brian Morra
Non-Resident Visiting Fellow, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Today’s Department of the Air Force (DAF) is in crisis and faces severe capability and capacity shortfalls across nearly every mission area. Despite the need to rapidly recapitalize and modernize the force, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) legacy approaches to acquisition, development, and sustainment have proven too costly and inefficient to meet warfighter needs. They are also too slow to keep pace with the aggressive and ongoing modernization efforts of global adversaries like China. Moreover, perpetual efforts to reform U.S. acquisition policy have fallen short of the need to accelerate new capability development and fielding. Digital engineering has the potential to help develop and field new capabilities faster and at lower costs, independent of acquisition reform.

Read full paper (pdf)

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