Army releases digital engineering directive

By Dan Schere / May 21, 2024 at 2:47 PM

The Army released a digital engineering policy today that directs the service to more broadly adopt digital engineering capabilities and best practices, with a particular emphasis on ground vehicles, aviation and sensors as "focus areas."

Digital engineering “leverages applications, modeling and simulation, and data to create digital models in place of the legacy paper-based approaches,” according to the Army policy. The digital models provide information about a system’s maturation as part of a “model-analyze-build" approach, instead of a “design-build-test" method.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said earlier Tuesday during a congressional hearing that the goal of the policy is to ensure the Army adopts digital engineering approaches at scale to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The Army policy released Tuesday states the service plans to incorporate lessons learned from companies in the private sector that are already employing digital engineering techniques, particularly companies that test automobiles, aircraft and other vehicles. Initially the Army’s digital engineering areas of focus will be ground vehicles, aviation and sensors -- areas that industry has started using these practices, the policy notes.

The policy also specifies multiple Army acquisition programs as being “pathfinder programs” that will “illustrate digital engineering’s potential contributions, highlight existing policies and processes that may hinder a program’s ability to implement [digital engineering] and identify how to advance [digital engineering] in various contexts.” These programs include:

  • The XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle
  • The Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft
  • Integrated Fires Mission Command
  • Joint Targeting Integrated Command and Control Suite
  • M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
  • The Black Hawk, Apache and Chinook helicopter programs that are all in sustainment.

Defense Scoop reported earlier Tuesday on the impending release of the policy.