American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
USAF Systems Engineering --
Revitalizing Fundamental Processes
J. R. Loren
MTC Technologies, Inc., Arlington, VA 22209
“Systems Engineering is broken; go fix it.” -- Attributed to Dr. James G. Roche, Secretary of
the Air Force, Spring 2002.
During the first year of his tenure, Secretary Roche became aware
that a number of major programs were experiencing significant
In particular, critics cited mishaps and accidents, schedule
slides, cost overruns, instability in requirements and funding, and poor
acquisition strategies; in more than a few cases, a lack of systems
engineering was pointed out as the root cause.
The Secretary’s remark
reflects obvious frustration that program growth in critical areas --
requirements, cost, and schedule -- had not been properly forecast or
This paper summarizes over two years of focused efforts to
reinvigorate the Air Force practice of systems engineering.
Headquarters-level activity began in mid-2002; staff and practitioners
from the acquisition, requirements, test, operations, and sustainment
communities, as well as industry and academia, are now engaged.
ROMINENT among recurring
themes in studies of factors
performance are low estimates for
software development and integration
Engineering (SE) practitioners, and
reduction as programs take shape.
Another major issue is dynamic
by immaturity at program inception
Figure 1 at right is
adapted from a summary of one such
. While some refinement and
inevitable, paralleling product/system
design definition, these observations
appear to point to two things:
to start development, and less-than-
well-disciplined processes for managing
and controlling growth.
Senior Acquisition Technical Manager, Systems Engineering Programs; Engineering & Technical Management
Division (SAF/AQRE); 1500 Wilson Blvd., Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22209; Senior Member, AIAA.
Factors in Program Growth.
USAF Developmental Test and Evaluation Summit
16 - 18 November 2004, Woodland Hills, California
Copyright © 2004 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
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