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Program Protection and System Security Engineering

Systems engineering (SE) is a methodical and disciplined approach for the specification, design, development, realization, technical management, operations, and retirement of a system. SE integrates and balances contributions from engineering disciplines. One of these disciplines is Program Protection/System Security Engineering.

DoD systems have become increasingly networked, software-intensive, and dependent on a complicated global supply chain, which has increased the importance of security as a systems engineering design consideration. In response to this new reality, the DoD has established Program Protection/System Security Engineering as a key discipline to protect technology, components, and information from compromise through the cost-effective application of countermeasures to mitigate risks posed by threats and vulnerabilities. The analysis, decisions, and plans of Acquisition Programs are documented in a Program Protection Plan, which is updated prior to every Milestone decision.

Key Definitions

Program Protection is the Department's "integrating process for mitigating and managing risks to advanced technology and mission-critical system functionality from foreign collection, design vulnerability, or supply chain exploitation/insertion, battlefield loss, and unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure throughout the acquisition lifecycle" (DAG Chapter 13).

System Security Engineering is "an element of system engineering that applies scientific and engineering principles to identify security vulnerabilities and minimize or contain risks associated with these vulnerabilities." (DoD Instruction 5200.44).



Acquisition Regulations

  • DFARS Clause 252.204-7012, "Safeguarding Unclassified Controlled Technical Information": Rule Text

Papers and Presentations

Collaboration with Industry

DoD has teamed with the NDIA Systems Security Engineering Committee, the NDIA Cyber Division, and the INCOSE Systems Security Engineering Working Group to grow the SSE community and advance the practice of SSE across the DoD. For additional information about the DoD SSE Initiative, contact us.

Papers and briefings are reprinted with permission from: IEEE Systems Council | International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) | National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).