Digital Engineering Fundamentals: A Common Basis for Digital Engineering Discussions

By Kenneth J. Laskey, Ph.D. , Martha L. Farinacci , Omar C. Diaz, D.C.S.

This paper provides a consistent presentation of concepts surrounding Digital Engineering, emphasizing modeling and the idea of an Authoritative Source of Truth. This provides a common basis to ensure models and data are formally managed and trusted throughout a systems development and acquisition lifecycle.

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Digital Engineering (DE) is an integrated digital approach using authoritative sources of system data and models as a continuum through the development and life of a system. DE updates traditional systems engineering practices to take advantage of computation technology, modeling, analytics, and data sciences. DE is the way DoD and other organizations, both government and commercial, approach and implement systems development, fundamentally changing engineering, acquisition, and sustainment.

The purpose of this document is to provide a common basis for understanding DE, how it impacts current practices, and the benefits of doing so, as well as to pass on best practices and lessons learned.