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Acquisition Program Resources

Systems Engineering Standards

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) ASSIST database is the official source for specifications and standards used by the Department of Defense (DoD). Standardization management activities use ASSIST to develop, coordinate, and manage defense and federal specifications and standards, military handbooks, commercial item descriptions, data item descriptions, and related technical documents prepared in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Defense Standardization Program (DSP).

In addition to DoD-prepared documents, ASSIST includes U.S.-ratified international standardization agreements, such as NATO Standardization Agreements. The ASSIST website provides free public access to most technical documents in the database, and the ASSIST Shopping Wizard provides a way to order documents from the DODSSP (DoD Single Stock Point) that are not available in digital form.

In addition, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering (ODASD(SE)) represents DoD as a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (U.S. TAG) for Subcommittee 7 (SC7), Software and Systems Engineering, of the International Organization for Standardization/ International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1), Information Technology. SC7 develops standards that encompass processes for Life Cycle Management for software and systems engineering.

  • ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288: Systems and software engineering–System life cycle processes (2015)
    ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 establishes a common framework of process descriptions for describing the life cycle of systems created by humans. It defines a set of processes and associated terminology from an engineering viewpoint. The processes can be applied at any level in the hierarchy of a system's structure, and selected sets of processes can be applied to manage and perform the stages of a system's life cycle. This involves all stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction. ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 also provides processes that support the definition, control, and improvement of the system life cycle processes that organizations and projects use when acquiring and supplying systems. ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 concerns those systems that are man-made and may be configured with one or more of the following system elements: hardware, software, data, humans, processes (e.g., processes for providing service to users), procedures (e.g., operator instructions), facilities, materials, and naturally occurring entities. The Department of Defense adopted the ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 on July 7, 2015. This standard is available for purchase via ISO and agreement with IEEE.
  • IEEE 15288.1: IEEE standard for application of systems engineering on defense programs (2015)
    IEEE 15288.1 provides requirements for the application of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, “Systems and software engineering–system life cycle processes,” for defense systems engineering needs. This standard is intended to be used together with ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 and IEEE 15288.2, “Standard for Technical Reviews and Audits on Defense Programs” on contract, tailored as required, to express the government requirements for systems engineering. The Department of Defense adopted the ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288.1 on June 5, 2015. This standard is available for purchase from the IEEE Standards Store. This standard is available at no charge to DoD military and civilian employees through the Defense Logistics Agency ASSIST database without charge (instructions for access).
  • IEEE 15288.2: IEEE standard for technical reviews and audits on defense programs (2015)
    IEEE 15288.2 provides requirements for technical reviews and audits to be performed throughout the acquisition life cycle for DoD and other defense agencies. This standard implements the Technical Assessment process of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, System Life Cycle Processes, to provide the definition, description, and intent, as well as the entry/exit/success criteria, for each technical review and audit. It is to be used to establish agreement between acquirers and suppliers on the technical reviews and audits that are needed for the project, as well as the focus and expectations of each. It is intended to be used together with ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 and IEEE 15288.1, Standard for Application of Systems Engineering on Defense Programs, on contract, tailored as required, to express the government requirements for technical reviews and audits. The Department of Defense adopted the ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288.1 on June 5, 2015. This standard is available for purchase from the IEEE Standards Store. This standard is available at no charge to DoD military and civilian employees through the Defense Logistics Agency ASSIST database without charge (instructions for access).
  • ISO/IEC/IEEE 24748-4: Systems and software engineering–Life cycle management–Part 4: Systems engineering planning (2016)
    ISO/IEC/IEEE 24748-4 focuses on the processes required for successful planning and management of a program’s systems engineering effort. The standard provides a requirement for a Systems Engineering Management Plan (SEMP) as the key vehicle for representing a program's application of system life cycle processes. The SEMP describes the contractor's overall technical approach and plan for the conduct, management, and control of the integrated engineering effort. ISO/IEC/IEEE 24748-4 defines the SEMP content and recommendations for the format and should be used in conjunction with the Data Item Description (DID) DI-SESS-8178, Systems Engineering Management Plan, for development of the SEMP. Department of Defense adopted the ISO/IEC/IEEE 24748-4 standard on October 1, 2016. It is available for purchase via ISO and agreement with IEEE.