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This article presents an educational approach to applied capstone research projects using a mission engineering focus. It reviews recent advances in mission engineering within the Department of Defense and integrates that work into an approach for research within the Systems Engineering Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. A generalized sequence of System Definition, System Modeling, and System Analysis is presented as an executable sequence of activities to support analysis of operational missions within a student research project at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). That approach is detailed and demonstrated through analysis of the integration of a long-range strike capability on a MH-60S helicopter. The article serves as a demonstration of an approach for producing operationally applicable results from student projects in the context of mission engineering. Specifically, it demonstrates that students can execute a systems engineering project that conducts system-level design with direct consideration of mission impacts at the system of systems level. Discussion of the benefits and limitations of this approach are discussed and suggestions for integrating mission engineering into capstone courses are provided.
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The Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of
Systems Engineering Approach to Mission
Engineering Education through Capstone Projects
Douglas L. Van Bossuyt * , Paul Beery, Bryan M. O’Halloran, Alejandro Hernandez
and Eugene Paulo
Department of Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943, USA
*Correspondence:; Tel.: +1-831-656-7572
Received: 1 July 2019; Accepted: 1 August 2019; Published: 4 August 2019
This article presents an educational approach to applied capstone research projects using a
mission engineering focus. It reviews recent advances in mission engineering within the Department
of Defense and integrates that work into an approach for research within the Systems Engineering
Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. A generalized sequence of System Definition,
System Modeling, and System Analysis is presented as an executable sequence of activities to
support analysis of operational missions within a student research project at Naval Postgraduate
School (NPS). That approach is detailed and demonstrated through analysis of the integration of
a long-range strike capability on a MH-60S helicopter. The article serves as a demonstration of
an approach for producing operationally applicable results from student projects in the context of
mission engineering. Specifically, it demonstrates that students can execute a systems engineering
project that conducts system-level design with direct consideration of mission impacts at the system
of systems level. Discussion of the benefits and limitations of this approach are discussed and
suggestions for integrating mission engineering into capstone courses are provided.
Keywords: mission engineering; systems engineering; engineering education; capstone project
1. Introduction
The Department of Systems Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey,
California has been educating graduate students on the topic of mission engineering through hands-on
multi-term capstone projects for the last several years. While mission engineering is relatively
new as a topic, the underlying techniques and methods are familiar to many systems engineers.
This article defines mission engineering as an approach for simultaneously considering operations,
acquisition, and integration and demonstrates the process by which the mission engineering approach
is implemented and taught as part of the NPS Systems Engineering (SE) curriculum.
Educating students on mission engineering is of importance to the Department of Defense (DoD)
and other large organizations to prepare the workforce for tackling large, complex missions that
require multiple systems and assets working in concert. The demonstration of the student mission
engineering capstone project presented in this paper shows how a platform such as the MH-60S
helicopter is a multi-mission platform that is used to perform many different missions throughout
the fleet. Understanding how altering the load-out of a MH-60S helicopter to achieve one mission
objective can erode the ability of the MH-60S helicopter from meeting the objectives of other missions
is an important and powerful learning opportunity for students.
Systems 2019,7, 38; doi:10.3390/systems7030038
Systems 2019,7, 38 2 of 13
Specific Contributions
This article contributes a description of the position that the Department of Systems Engineering
at NPS has taken in educating graduate students on mission engineering through a capstone project.
In particular, we state that mission engineering education should focus on simultaneous operational
and system-level development to support warfighting mission effects, and system integration and
system acquisition. Lessons learned and guidance is provided for other educators to rapidly adopt
mission engineering into the curriculum.
2. Background and Related Research
The following section presents background and related research that defines mission engineering
in the context of systems engineering and discusses several relevant related educational approaches.
2.1. Mission Engineering in the Context of Systems Engineering
There are multiple candidate definitions of mission engineering [
]. The National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) has defined mission engineering in multiple forms [
], Wertz [
presents a succinct summary, stating “mission engineering is the definition of mission parameters and
refinement of mission parameters and requirements so as to meet the broad, often poorly defined,
objective of a space mission in a timely manner at minimum time and risk”. That definition has been
refined in recent years, first by Sousa-Poza [
] as an approach to coordinated the perspective of the
mission owner, the operator, and the engineer and again by Dahmann and Gold [
] as “deliberate
planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating of current and emerging operational and system
capabilities to achieve desired warfighting mission effects.” Similarly, ISO/IEC/IEEE 21839 [
] has
emphasized the importance of consideration of the mission and deployed context in the development
lifecycle. Specifically, increased focus is now given to not only the design of the system of interest,
but also to the role of those individual systems in enabling the mission effects of an associated system
of systems (SoS). In order to fully realize the benefits of mission engineering we propose an approach
tailored for the use of modeling efforts throughout a traditionally implemented systems engineering
process to support system development focused on mission execution. Specifically, per the mission
engineering process presented by Hernandez, Karimova, and Nelson [
] and the Model-Based Systems
Engineering (MBSE) process presented by MacCalman, Beery, and Paulo [
] mission engineering
should be specifically focused on simultaneous operational and system-level development to support
not only warfighting mission effects, but also system integration and system acquisition. Figure 1
present a high-level description of the mission engineering strategy as presented in Hernandez,
Karimova, and Nelson [3].
2.2. The Naval Postgraduate School’s Systems Engineering Program
The NPS Department of Systems Engineering offers three resident master’s programs as well as
two distance-learning master’s programs. These programs are open to both active duty U.S. Navy
officers as well as officers from other services and DoD civilians. The programs focus not only on
development of technical skills and expertise, but also focus on development of leadership and
program management skills through operational use of those skills. In support of that goal, students
are expected to produce an individual thesis or participate in an applied capstone research project that
demonstrates the use of coursework concepts in an operational relevant subject.
Unlike many civilian institutions, the vast majority of NPS’s systems engineering students are
mid-career professionals with deep DoD experience. NPS has no undergraduate programs and thus
the Systems Engineering Department focuses exclusively on graduate education. While a small
PhD program exists with roughly 20 students enrolled, the primary focus of the program is on
master’s students.
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Figure 1. Mission Engineering Process (from Hernandez, Karimova, and Nelson [3]).
2.3. Engineering Education
Several approaches are in use at NPS and other educational institutions to teach systems
engineering. Texts such as Systems Engineering and Analysis [
], System Architecture: Strategy and
Product Development for Complex Systems [
], The Art of Systems Architecting [
] serve as the
foundation of many courses in systems engineering departments. In the related field of mechanical
product design, The Mechanical Design Process [
] is used extensively. In the case of each
textbook, the process of developing a system generally progresses as follows: identifying stakeholders,
defining requirements, architecting the system, designing the system, prototyping, and testing the
system prototypes, refining the system, manufacturing the system, fielding the system, and maintaining
the system.
In the NPS systems engineering curriculum, some courses are homework-intensive and test-based
while others are more focused on a term-long project or on lab sessions. All students complete a two
or three term capstone project as part of a student team and under the guidance of multiple professors
and instructors. The projects are often DoD-sponsored and generally have sponsors who are actively
involved to shape the projects and participate in the in-progress reviews (IPRs). Before progressing
from one stage of a capstone project to the next, capstone teams must successfully complete specific
milestones and deliverables. This is similar to how some humanitarian engineering capstone and
project courses at other universities are run [
]. However, one significant difference is that students
are required to complete the entire project to receive a passing course grade. Dean and Van Bossuyt [
advocated that a phase gate and sprint approach be used but with the ability for students to never
move past a phase gate during the class if they are not yet ready to move forward. In the case of
NPS capstone projects, this is not practical and would prevent students from having the full capstone
experience. On rare occasions, a capstone project may be extended an additional term if a significant
issue occurs although such instances are exceedingly rare.
Based on the NPS System Engineering Department’s current trajectory, it is anticipated that
more courses will shift toward project-based curricula and portfolio-building activities will increase.
Hands-on experiences with lab experiments, working with real systems that students may be
Systems 2019,7, 38 4 of 13
familiar with from their prior work experience, and other improvements to the curricula are planned.
Already, several courses such as the systems architecture course have shifted to have expanded
hands-on components.
3. Overview of Capstone Course
The capstone teams at NPS are comprised of between 4–8 students, each of which completes a
research project. Some students also complete a master’s thesis although not all programs require
this. The projects cover a range of topics, from system component integration analysis to early stage
operational concept development. The projects are associated with research sponsors who provide
direction and guidance regarding the specific subject matter and are advised by a team of NPS SE
faculty members, who guide the project execution. Traditionally, the projects either span the full
spectrum of a systems engineering process similar to the Vee model as defined by Systems Engineering
and Analysis [
] or conduct an in-depth analysis of system development in a segment of that process.
Critically, to ensure relevancy and feasibility in a nine-month time frame the projects are focused
on production or analysis of a specific system or system component. The projects generally span
nine months and teams deliver three progress reviews to the faculty and sponsors. The projects that
specifically implement a mission engineering approach expand the focus from analysis of a specific
system or component to explicitly consider the impact that the design of that system may have on the
mission effectiveness of the broader SoS in which the system will be deployed. (It should however
be noted that focus in the capstone projects often remains on an individual system within a SoS and
with a mission engineering context rather than on the larger SoS.) This necessitates a focus on three
major areas: System Definition, System Design, and System Analysis. Figure 2presents a notional
capstone process consistent with best practices in SE that adheres to the general fundamentals of
mission engineering.
Please note that the capstone process presented in Figure 2is intentionally generic to allow for
flexibility in subject matter. The capstone projects adhering to this mission engineering approach
provide instructive feedback to the associated research sponsors in the area of System Definition,
Modeling, and Analysis. Typically, those results are used to inform further studies that may be
implemented in operational environments.
Mission Engineering Capstone Projects
While Figure 2presents a general approach to analysis that has been used for multiple capstone
projects at NPS, it has not been explicitly linked to the mission engineering concept. To achieve
that linkage, recent capstones have applied the process from Figure 2in parallel to each domain of
mission engineering. Recall that the capstone teams at NPS are typically comprised of 4–8 students.
This segmentation into operations, acquisition, and integration areas allows for parallel execution
of complementary System Analysis. Portions of the team may focus their efforts on development
of operationally focused models while other portions may focus on either acquisition or integration
considerations. Recall that the first step in Figure 2is Requirements Definition; consistent definition of
system requirements across each of these domains is paramount for consistent modeling and analysis.
The focus on consistency and coordination is a direct application of the coursework completed by
NPS systems engineering students prior to commencement of the capstone project. Specifically,
students have recently completed the following courses: Capability Engineering (providing a
foundation in modeling and simulation as well as operationally focused system development),
System Architecture & Design (providing a foundation for development of system requirements and
functional/physical architecture fundamentals) and Systems Integration and Development (providing
a holistic approach to system development emphasizing the relationship between each step in the
engineering process).
Individual mission engineering-focused capstone projects often differ in the details of
implementing the mission engineering process outlined above. However, they all adhere to the
Systems 2019,7, 38 5 of 13
general process outlined in Figure 2. Students working with faculty tailor the mission engineering
methodology to the specific project topic and need. While this is more labor-intensive than a
cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all approach that is sometimes implemented in undergraduate capstone
courses, NPS Department of Systems Engineering faculty generally feel that the benefits to the
final project deliverables and the students are worth the extra overhead. This allows for future
mission engineering capstone projects to more fully consider the larger SoS perspective than has been
demonstrated in recent capstones.
Figure 2. NPS Mission Engineering Capstone Process.
Systems 2019,7, 38 6 of 13
4. Example Capstone Report
As a demonstration of the Mission Engineering Capstone Integration, the authors present an
example capstone project by Broadfoot, et al. [
] that adheres to the process outlined in Figure 2.
The study focused on the operational impact of the introduction of a rotary-wing aircraft equipped with
a long-range standoff capability on the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations concept. Specifically,
the project focused on appropriate operational employment of long-range engagement capable MH-60S
helicopters in support of Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) missions.
4.1. MH-60S Capstone System Definition
The first phase of mission engineering-focused capstones is Requirements Definition and
Architecture Definition, both of which comprise the general area of System Definition. Figure 3
presents the results of both of those process for the MH-60S project.
Figure 3. MH-60S System Definition.
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Please note that the Requirements Definition process resulted in two major focus areas: Processing
of Target Data and Firing of a Long-Range Missile (LRM). These two major requirements are elaborated,
and the resulting decomposition is used to inform the functional architecture development. Specifically,
an iterative loop of Target Detection, Engagement, and Assessment for ASuW is defined as a SysML
Activity Diagram. The key activities that enabled LRM use as a supporting system for DMO were
detection of a target, firing of the LRM, and engagement of targets with the LRM. Accordingly, System
Modeling was initiated with the focus on development of a model capable of representing each of
those three primary activities.
4.2. MH-60S Capstone System Modeling
The second phase of mission engineering-focused capstones is System Modeling, defined by
Baseline Modeling, Experimental Design, and Simulation Modeling. Figure 4presents the results of
both of those process for the MH-60S project.
Figure 4. MH-60S System Modeling.
There are several points of emphasis within Figure 4. First, the baseline system model is a direct
application of the sequence of activities presented in the architecture development phase. Specifically,
the model is focused on Target Detection, Engagement, and Assessment. System and range dependent
Systems 2019,7, 38 8 of 13
probabilities of success for each potential target were defined and an initial model was created. After the
creation of an initial model, an experimental design strategy was developed to ensure appropriate
examination of the design space. Recall that the Requirements Definition process specifically called
out processing of target data and engagement using an LRM as the two primary system requirements.
To ensure adequate examination of those requirements within the model, eight system design variables
were identified: Number of MH-60S, Number of LRM, LRM Maximum Range, LRM Minimum Range,
LRM Probability of Hit, LRM Velocity, Probability of Target Detection, and LRM Ratio. Additionally,
the model varied the number of enemy fast attack craft and fast inshore attack craft. After the full
range of combinations was defined, the operational model was finalized.
4.3. MH-60S Capstone System Analysis
The third phase of mission engineering-focused capstones is System Analysis, comprised of
Model Analysis, Dynamic Decision Support, and Reporting & Documentation. Figure 5presents the
results of both of those process for the MH-60S project.
Figure 5. MH-60S System Analysis.
Systems 2019,7, 38 9 of 13
During the Model Analysis phase, several major findings were developed, all focused on
appropriate use of the LRM in support of ASuW missions. First, the capabilities of the LRM (maximum
range, minimum range, velocity, and probability of hit), subject to the bounds established in the
experimental design phase (Step 4 of the process as shown in Figure 5), were not statistically or
operationally significant. This is a particularly valuable insight given that the factor that had the largest
operational impact was the total number of LRMs. Succinctly, the team found that investment in larger
numbers of less capable LRMs had a larger operational impact than investment in smaller numbers of
more capable LRMs. Given the objective of the research was to inform development and use of the
LRM in ASuW missions, the team felt this was an actionable recommendation. To provide specific
context, the team developed tables and graphics that quantified the expected performance (in terms of
friendly survivability and enemy attrition) that can be expected in a mission based on the number of
LRMs employed by the friendly force.
5. Discussion
The NPS Department of Systems Engineering has received positive feedback both from DoD
project sponsors and from students who have participated in mission engineering capstone projects.
While the evidence is anecdotal, the faculty involved in mission engineering capstone projects feel
that the definition of mission engineering being used and the approach to mission engineering
being implemented by students is a success. Project sponsors have indicated their approval of
the results of mission engineering capstone projects through repeated funding of new capstone
projects. Students have provided feedback through course evaluation forms and informally that the
mission engineering capstone projects were a highlight of their time at NPS and were useful in their
post-NPS positions.
One limitation of the NPS Department of Systems Engineering approach to mission engineering
capstones is that the students are often not formally informed that they are conducting mission
engineering. Due to the emerging nature of mission engineering as a topic of interest to DoD and
systems engineers, NPS has been teaching mission engineering for several years without describing it
as such. In future mission engineering capstone project courses, the faculty is planning to more fully
and explicitly brief students on mission engineering.
Another limitation of the approach to mission engineering presented above is that students are
unable to complete the entire cycle of mission engineering as described by Dahmann [
]. Within the
confines of a two- or three-term capstone project, prototyping and/or experimenting outside of a
computer simulation is often impossible. For instance in the case of the MH60s helicopter capstone
project described above, while several of the students were helicopter pilots, students were unable to
test load-out configurations in the real-world.
The short duration of student capstone projects also adversely impacts the ability of a larger SoS
mission engineering analysis to be conducted. While aspects of the SoS in which a system of interest is
operating are considered, such as in the case of the MH-60S project where other ships and helicopter
assets were considered in the simulations [
], the larger vision of mission engineering looking across
the entire SoS has to date not been fully achieved. However, the flexibility of the implementation of
mission engineering capstones in the NPS Systems Engineering Department allows for future capstone
projects to have expanded SoS scope.
Much like the discipline of systems engineering itself, mission engineering is a rapidly evolving
field without a strong, agreed upon definition and framework. While the mission engineering definition
and framework presented above is the authors’ interpretation of mission engineering, others may
categorize mission engineering as a permutation of systems engineering. SoS engineering, model based
systems engineering, and other related topics also may lay claim to part or all the processes involved
in mission engineering. It is the authors’ expectation that how mission engineering is defined and how
mission engineering is performed will continue to rapidly evolve over the next several years.
Systems 2019,7, 38 10 of 13
The outcome of mission engineering capstone projects in the NPS Department of Systems
Engineering is generally a report that details the analysis, conclusions, and recommendations
developed by the student teams in conjunction with the faculty. Often, simulation models and
other work products are also delivered in a final work product package. Several IPR briefings and a
final project briefing are also produced. This information is then conveyed to the project sponsors and
is archived in the NPS library where the public may view the documents.
5.1. Outcomes to Date
An estimated 30–40% of capstone projects in the NPS Department of Systems Engineering
completed over the last five years have been mission engineering-focused. This translates to roughly
5–7 mission engineering capstone projects and approximately 30 students participating per year.
For several examples of mission engineering capstone projects, see: [
]. The vast majority of
mission engineering capstone projects at NPS have DoD sponsors funding the efforts. Interest in
mission engineering capstone projects has increased among project sponsors in the last 2–3 years and
is expected to continue to increase in the future.
5.2. How to Implement Mission Engineering in a Capstone Project Class
While no one-size-fits-all approach exists to implement mission engineering in capstone courses,
the authors have the following suggestions:
Identify strong mission engineering capstone projects for students to work on. Allowing students
to define projects sometimes does not deliver desired results.
Explicitly instruct students on the nature of their capstone projects. Provide literature and lectures
on mission engineering. Specifically, ensure that students working on mission engineer capstones
are focused on analysis of trades at the system level that may impact mission performance at the
SoS level.
If at all possible, ensure that there is a project sponsor who wishes to be actively involved.
Require weekly updates from the student teams to describe their progress, pain points, areas they
want help/guidance on from the faculty advisors, and other related information.
Implement quarterly IPR presentations with defined deliverables.
Provide standardized IPR presentation and final report templates to the student teams.
In addition to the above suggestions, we believe more explicitly addressing mission engineering
in other classes may be useful. For instance, the system architecture course (SE 4150), the systems
engineering introduction course (SE 3100), the system suitability course (SE 3202), and the combat
systems integration course (SE 4115) in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Systems Engineering
Department curriculum may all be good candidates for integration of mission engineering
modules. The authors teach these and other courses in the curriculum where natural fits exist
to explicitly elicit discussion and instruction on mission engineering. Already in several of the
above-mentioned courses, elements of mission engineering are discussed in the context of SoS
engineering, design reference missions, and maintenance logistics. More explicitly weaving mission
engineering into coursework outside of the capstone class may be beneficial to both students who
conduct mission engineering-focused capstone projects and students who conduct system-level or
SoS-focused capstone projects.
6. Future Work
The authors plan to develop mission engineering lectures to deliver to students at the start of
their capstone experience. A dedicated mission engineering class may be added to the curriculum
as an elective in the future. The authors also intend to reach out to other institutions and actively
solicit interested faculty at other institutions to contact them to build a mission engineering education
community to improve how mission engineering is taught.
Systems 2019,7, 38 11 of 13
7. Conclusions
This article presented an educational approach and example of an applied capstone research
project using a mission engineering focus. The mission engineering capstone projects that NPS
Department of Systems Engineering students have been completing over the last five years have been
well-received by students and project sponsors. A generalized sequence diagram and description
of how NPS faculty have run mission engineering capstone projects is provided. Discussion of the
strengths and weaknesses of the approach are provided and specific suggestions to have a successful
implementation of mission engineering into capstone projects is given. A student capstone project
of a MH-60S helicopter load-out is shown as a demonstration of a result from a mission engineering
capstone project.
Author Contributions:
D.L.V.B. developed, wrote, and assisted in revising the article, and was an advisor for
the capstone project; P.B. assisted in writing the article, revising the article, and was an advisor for the capstone
project; B.M.O. assisted with article preparation and was an advisor for the capstone project; A.H. assisted with
article preparation and was an advisor for the capstone project; E.P. assisted with article preparation and was an
advisor for the capstone project.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Conflicts of Interest:
The authors declare no conflict of interest. The views expressed in this document are those of
the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
The following abbreviations are used in this manuscript:
ASuW Anti-Surface Warfare
LRM Long-Range Missile
MBSE Model-Based Systems Engineering
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NPS Naval Postgraduate School
SE Systems Engineering
DoD Department of Defense
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... The results of this paper may be useful in shaping how systems engineering processes are executed for developing HMT systems. For instance, mission engineering, a function that systems engineers can perform, could benefit from an improved understanding of requirements biases [52]. Developing digital twins for systems engineering purposes is another area that may benefit from a better understanding of requirements biases [53]. ...
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Many systems engineering projects begin with the involvement of stakeholders to aid in decision-making processes. As an application of systems engineering, systems architecture involves the documentation of stakeholder needs gathered via elicitation and the transformation of these needs into requirements for a system. Within human-machine teaming, systems architecture allows for the creation of a system with desired characteristics elicited from stakeholders involved with the project or system. Though stakeholders can be excellent sources for expert opinion, vested interests in a project may potentially bias stakeholders and impact decision-making processes. These biases may influence the design of the system architecture, potentially resulting in a system that is developed with unbalanced and misrepresented stakeholder preferences. This paper presents an activity analysis of the Stakeholder Needs and Requirements Process as described in the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK) to identify potential biases associated with this elicitation process. As part of the research presented in this paper, a workshop was conducted where currently practicing systems architects provided feedback regarding perceptions of biases encountered during the elicitation process. The findings of this research will aid systems architects, developers, and users in understanding how biases may impact stakeholder elicitation within the architecting process.
... Mission engineering is an application of systems engineering where the mission is the system of interest and the outcome is analysis, planning, and designing of missions [3]. A mission engineering analysis focuses on mission goals, available and emerging system and operational capabilities, and helps to design a mission architecture in order to achieve mission goals [4,5]. Often times, missions are conducted by SoS that may be fully autonomous, mixed human autonomous system teams, or some other combination of systems. ...
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With the growth of autonomy and augmentation of machine learning in system decision-making, systems-of-systems (SoS) have become increasingly complex. Security and safety, as well as national economic stability, are reliant on interconnected systems with multiple decision making components. While such inter-connectivity advances the speed at which action and mission control decision making can take place, it also increases the number of dependencies at risk in the case of an attack and the speed at which attacks become effective in their goals. Attacks on the supply chain and on system lifecycle phases other than the operation are also becoming more common. In this paper we consider from a mission engineering perspective a complex reconfigurable SoS covering management of a wind farm with autonomous uncrewed patrol systems, crewed maintenance vessels , back-end control and machine learning components. The complex SoS is situated in the exclusive economic zone of one country, but with perimetric position to regional power competitors. We investigate causal effects of adversarial capabilities in * Address all correspondence to this author. the case study, using a zero trust combined with Defense in Depth approach. Of particular interest are situations where an adversary injects an incipient fault during one mission that is only brought to fruition during a subsequent mission.
... The continuous cycle of ME analysis 5 mission goal or desired capability. 6 The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) employs a top-down requirements identification and prioritization process. 7 The DOD acquisition process develops and validates the need for materiel systems to address capability gaps based on JROC prioritization. ...
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This paper presents a systematic approach to characterize integration challenges when implementing mission engineering and discusses some specific techniques to address these issues. With the introduction of mission engineering in the DOD science and technology lexicon, integration assumes a new dimension beyond the system product level. First, the authors offer a more precise definition of integration that focuses on incorporating a new technology or military capability into an existing organization's infrastructure. Using a collection of system integration literature and a set of examples , the authors define major problem areas regarding integration. Analyses of these issues present opportunities to identify specific methods to avoid or mitigate them. The resultant process is a foundation for mission engineering practitioners to plan successful integration of a new system. Acceptance of these procedures in the mission engineering community may lead to inclusion as standard practices in the DOD Mission Engineering Guide.
... A method for mission engineering and analysis (MEA) was developed by [51] and a simulated application of mission engineering was conducted by [55] which included analytic support tools. The mission engineering method proposed by [56] includes a system definition, system model, and system analysis event sequence. There are several different approaches and uses for mission engineering in the literature, but all aim to ensure mission achievement with a holistic approach within the defined system of interest (SOI). ...
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We propose a methodology to determine the impact of different potential mission scenarios upon energy resilience for mission-critical loads attached to a military base’s microgrid infrastructure. The proposed methodology applies to any installation with changing operational states that has energy-resilience requirements. The proposed methodology may be used by energy managers to account for potential mission scenarios that a base may be part of, followed by assessing the microgrid energy resilience to supply the critical loads for said mission scenarios, especially where the external grid power may be unavailable and/or damage to microgrid components may be present. In the event a microgrid design is unable to provide sufficient electrical energy, distributed energy resources and energy storage systems including renewable energy resources may be added to improve energy resilience. A case study is conducted on a fictitious representative military base, microgrid design, and changing mission demands to demonstrate the application of the proposed methodology. This article contributes a methodology for energy managers to evaluate energy resilience using microgrids by accounting for potential mission scenarios, their energy requirements, resulting energy preparedness, and recommendations for improvement, as necessary.
... There are several types of analysis and the type of analysis chosen depends on the system behavior one is interested in exploring. In general, statistical analysis tools are used to observe interactions between variables and determine which of them has more impact on system performance [59]. Certain analyses such as Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) can be done within system architecting software. ...
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This article presents a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) methodology for the development of a Digital Twin (DT) for an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with the ability to demonstrate route selection capability with a Mission Engineering (ME) focus. It reviews the concept of ME and integrates ME with a MBSE framework for the development of the DT. The methodology is demonstrated through a case study where the UAS is deployed for a Last Mile Delivery (LMD) mission in a military context where adversaries are present, and a route optimization module recommends an optimal route to the user based on a variety of inputs including potential damage or destruction of the UAS by adversary action. The optimization module is based on Multiple Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) which analyzes predefined criteria which the user assessed would enable the successful conduct of the UAS mission. The article demonstrates that the methodology can execute a ME analysis for route selection to support a user’s decision-making process. The discussion section highlights the key MBSE artifacts and also highlights the benefits of the methodology which standardizes the decision-making process thereby reducing the negative impact of human factors which may deviate from the predefined criteria.
... The US Department of Defense has released an initial version of a Mission Engineering Guide [8]. The SE Body of Knowledge (SEBOK) [9] now addresses ME, emphasizing the fact that "mission engineering must simultaneously consider operational, technical, and acquisition issues and their integration in order to design a solution to achieve the mission goal" [10]. Initial work has been done to understand the relationship of ME to SE and SoSE and the skillsets needed by systems engineers for ME. ...
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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has increasingly expanded their focus beyond systems to address the application of systems engineering approaches to 'missions'. Mission Engineering (ME) is defined in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook as: "the deliberate planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating of current and emerging operational and system capabilities to achieve desired operational mission effects". At the same time, in the DoD Digital Engineering Strategy, the DoD has emphasized the transformation of systems engineering into a digital, model-based discipline. Bringing these two together, there is strong interest in the development and application of Digital Engineering Environments (DEE) to address mission level systems of systems (SoS) requirements, analysis, engineering, and portfolio management. This paper provides an approach to applying Digital Engineering (DE) to a large system of systems mission [1].
... The US Department of Defense has released an initial version of a Mission Engineering Guide [8]. The SE Body of Knowledge (SEBOK) [9] now addresses ME, emphasizing the fact that "mission engineering must simultaneously consider operational, technical, and acquisition issues and their integration in order to design a solution to achieve the mission goal" [10]. Initial work has been done to understand the relationship of ME to SE and SoSE and the skillsets needed by systems engineers for ME. ...
... 115 Dahmann and Gold define mission engineering as "deliberate planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating of current and emerging operational and system capabilities to achieve desired warfighting mission effects.". [116][117][118][119] Considering the objectives and approach to mission engineering, the insights to actual system health and performance promises to be extremely fruitful, notably in systems with high levels of redundancy that results in scalable performance characteristics such as phased arrays or fiber laser weapon systems. ...
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In recent years there has been increased demand for readiness and availability metrics across many industries and especially in national defense to enable data-driven decision making at all levels of planning, maintenance, and operations, and in leveraging integrated models that inform stakeholders of current operational system health and performance metrics. The digital twin (DT) has been identified as a promising approach for deploying these models to fielded systems although several challenges exist in wide adoption and implementation. Two challenges examined in this article are that the nature of DT development is a system-specific endeavor, and the development is usually an additional effort that begins after initial system fielding. A fundamental challenge with DT development, which sets it apart from traditional models, is the DT itself is treated as a separate system, and therefore the physical asset/DT construct becomes a system-of-systems problem. This article explores how objectives in DT development align with those of model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and how the MBSE process can answer questions necessary to define the DT. The key benefits to the approach are leveraging work already being performed during system synthesis and DT development is pushed earlier in a system's lifecycle. This article contributes to the definition and development processes for DTs by proposing a DT development model and path, a method for scoping and defining requirements for a DT, and an approach to integrate DT and system development. An example case study of a Naval unmanned system is presented to illustrate the contributions. K E Y W O R D S autonomy, digital twin, health monitoring, model-based systems engineering, prognostics, systems engineering, unmanned surface vessel
... Humans are integral to the operation and maintenance of almost all systems in the Navy's inventory. Many consider Naval vessels to be SOS where hardware and software systems, and humans are integrated together into a larger SOS [5,6] which integrates into the larger concept of mission engineering where Naval assets are brought together to accomplish specific missions and objectives [26]. With such a significant effort placed on reliability as a factor in maximizing operational availability [5], substantial effort must be made and great care taken to understand how to best design the systems to accommodate (and in some instances withstand) interactions with SOMs as part of HSI [27]. ...
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Systems engineering practices in the maritime industry and the Navy consider operational availability as a system attribute determined by system components and a maintenance concept. A better understanding of the risk attitudes of system operators and maintainers may be useful in understanding potential impacts the system operators and maintainers have on operational availability. This article contributes to the literature a method that synthesizes the concepts of system reliability, and operator and maintainer risk attitudes to provide insight into the effect that risk attitudes of systems operators and maintainers have on system operational availability. The method consists of four steps providing the engineer with a risk-attitude-adjusted insight into the system's potential operational availability. Systems engineers may use the method to iterate a system's design or maintenance concept to improve expected operational availability. If it is deemed necessary to redesign a system, systems engineers will likely choose new system components and/or alter their configuration; however, redesign is not limited to physical alteration of the system. Several other options may be more practical depending the system's stage in the life cycle to address low risk-adjusted operational availability such as changes to maintenance programs and system supportability rather than on component and system reliability. A simple representative example implementation is provided to demonstrate the method and discussion of the potential implications for Navy ship availability are discussed. Potential future work is also discussed.
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Mission engineering is a recently proposed concept that needs practicable means to implement. Integrating a new system into technical and organizational architectures is a critical part of this initiative. Additionally, it requires an in-depth understanding of the system's operational employment. This paper describes the development of the integration and operations support system, an innovative use of scenario methodologies, computer simulation, and experimentation to shape a strategic analysis framework for mission engineering. A scenario from an actual computer aided exercise, Cobra Gold 2018, is the backdrop of the support system. The Joint Theater Level Simulation drives the operational vignettes for the training audience in this multinational exercise. Our approach is to automate the exercise, thereby creating an experimentation environment for a knowledgeable team to form credible, analytically derived insights about a new system. We generalize this approach and provide a use-case via a planned study on future naval capabilities.
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Mission engineering is the application of systems of systems (SoS) engineering in an operational context. The focus is on execution of the mission and this can often require interoperability across an array of heterogeneous systems. This paper presents research resulting in the identification of the critical skills required to successfully accomplish and shepherd mission engineering. The competency model presented herein uses the grounded theory methodology and leverages the Helix methodology. It is based on a combination of interviews with mission engineers together with research in the open and seminal literature. Subject interviews and open source literature cover 1) mission engineering definition and organizational support, 2) identification of competencies and gaps, and 3) future vision. There is an overlap in mission engineering and systems engineering competencies with important differentiation in 1) governance, 2) foundational math/science/general engineering skills, 3) operational concepts, 4) interpersonal skills, 5) and leadership skills.
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We propose mission engineering and analysis to examine and develop viable solutions for complex issues. Systems engineering addresses technological and managerial challenges in the design and development of physical and virtual systems. The military decision making process is a recognized method to develop a mission plan. The structure of mission engineering and analysis establishes the military planning process as its backbone, while systems engineering techniques serve as the internal controls and mechanisms. Scenario methodologies, modeling and simulation, hierarchical and value-focused thinking are systems engineering tools that shape the system of interest. This paper explains our ideas for creating a robust framework for tackling multidimensional problems. Mission engineering and analysis offers a holistic view of a system's development as part of a larger system. It begins with the combat mission that the system would support and ends with the system's integration in the operational unit that would apply it to achieve the mission. The process treats the system acquisition process as a subsystem. Previous methods have seen the operational mission as a start point. We designate the mission and mission plan, which may include weapon system development, as the complete system of interest. In doing so, we seek to deliver more robust and capable military and non-military systems. A notional implementation of mission engineering and analysis to assist fledgling countries conceptualize and develop solutions for border security issues captures the ideas presented in the paper.
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This paper describes an approach that leverages computer simulation models and statistical experimental designs for exploration studies during the early conceptual design of a system. We apply the approach to a naval ship design problem and demonstrate how we can illuminate trade decisions among multiple design decisions and evaluation measures using a dynamic dashboard. After performing experimental designs on a collection of simulation models, we can fit statistical models that act as surrogates to these simulations. These surrogate models allow us to explore a wider variety of system alternatives rather than fixating on a narrow set of alternatives. The purpose of the approach is to simultaneously explore the operational and physical domains using statistical surrogate models in order to illuminate trade decisions between the system's operational effectiveness and physical design considerations. © 2016 This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
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There are numerous forms of systems engineering that have developed since the late 1990s. These are focused on dealing with increasingly complex problems. Most of the methods provide improvements to systems engineering design capabilities, the systems engineering process, or how complex problems must be managed or governed. We argue that an integrated approach that balances design, process and management is needed to avoid the pitfalls of working in complex situations. Mission Engineering has been proposed as the field intended to maintain coherency between systems engineering, operations, and the mission. This paper presents the challenges that Mission Engineering faces to overcome the complexities of the problems that it is to address, as well as principles for its development and execution.
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The Colorado School of Mines (CSM) hosts the oldest Humanitarian Engineering (HE) minor program in the USA, originally started in 2004. During the 2012/2013 academic year the program was overhauled and new curriculum was introduced. Several deficiencies in senior capstone courses were noted including poor quality of designs resulting from the tyranny of the rigid semester schedule; students focusing on the technical aspects of a design project while largely ignoring the social, financial, and sustainable aspects; and a loss of knowledge between academic terms due to turnover of students. These were addressed in the development of the Projects for People course through several methods. The course has been offered for two semesters and will be offered in multiple sections in the immediate future. Students, CSM faculty, and NGO partners have all found the course to be useful and rigorous, and the HE faculty have found the resulting designs to be of high quality.
This research applies a mission engineering approach with model‐based systems engineering foundations to formalize a swarm unmanned system design methodology and architecture. The architectural framework and methodology herein presented extend current swarm system design methods, which are primarily bottom‐up approaches focused on the behavior of individual agents. We introduce a top‐down, hierarchical approach with an overarching mission decomposed into phases, tactics, plays, and algorithms. Three unmanned aerial vehicle swarm case studies (one of which is discussed in this paper) are used to demonstrate the approach and its effectiveness in formalizing a mission‐based framework of common patterns in swarm missions that promote architecture reusability.
This book is about best practices for the design of mechanical products. It is available from Amazon and other sources at a reasonable price.