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  • Question

    Do you anticipate terms like 'Digital Sustainment' and 'Digital Acquisition' to be defined in DoD or service policy anytime soon?


    Answer

    BLUF: The statement is  correct, there are no authoritative definitions for "digital acquisition" or "digital sustainment."  Establishing (and in some case updating) definitions will be a collaborative and likely iterative effort as the DoD Digital Engineering Strategy and Service digital initiatives move forward.  At DAU, the engineering and technical management (E/TM) and life cycle logistics (LCL) communities are engaged in an ongoing dialog regarding strategies to develop and deliver training and related resources, such as definitions, for the acquisition work force.

     

    Army Publication TC 6-0.1.  The Army publication referenced has no direct relationship to digital acquisition, digital sustainment/product support, model-based engineering (or its various pseudonyms - digital engineering, model-based systems engineering, etc.).  The publication describes training for how "The digital crew facilitates the display of information to the Commander in the Command Post (CP)" in a virtual/constructive setting.  The single, unexplained reference to "digital sustainment" also appears  unrelated.

     

    DAU Glossary.  The DAU Glossary needs to be updated/expanded for digital terminology.  There is an existing set of digital definitions, including "digital engineering" at https://www.dau.edu/glossary.  This is a task the E/TM Center-led "DAU Digital Engineering (DE) Training Strategy Meeting" (working group) has taken on and will include (1) "digital engineering"; (2) digital product support;  and likely others.  The group developed a modified digital engineering definition from several authoritative sources (INCOSE, SERC, etc.) and intends to post soon.  There is no authoritative source for "digital product support" (or digital sustainment), so that work will need to wait for an authoritative source.  However, in the interim, an Acquipedia article is planned to be published that includes two non-authoritative "alternate definitions."

     

    DoDI 5000.91, Product Support for the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF).  This new instruction (with a publishing ECD of Oct 2021), includes a single reference to "digital engineering and model-based product support" under para 4.4, Product Support Analysis.  This will require further fleshing out in the planned new DoD Guidebook (to replace DAG Chapter 4).  In addition, DoDI 5000.88, Engineering of Defense Systems, has significant content on digital and models, but does not include definitions; a future iteration could provide more authoritative definitional guidance.

     

    DAU Resources.  In addition to CLE 084 and CENG 001 which are available now, DAU has in work two new engineering (ETM) courses for digital fundamentals and digital practitioners, and plans to develop a new LOG course in FY22 on Digital Product Support Fundamentals.  See also blog post https://www.dau.edu/training/career-development/logistics/blog/Handy-Digital-Engineering-References.

     

    If you haven't run across this resource already, I'd recommend visiting the Digital Twin Consortium (https://www.digitaltwinconsortium.org) and checking out their glossary.  The Digital Twin Consortium is part of the Object Management Group (OMG), an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium, and the owners of the SysML (and UML, and other) specs.

     

    In addition, there is a lot going on in the area of Digital fill-in-the-blank, and identifying the focus, process, and tools that enable these digital approaches is evolving.  PEO Weapons (at Eglin AFB) has stood up a Digital Acquisition and Sustainment Office (DASO).  Here's a working definition of Digital Acquisition that they are using:

     

    Digital acquisition emphasizes a commitment to open architecture and agile software, as well as digital engineering and management. Simply expressed, this ‘digital trinity’ is meant to foster a virtual acquisition process where hundreds of programs and systems can be [proposed], designed, assembled, tested, and even sustained before the first parts are purchased or used in reality.  According to Dr. Roper, it is this ‘Matrix-like simulation realism’ with the newer slogan of ‘eCreate Before You Aviate’ that is so exciting for both the Department and industry. Central to this form of acquisition is creating ‘tech stacks’ that integrate various layers within it and are accessible enterprise-wide as a Service (aaS) to every program, platform, team, and operator. These layers include Cloud aaS (#cloudOne), Artificial Intelligence aaS (#smartOne Platform), aaS (#platformOne), Model-Based Systems Engineering aaS (#mbseOne), Data aaS (#dataOne), Data Analytics aaS (#analyzeOne), and hopefully Edge aas (#deviceOne).  Ultimately, the goal is to transfer these tech stacks to the ‘edge’ in order to enable the warfighter access to continuously improving software and capabilities. This requires a digital acquisition process to achieve.  (Source: https://www.ndia.org/policy/recent-posts/2020/9/21/the-new-digital-acquisition-reality-what-this-means-for-industry-and-the-dod <https://www.ndia.org/policy/recent-posts/2020/9/21/the-new-digital-acquisition-reality-what-this-means-for-industry-and-the-dod> ; “The New Digital Acquisition Reality: What This Means for Industry and DoD”, 9/21/2020)

     

     

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