Map of United States showing flight traffic

The term "systems engineering" has been around since the late 1940s. That's when it became clear that engineers in specific disciplines needed to view increasingly complex technology in broader, more connected ways. MITRE's pioneering work with the Air Force's SAGE system is a hallmark of early systems engineering.

A Public-Interest Approach to Systems Engineering

Fast-forward to the 21st century. Technology is even more complex, and the need to connect and integrate systems into a seamless whole has never been greater. We continue to put our systems engineering experience, depth of knowledge, and objective guidance to work for federal agencies across the military, intelligence, and civil sectors.

For defense and intelligence organizations, we address the systems engineering needs of all the military services and various branches of the intelligence and national security community. This work includes areas as diverse as mission assurance; joint network integration; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; data and services; operations and intelligence; and command and control. For the civil sector, our work includes programs in aviation, tax administration, veterans' affairs, homeland security, the federal judiciary, healthcare, cybersecurity, and more.

Though all of these organizations face unique systems engineering requirements, they often have many areas of overlap. As the operator of multiple FFRDCs, we're able to both respond to individual agencies' needs and to share knowledge gained from working with others facing similar challenges. We have captured much of the practical knowledge we've learned from these experiences in our Systems Engineering Guide

Systems Engineering Research

Our researchers aim to transform the practice of systems engineering by developing new ways for our sponsors to meet their goals efficiently and effectively. We’'re focusing on the development of co-engineering processes, computationally based tools, and reusable patterns. This enables us to continuously engineer capabilities with end-users throughout the systems engineering life cycle to rapidly meet their needs and increase their satisfaction.  

Researchers apply a cross-section of leading-edge disciplines, including Web, information and social media technologies, visualization, modeling and simulation, mathematics, and the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. They work with end-users and other stakeholders, including experts from academia and industry, to integrate all relevant knowledge that could lead to solutions. To learn more, please visit our Research collection.