An approach to engineering that uses models as an integral part of the technical baseline that includes the requirements, analysis, design, implementation, and verification of a capability, system, and/or product throughout the acquisition life cycle.
The third IDEF (IDEF2) was originally intended as a user interface modeling method. However, since the [node:1369] Program needed a simulation modeling tool, the resulting IDEF2 was a method for representing the time varying behavior of resources in a manufacturing system, providing a framework for specification of math model based simulations. It was the intent of the methodology program within ICAM to rectify this situation but limitation of funding did not allow this to happen. As a result, the lack of a method which would support the structuring of descriptions of the user view of a system has been a major shortcoming of the IDEF system. The basic problem from a methodology point of view is the need to distinguish between a description of what a system (existing or proposed) is supposed to do and a representative simulation model that will predict what a system will do. The latter was the focus of IDEF2, the former is the focus of IDEF3.
From the Wikipedia:
IDEF (Integration DEFinition) is a family of modeling languages in the field of systems and software engineering. They cover a wide range of uses, from functional modeling to data, simulation, object-oriented analysis/design and knowledge acquisition. These "definition languages" were developed under funding from U.S. Air Force and although still most commonly used by them, as well as other military and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, are in the public domain.