Title: Developing Systems Engineering Experience Accelerator (SEEA) Prototype and Roadmap – Increment 4
Report No.: Technical Report SERC-2017-TR-111
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
The Department of Defense faces many challenges related to deploying new systems to meet the needs of the warfighter. Among these are compressed development times and increased required capabilities. There is a real need for systems engineering expertise in the acquisition enterprise to guide the technical design, development, integration and testing of such systems.
At the same time, there is a potential skills gap due to an aging workforce, many of whom are near retirement, and the experience development curve needed to bring new talent up-to-speed. Often this experience development takes many years and spans multiple programs. The idea behind the Systems Engineering Experience Accelerator (SEEA) is to accelerate the experience development so that new talent can become proficient much more quickly to meet DoD needs. This is done by using educational technology, and specifically the notion of role-playing in immersive environments where a learner not only leans the technical skills associated with a systems engineering position, but also critical skills in persuasion and decision-making needed to deploy technical skills effectively.
The original SEEA was developed to let the learner play the role of a chief systems engineer in an acquisition program for a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. It was based on the concept of the learners assuming this role shortly after preliminary design review (PDR) and seeing it through until after the start of low-rate initial production (LRIP). The experience was the focus of an initial implementation. However, subsequent work focused only on the first part of the experience, the time from the PDR until the critical design review (CDR).
This project has taken the UAV experience and improved it substantially in a number of areas in preparation for its use in the Defense Acquisition University curriculum for systems engineers. First, several new capabilities have been added. These include a trade study for additional technical content, system reliability as a key performance parameter, and technical debt to allow the learner to see the effect of deferred work. Second, a number of improvements have been made to the experience. Most importantly, the experience lifecycle has been updated so that the work completed earlier to improve the PDR-to-CDR portion of the experience has been done to improve the remaining parts of the experience. Third, the SEEA application has been made compliant with federal law on accessibility for disabled employees and others. Fourth, the research hypothesis that the SEEA can accelerate learning in systems engineering has been tested via its use. Finally, support has been provided for deployment at DAU.