In FY2008, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiated the Computational Research and Engineering Acquisition Tools and Environments (CREATE) program, a $360M program with a two-year planning phase and a ten-year execution phase. CREATE will develop and deploy three computational engineering tool sets for DoD acquisition programs to use to design aircraft, ships and radio-frequency antennas. The planning and execution of CREATE are based on the lessons learned from case studies of large-scale computational science and engineering projects. The case studies stress the importance of a stable, close-knit development team; a focus on customer needs and requirements; verification and validation; flexible and agile planning, management, and development processes; risk management; realistic schedules and resource levels; balanced short- and long-term goals and deliverables; and stable, long-term support by the program sponsor. Since it began in FY2008, the CREATE program has built a team and project structure, developed requirements and begun validating them, identified candidate products, established initial connections with the acquisition programs, begun detailed project planning and development, and generated the initial collaboration infrastructure necessary for success by its multi-institutional, multidisciplinary teams. © 2008 IOP Publishing Ltd.