The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering (ODASD(SE)) is the focal point for all policy, practice, and procedural matters relating to Department of Defense Systems Engineering and its key elements to include technical risk management, software engineering, manufacturing and production, quality, standardization, and related disciplines.

DASD(SE)'s Priorities

  • Support the current fight; manage risk with discipline
  • Grow engineering capabilities to address emerging challenges
  • Support realistic program formulation through the application of development planning and early systems engineering
  • Increased focus on reliability, affordability, and total ownership cost
  • Champion systems engineering as a tool to improve acquisition quality
  • Develop future technical leaders across the acquisition enterprise

News and Upcoming Events

Message from the DASD(SE)

Photo of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Systems Engineering Stephen Welby

The Department of Defense develops and delivers to our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen incredibly effective but increasingly complex weapon systems. As the complexity of our systems has increased, so has the need for effective systems engineering throughout the life cycle. We face challenges in implementing robust systems engineering processes, from requirements identification and analysis through technology and architecture selection and assessment, analysis and coordination of complex system design, development, and execution to delivering rigorously tested production systems with a full complement of sustainable hardware and software capabilities. In the past, the acquisition community has largely focused on the execution of programs at Milestone B and beyond. We are now increasingly focused on addressing early-acquisition phases including requirements definition, development planning, and early acquisition systems engineering support.

To meet these challenges, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering is focusing on a variety of initiatives:

  • Workforce Development: One of our greatest challenges may be in our approaches to building great people and teams and improving how we recruit, grow, and mature the technical and systems engineering professionals who will successfully deliver today and tomorrow's critical defense systems. We are working closely with the DoD Components to enhance the capability and capacity of the technical management workforce. As an example, we are identifying workforce competencies crucial for executing systems engineering and production, quality, and manufacturing functions within acquisition programs. We are developing strategies to support the "Recruit—Train—Retain" objectives laid out in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act Section 852, and strategies to enable realistic workforce development by ensuring education and training requirements are balanced with job demands.
  • Development Planning and Early Systems Engineering: The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act directed us to establish policy and guidance for development planning DoD wide. We are working on identifying early systems engineering gaps and deficiencies and establishing policy and guidance to address those gaps and to define and implement development planning.
  • Agile and Rapid Systems Engineering Research: We are researching systems engineering process improvement in many areas, but two new focus areas are agility or flexible system design and systems engineering to support rapid fielding. Can we create flexible systems engineering processes and methods that ensure adequate systems engineering rigor while simultaneously delivering capabilities to the current fight? Similarly, can we capture agility or responsiveness as design attributes that can be used in developing system trades?

My primary goal is to ensure that the DoD's systems engineering capabilities are focused on providing the technical insight required to support knowledge-based decision making throughout the acquisition process.