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

Arlington, VA | May 22, 2024 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Digital Engineering: Accelerating the Defense Acquisition & Development Cycle in an Era of Strategic Competition by Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow, with Brian Morra, Non-Resident Visiting Fellow.

Today’s Department of the Air Force 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 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.

In this Policy Paper, Heather Penney and Brian Morra describe the way in which DOD leaders and innovators can better integrate and use digital engineering in their workflows and processes in order to accelerate the development and delivery of capabilities that can restore America’s military dominance.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series presenting new thinking and policy proposals to respond to the emerging security and aerospace power challenges of the 21st century. These papers are written for lawmakers and their staffs, policy professionals, business and industry, academics, journalists, and the informed public.

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