Systems Engineering (SE)

Mission Engineering and Prototype Warfare: Operationalizing Technology Faster to Stay Ahead of the Threat

by Matthew A Horning; Robert E Smith; Shaheen Shidfar


Prototype Warfare represents a paradigm shift in how the US Department of Defense (DoD) executes acquisition of defense systems in a manner that is significantly faster than traditional acquisition. At its core, Prototype Warfare shifts focus from large fleets of common one-size-fits-all exquisite systems to small quantities of rapidly fielded, highly tailored systems that are focused on specific capabilities within a specific theater to address a specific (and typically urgent) requirement. This paper does not address the programmatic or policy implications of implementing Prototype Warfare, but instead provides an approach to achieving Prototype Warfare from a technical perspective. The key to executing a Prototype Warfare program is to establish and execute a robust Mission Engineering practice that uses the operational context of a system to drive performance requirements, allowing the modeled end use of the system to be root of all requirements traceability.