Mission Engineering (ME): Ensuring Key Technologies Drive the Joint Warfighting Concept

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Source:  U.S. Army, https://api.army.mil/e2/c/images/2019/03/18/546192/original.jpg
Source: U.S. Army, https://api.army.mil/e2/c/images/2019/03/18/546192/original.jpg

November 23, 2020 | Originally published by U.S. Department of Defense on October 22, 2020

To achieve its National Defense Strategy goals, defense officials have said the Defense Department must increase the pace by which critical technologies are integrated into the force. The Deputy Director for Engineering in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) is working with stakeholders from the Joint Staff and military services to implement mission engineering methodologies to facilitate technology integration aligned with future joint force needs.

According to defense officials with the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Advanced Capabilities) and the Joint Staff’s joint force integration cell, where systems engineering helps “build things right,” ME ensures the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is “building the right things.”

ME, as defined in the forthcoming DoD Mission Engineering Guide being released by R&E, is “the deliberate planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating of current and emerging operational and system capabilities to achieve desired warfighting mission effects.” The officials said ME analyzes systems and systems of systems in an operational mission context to evaluate capability solutions, advise on the development of requirements, and inform technology investment decisions.

Officials added that R&E is currently involved in various activities aligned to the National Defense Strategy modernization areas and in support of the Joint Staff. R&E’s ME framework focuses on desired activities and effects rather than the current pipeline of programs and systems, using mission capability as the measuring stick to make it easier to decide on technology investments. It provides a systematic method to analyze, communicate, and compare joint warfighting concepts. It starts by defining and inputting the activities, assumptions, dependencies, threats, and gaps within a concept’s “mission area” future scenario. Then, using metrics and other indicators, it examines mission threads and effects chains to quantify improvement and expose gaps between current and future technologies through tradeoff analysis.