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Global Positioning Systems Wing Awards Systems Engineering and Integration Contract

Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR, supported by the 2nd and 19th Space Operations squadrons at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Image courtesy of Lockheed-Martin for Department of Defense and media publications; use for commercial purposes is prohibited.


Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Global Positioning System (GPS) program office awarded a new contract for Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) to the Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) team, March 7. This contract is a important new direction for Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) program execution. 

The SE&I contracting approach marks a paradigm shift in how the Air Force manages space development acquisition programs and will be implemented across SMC in the future. Previously, the Air Force used contracted provided systems engineering staff in a "level-of-effort" fashion to augment the government staff in accomplishing the systems integration function for the entire GPS enterprise. 

Under the new contract model, the Air Force continues to serve as "lead systems integrator" while the contractor will have specific responsibilities and deliverable products. The government will form joint work plan assignments at the squadron level with peers from the SE&I contractor, Aerospace Corporation, and MITRE Corporation. In turn, the program teams assign engineering resources to GPS Wing priorities using documented work plans and products. This teaming paradigm will renew the work focus to the highest priority tasks with an agile systems engineering work force that actively develops and manages GPS capabilities. In addition, this work plan with a product-orientated focus will ensure engineering process discipline, interface and configuration control, test verification rigor, and consistency across the entire GPS program and organization. Each member on the GPS engineering team (AF, SAIC team, Aerospace, and MITRE) will understand the GPS mission, understand their part in that mission, and will have a shared responsibility and accountability to make sure the GPS mission is successful.

The need for a new SE&I contract results from increased modernization activity in virtually every element of the GPS enterprise. The GPS program office is directing major developments in the space, control, and user equipment groups. As "lead systems integrator," the Air Force retains full responsibility, authority, and accountability for the system-wide engineering and integration of the entire GPS enterprise. This responsibility spans the GPS "system-of-systems" from the individual segments (space, control, & user) across the entire development cycle (early development, production, and fielding units). In this context, the SE&I contractor will perform as a valuable member of the government team, providing specific contract deliverables rather than level-of-effort manpower. Furthermore, the government-led team extends to the hardware developers, which requires SE&I cross-segment integration. From the specification of requirements to the production of systems that fulfill these requirements, the government-led team will define clear roles and responsibilities to sustain and modernize the world's preeminent satellite navigation system.

The GPS program office looks forward to the establishment of a long term relationship with our new SE&I partner. The SAIC team includes: LinQuest, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Loral Space Systems, Ducom Inc, Epsilon Systems Solutions, Inc, Integrity Applications Inc, MacAulay Brown, Inc, MCR Federal Inc, Munoz Engineering Inc (MEI) Technologies, Overlook Systems Technologies Inc, Saalex Solutions Inc, and Teledyne Brown Engineering. The entire team brings a wealth of SE&I experience along with space hardware and software development experience.

The U.S. government fully recognizes that GPS has become integral to civilian and military users worldwide. The commitment by the Air Force for the management of operations, development, and planning for the future of GPS is a top priority. The award of the new SE&I contract for the support of the GPS program office, at SMC in Los Angeles, California reaffirms this commitment, and represents a natural progression in the Air Force's trustworthy stewardship of GPS.