Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John M. Colombi, PhD


The Department of Defense is undergoing a Digital Transformation driven by Digital Engineering and Model-Based Systems Engineering. Document-based processes are being replaced by digital artifacts, pedigreed data, and an Authoritative Source of Truth for a system across its life cycle. As traditional Design-Build-Test transitions to a Model-Analyze-Build methodology, digital models will proliferate throughout the enterprise and require novel validation processes earlier in the development timeline. A new definition for digital system model validation is proposed to address the identified shortcomings in existing guidance. The proposed validation framework leverages the Systems Modeling Language, use cases, requirements, test cases, and a custom profile as a proof-of-concept. A Small Unmanned Aerial System Reference Architecture and associated system models are used as the basis to investigate four individual use cases for systems in development and sustainment. The use case analysis demonstrates the manual inspection process and provides an impetus for increased automation to address expanding system complexity. Additionally, the framework suggests a spectrum of methods to assess quality, completeness, and consistency and provides a bridge between academic and real-world applications. The research supports the Department of Defense Digital Transformation objectives in an area with strong interest across the United States Air Force.

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release: 88ABW-2023-0306a