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Mission Engineering

About the service

Mission Engineering is an interdisciplinary process encompassing the entire technical effort to analyse, design, and integrate current and emerging operational needs and capabilities to achieve desired mission outcomes.1

The goal of Mission Engineering is to engineer missions by identifying the right things - the technologies, systems, systems of systems (SoS), or processes - to achieve the intended mission outcomes; and provide mission-based inputs into the systems engineering process to aid the Department in building things right.2

1Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering 2023, Mission Engineering Guide Version 2.0

2Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering 2023, Mission Engineering Guide Version 2.0 

Mission Engineering represents a transformative methodology that seeks to align Defence's capabilities with specific mission objectives – supporting swift adaptation to rapidly-changing environments and prioritising mission effectiveness over individual platforms or technologies.

Mission Engineering goes beyond just building things well; it's about ensuring Defence builds the right things that directly support Australian strategic National Security priorities. It represents a dynamic alternative to traditional approaches, delivering enhanced force design processes, improved definition of capability and requirements, iterative testing, assessment and validation of solution designs and systems performance, and informed investment decisions across the capability lifecycle.

Organisation-wide adoption and establishment of Mission Engineering will enable Defence to affordably realise capability at the speed of relevance.

Service features

Downer Professional Services will partner with you to revolutionise how your organisation conceptualises, designs, and delivers capabilities through the lens of Mission Engineering.

Our approach integrates key building blocks, methodologies, and digital tools to map mission threads, develop architectures and solution designs, analyse proposed solution options to prioritise resources and maximise mission effects, and digitally collaborate with Industry to align seamlessly with operational needs.

Defining and characterising mission scenarios to gain a better understanding of mission context. These scenarios incorporate the variables that can affect mission outcomes – the physical, operational, and threat environment – and factors including timeframes, mission objectives and mission measures and metrics.  

MDC establishes the foundation for contextualised assessment and evaluation of a mission's success or failure, while also enabling identification and traceability between missions and strategic objectives – establishing a framework to prioritise missions and associated capabilities.

Development of mission architectures to determine capability needs and requirements to achieve mission outcomes. The process involves the development of an effects web, incorporating multiple Mission Threads and Mission Engineering Threads, detailing the essential activities, tasks, and events needed for mission success.

Digital engineering tools are used to systematically develop digital threads – modelling various systems, subsystems, information exchanges, technologies, and actors, to establish an authoritative single source of truth of the system-of-systems required to achieve a mission.

MAD supports improved communication, visualisation and understanding of current and potential future capability, and evidence-based decision-making across the capability lifecycle. 

Combining MDC and MED, MEA is the analysis of mission architectures within a specific mission context.  

MEA will identify, quantify and/or prioritise capability gaps, risks, needs and requirements, helping to inform investment decisions regarding capability acquisitions, minimum viable capability, and future upgrades.

MEA also provides performance assessment against measures and metrics defined during MDC, enabling risk-aware, evidence-based decision-making across the force design process and capability lifecycle.

Integrating digital engineering principles, digital tools and environments, and data across elements of force design and the capability lifecycle, to enable technical and non-technical users to design, develop and deploy capability in a collaborative environment, with a single source of truth.

Co-delivered training sessions supporting the Australian Workforce across Defence and Industry to upskill in Mission Engineering and Digital Engineering. Through this offering, participants will learn how to harness the full potential of this transformative methodology as well as innovative digital engineering tools.

Downer's Defence Pilot Program

Downer initiated a visionary Defence Pilot Program, teaming up with innovative Australian digital engineering software start-up, Kompozition, to support the delivery of groundbreaking Mission Engineering solutions to Defence. 

The Program not only assessed the overall value of end-to-end Mission Engineering, but also supported strategic decisions in force design, posture, and capability acquisition. 

It illuminated the limitations of traditional function-based approaches and revealed the isolated nature of current solution designs detached from actual operational needs.

The Program showcased the transformative power of Mission Engineering in several impactful ways: 

  • Digital Mapping of Mission Threads: The Program showcased the capability to digitally map Mission Threads, Mission Engineering Threads and Mission Architectures to establish a hierarchy of mission objectives, operational needs, capability requirements, and optimised solution design. 

    This enabled rapid updates in response to dynamic threats and geopolitical changes, providing a tangible advantage with the Capability Manager easily identifying consequences and adapting swiftly. 

  • Integrated Campaign-level Mission Threads: By aligning campaign-level mission threads with mission effects and operational needs, the Program demonstrated the ability to create cohesive digital models to enhance understanding of overall mission effectiveness. 

    The Capability Manager was able to identify gaps in the solution design as well as additional capability requirements, supporting them to articulate mission risk and prioritise requirements for subsequent system upgrades. 

  • Consolidated Thread for End-to-End Traceability: Project-level artifacts, solution design documents and test data were consolidated into a single thread, enabling end-to-end traceability and visualisation of current mission system performance down to the unit-level. 

    This will facilitate enhanced evidence-based decision-making regarding minimum viable capability contextualised to mission needs, system operational effectiveness, platform sustainment and mission risk. 

The Pilot Program highlighted the significant benefits of adopting a Mission Engineering methodology and how it positively supports the accelerated capability strategic imperative outlined in the Defence Strategic Review. As a result of the Program’s success, DPS will continue to support the client as they transition to Mission Engineering across their organisation.

Learn more

To learn more about the transformative potential of Mission Engineering or express your interest in attending an upcoming training session, contact us at:

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Canberra Office

Level 3
68 Northbourne Avenue


02 6267 6900