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

DoD Systems Engineering Goals

  • Oversee our organic engineering workforce and human capital strategy
  • Provide quality program support; identify and mitigate program technical risks, maximize opportunities
  • Implement agility and innovation; mature engineering practices to implement advanced technologies
  • Establish practices for cyber-resilient weapon systems
  • Migrate to digital acquisition, engineering, and manufacturing practice
  • Develop enterprise mission integration management capabilities
  • Enable trust and access to assured hardware and software
  • Support DoD CONUS/OCONUS counter-UAS capabilities

News and Upcoming Events

  • Department to Cancel Instruction on Militarily Critical Technologies List (Posted December 2018)
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 repealed the portion of the Export Administration Act of 1979 that mandated the creation and maintenance of the Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL). The Department of Defense (DoD) is therefore taking steps to cancel the related DoD Instruction 3020.46.... [more]

DoD Systems Engineering

The Department of Defense develops and delivers to our military highly 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 the identification and analysis of requirements through the selection and assessment of technology and architecture, analysis and coordination of complex system design, development, execution, and delivery of rigorously tested production systems with a full complement of sustainable hardware and software capability. In the past, the acquisition community has focused largely on the execution of programs at Milestone B and beyond. We are now focusing on early acquisition phases with rigorous technical planning and engineering analysis.

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering is engaging in a variety of initiatives to strengthen systems engineering competency in the DoD. The office works to advance the state of practice to address a range of engineering challenges, among them workforce development, system security engineering, and technical risk management.

Workforce Development: One of our greatest challenges may be in our approach to building great people and teams and improving how we recruit, grow, and mature the technical and systems engineering professionals to successfully deliver today and tomorrow's critical defense systems. We work 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. These competencies will be tracked as part of our Better Buying Power initiatives to improve organic engineering capability for the Department.

System Security Engineering: The importance of security as a systems engineering design consideration has increased as DoD systems have become increasingly networked, software-intensive, and dependent on a complicated global supply chain. In response to this new reality, the DoD has established program protection/system security engineering as a key discipline to protect technology, components, and information from compromise through the cost-effective application of protection measures to mitigate risks posed by threats and vulnerabilities. In partnership with the DoD Components, we continue to integrate system security engineering into engineering and acquisition decisions across the life cycle.

Technical Risk Management: The Department emphasizes managing program risks, issues, and opportunities throughout the life cycle. This ongoing effort is integral to program management and an essential focus for programs to achieve cost, schedule, and performance objectives. Systems engineers must help program managers identify possible adverse events, analyze the likelihood, cost, schedule, and performance impacts of those events, and proactively take action to reduce the probability and or impact if they occur. Technical risks are those that may prevent the end item from performing as intended or from meeting performance expectations. They typically emanate from areas such as requirements, technology, engineering, integration, test, manufacturing, quality, logistics, system security, and training.

Our primary goal is to ensure that DoD systems engineering capabilities focus on providing the technical insight required to support knowledge-based decision making throughout the acquisition process.