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Digital Engineering Information Exchange Model

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Written by John Coleman, Ph.D. (Email
Edited by Karen Register (Email )
Submitted November, 9, 2018

Concise Definition

A quantitative and qualitative representation based on model formalisms that characterizes the exchange of digital artifacts between various roles and organizations in the model-based engineering domain.


The Digital Engineering Information Exchange Model (DEIXM) is a representation of the quantitative and qualitative characterization of digital artifact exchanges in the Model-Based Engineering (MBE) domain between various roles and organizations. The DEIXM for the MBE domain addresses the exchange of both graphical and non-graphical information found in model-centric digital artifacts. The DEIXM for the MBE domain addresses the exchange of both graphical and non-graphical information found in model-centric digital artifacts. The MBE domain represents the methods, processes, tools, environments, and roles to conduct MBE operations for the full lifecycle of systems or products. The DEIXM is a prescriptive model of the concept of operations, scenarios, use cases, and information required to exchange model-centric digital artifacts between disciplines and organizations. The DEIXM uses formalism and semantics to describe the relationships, constraints, rules, and operations required to exchange MBE information. The DEIXM should represent a prescriptive information exchange model that characterizes some future version of the means by which an engineering community exchanges information.


The International Council on Systems Engineering’s (INCOSE) International Workshop (IW) 2017 highlighted the need to establish an accepted set of Digital Artifacts to help the Systems Engineering (SE) practice transform to a more model-based discipline. At the INCOSE IW 2017, the participants made requests to the INCOSE SE Transformation Team and the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Initiative to start a more enduring “Digital Artifacts” effort. INCOSE recommended standing up a Digital Artifacts Challenge Team for the INCOSE IW 2018 event. The United States (US) Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) collaborated with INCOSE to establish and conduct this Digital Artifacts Challenge team. As a result, to implement some of these concepts for standardizing digital artifacts exchanges, INCOSE, DoD (OSD), and National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) agreed to stand up a Digital Engineering Information Exchange (DEIX) Working Group to define information exchange requirements, models, standards, and terminology. This ConOps and Information exchange models for a DEIX enable a marketplace where participants in a global supply chain can offer, request, and exchange digital artifacts efficiently.


The Digital Engineering Information Exchange Model (DEIXM) provides a way to articulate the exchange of graphical and non-graphical digital artifacts among diverse stakeholders using digital technologies. The DEIXM describes how governments, industries, and academia offer, request, and exchange digital artifacts. The DEIXM also describes how the engineering community defines, creates, uses, and exchanges MBE digital artifacts during the full life cycle management of its systems and products. For any producer or consumer of engineering information, the DEIXM describes a way to leverage new digital technologies to visualize, communicate, and deliver MBE information to stakeholders. According to McDermott, et. al., the successful fulfillment of this purpose allows MBE information suppliers to insert their models into the buyers’ contextual framework and establish mutual agreements and comprehension of the components interfaces, interactions, and emergent behavior [1].

A DEIX Modeling Approach

A DEIX Modeling approach may use the Federal CIO Council’s Information exchange package documentation (IEPD) lifecycle for participants of the NEIM [2] and Robert Suzie and Choong-ho Yi’s approach to progress from Information Exchange Requirements (IER) to an Information Exchange Model (IEM) [3]. Based on these two approaches, the DEIX Modeling process should include 1) Use case for information exchange relationships, 2) Elicitation & formalization of Information Exchange Requirements (IER) models, 3) Creation of Information Exchange Elements (IEE), 4) Mapping IEEs to Information Exchange Standards (IES), 5) Building and validating the new IEM, and, 6) publishing and implementing an IEM. [See glossary for definitions]

The Use Cases for the DEIXM

During the course of an OSD chaired Digital Engineering Working Group (DEWG) meeting, the community of federal agencies, industry, and academia discussed four use cases for exchanging MBE information. These use cases for MBE information exchanges are as follows [4]:

Access to Digital Engineering Information Systems

The MBE Information Access Use Case gives stakeholders the ability to review the original MBE information in its native location by way of remote or onsite access to MBE information files and software. Under the Access Use case, the creators and owners maintain the primary source of the MBE information as an authoritative source of truth. The owners also, have authority to enter into binding agreements on the type and scope of access granted to its stakeholders. The stakeholders’ may use internet technology, information network technology, cloud technology, or any of the above to gain remote access to the source of MBE information. This allows the Creators and owners to grant access on a need-basis; thus, protecting their Intellectual property. Alternatively, the stakeholder has access to any MBE information for which both parties establish agreements. The access may include the ability to interactively manipulate, modify, or copy any MBE established by agreed terms and conditions.

Synchronization of Digital Engineering Information Systems

The synchronization use case allows the MBE information owners and creators to have one or more stakeholders with static versions, dynamic versions, interactive versions, or replicate versions of the MBE information. The parties agree to frequency and type of MBE information that they synchronize with its stakeholders’ systems. The MBE Information files may allow either unidirectional or bidirectional file synchronization. Again, unidirectional synchronization allows the creator and owner to manage the configuration of all of its replicate versions held by its stakeholders. Alternatively, it allows the stakeholders to have the most current “as-of-date” version of the files. The stakeholders may have “file reader’ versions of the software, API to convert the files to their software applications, or the duplicate version of software used by creators and owners. Bidirectional synchronization of files allows the creators, owners, and stakeholders to collaborate on MBE Information. However, it requires more rigorous processes and technologies to manage configuration control.

File Transfer of Digital Engineering Information Files

The use case for file transfers allows the owners to transfer MBE information files with the use of computer network technologies or delivery of digital media formats. In this use case, the stakeholders and the owners maintain the configuration control of their own files and take responsibility for the use and decisions made with their files. In this approach, the parties will agree on the content and file formats before the transfer. In most cases, if parties requests any updated files from another party; then, they will likely treat the requests as separate transactions.

Third-Party Management of Digital Engineering Information Exchanges

The Third Party Management use case allows that MBE information owners to deliver all MBE and related software to a trusted third party that can manage access, transfers, or synchronizations in perpetuity. This allows the stakeholders or system buyers to have unfettered access to the MBE information during the lifespan of the products or systems, and in some cases, beyond the system’s lifespan for historical reference or reuse in other systems. In the third party managed use case, the owners may receive royalties and all parties that use the MBE information release them from any liability associated with the future use of the information. All users of the MBE information subscribe to services for the use of the MBE information.

Common usage

  • “The DoD Systems Engineering office proposes a construct, the Digital Engineering Information Exchange Model (DEIXM), that can form the foundation for an agreed-upon approach across the aerospace and defense sectors of government, industry, and academia [5].”
  • “DEIX WG Digital Engineering Information Exchange (DEIX) Working Group aspires to ensure Digital Artifact conventions are transferable between complex systems based industries such as aerospace and defense, oil & gas, transportation, automotive, medical and utility industries [6].“
  • “The DEIX WG Digital engineering Information Exchange Working Group’s primary goal is to establish a finite set of digital artifacts that acquiring organizations and their global supply chains should use to request an exchange with each other as well as internally between teams/organizational elements [7].”


  • National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)
  • Joint Consultation, Command and Control Information Exchange Data Model (JC3IEDM)
  • Justice Information Exchange Model (JIEM®)
  • Health Information Exchange (HIE) Model

Similar concepts and definitions

Information modeling as stated on the International Association of Software Architects (IASA) Global website, describes the topic as follows:

“Information modeling in IT Architecture takes many forms, all of which have representations of entities and their relationships to one another: 1) Class diagrams: model the information required to build or maintain a system or component; 2) ER diagrams: data modeling specific for database design. 3) Information flow diagrams: indicates origin of data and its uses (process or systems) throughout either the enterprise, line of business (LOB) or system, depending on the context. 4) Data models: depending on level of detail, describes the entities and its relationships detailing attributes, types and multiplicity of an entity to other entities. And, 5) Data lifecycles: how data is created, used and retained (archived or destroyed) [8]“

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) as stated by NEIM Governance bodies’ website, describes the topic as follows:

“National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) is a common vocabulary that enables efficient information exchange across diverse public and private organizations…. Think of NIEM as a dictionary of agreed-upon terms, definitions, relationships, and [XML] formats that are independent of how information is stored in individual systems. The NIEM model includes community-specific elements, as well as core elements that are commonly agreed to by the communities who use NIEM [9].”

Joint Consultation, Command and Control Information Exchange Data Model (JC3IEDM) as stated in Wikipedia website, describes the topic as follows.

“Joint Consultation, Command and Control Information Exchange Data Model is a model that, when implemented, aims to enable the interoperability of systems and projects required to share Command and Control (C2) information. JC3IEDM is an evolution of the C2IEDM standard that includes joint operational concepts, just as the Land Command and Control Information Exchange Data Model (LC2IEDM) was extended to become C2IEDM. The program is managed by the Multilateral Interoperability Programme (MIP) [10].”


  1. “An Information Exchange Requirement (IER) is the description, in terms of characteristics, of the requirement to transfer information between two or more end users. The characteristics described include source, recipients, contents, size, timeliness, security and trigger. IERs are defined to be independent of the communications medium. An IER can express both current and future requirements, [3]”
  2. “An Information Exchange Element. (IEE) satisfies a number of IERs (at least one) and is represented in such format (e.g., XML, OWL) that makes it possible to compare/map to information exchange models and standards [3].”


[1] T. McDermott, P. Collopy, C. Paredis and M. Nadolski, “Enterprise System-of-Systems Model for Digital-Thread Enabled Acquisition,” Stevens Institute of Technology, Systems Engineering Research Center, Hoboken, NJ, 2018.

[2] Federal CIO Council, “Agency Information Exchange Functional Standards Evaluation: Adoption and Use of the National Information Exchange Model (NEIM),” Office of Management and Budget (OMB) , Washington, DC, 2010.

[3] R. Suzie and C.-h. Yi, “Information Exchange Requirements (IER) and Information Exchange Models (IEM),” in First International Workshop on Model Driven Interoperability for Sustainable Information Systems (MDISIS'08), Montpellier, France, 2008.

[4] P. Zimmerman, R. Gray, T. Henry, C. Gau Paganelli, C. McIntyre, J. Stankiewiez and I. Boulton, Interviewees, Digital Engineering Working Group (DEWG) Data Rights & Intellectual Propert Meeting. [Interview]. 24 April 2017.

[5] P. Zimmerman, “Exchanging Digital Artifacts for the Engineering Life Cycle,” 25 October 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[6] INCOSE, “Digital Engineering Information Exchange,” International Council on Systems Engineering, 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[7] J. H. Coleman, C. Schrieber, F. J. Salvatore and T. A. Peterson, “INCOSE Digital Engineering Informtion Exchange Working Group (DEIX WG) Charter,” 6 August 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[8] B. Reed, “Information Modeling,” IASA Global, 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[9] NEIM, “National Information Exchange Model Home Page,” NEIM, 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[10] Wikipedia, “JC3IEDM,” Wikipedia, 18 November 2017. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9 November 2018].

[11] ODSAD(SE), Office of Deputy Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, “Defense Acquisition Glossary,” Defense Acquisition University, 28 September 2007. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 22 May 2018].

mbse/digital_engineering_information_exchange_model_topic.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/10 15:05 by jcoleman