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Initiatives

SoS Systems Engineering

The Department of Defense (DoD) acquires materiel solutions to address capability needs of the war fighter in military operations and to provide efficient support and readiness in peacetime. A growing number of these capabilities are achieved through a system of systems (SoS) approach. An SoS is a set or arrangement of systems that results when independent and useful systems are integrated into a larger system that delivers unique capabilities (Source: DoD Defense Acquisition Guidebook, Section 4.2.1.2).

While systems engineering (SE) is a key enabler of systems acquisition, SE practices and approaches historically have been described with a single system rather than an SoS in mind. Based on research with DoD SoS SE practitioners and researchers, DoD released the Systems Engineering Guide for Systems of Systems in August 2008. This guide identifies the seven core elements of systems engineering for SoS, describes how current SE technical and technical processes can be applied to implementing these core elements, and outlines emerging principles for successful systems engineering for SoS. Download the guide and associated pamphlets:

The SE Guide for SoS identified areas where work is needed to better understand how to apply SE in an SoS environment. Since the release of the guide, the four initiatives identified below were undertaken to address these areas. Links are provided to briefs and papers that have been published with the latest findings.