U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Breadcrumb

  1. Home
  2. Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element - Sustaining Engineering

Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element - Sustaining Engineering

DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION

One of the 12 Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements. Technical tasks (engineering and logistics investigations and analyses) to ensure continued operation and maintenance of a system with managed risk. This involves identification, review, assessment, and resolution of deficiencies throughout a system's life cycle. Implementation of selected corrective actions to include configuration or maintenance processes, and monitoring of sustainment health metrics include: • Collection and triage of all service use and maintenance data, • Analysis of safety hazards, failure causes and effects, reliability and maintainability trends, and operational usage profiles changes, • Root cause analysis of in-service problems (including operational hazards, deficiency reports, parts obsolescence, corrosion effects, and reliability degradation), • Development of required design changes to resolve operational issues, • Other activities necessary to ensure cost-effective support to achieve peacetime and wartime readiness and performance requirements over a system's life-cycle.

General Information

Background

Sustaining Engineering spans those technical tasks (engineering and logistics investigations and analyses) to ensure continued operation and maintenance of a system with managed risk.  Sustaining engineering involves the identification, review, assessment, and resolution of deficiencies throughout a system's life cycle.  Sustaining engineering returns a system to its baseline configuration and capability and identifies opportunities for performance and capability enhancement.  It includes the measurement, identification and verification of system technical and supportability deficiencies, associated root cause analyses, evaluation of the potential for deficiency correction and the development of a range of corrective action options.  Typically, Business Case Analyses and/or life cycle economoic analysis are performed to determine the relative costs and risks associated with the implementation of various corrective action options.  

Sustaining Engineering also includes the implementation of selected corrective actions to include configuration or maintenance processes and the monitoring of sustainment health metrics to include:  

  • Collection and triage of all service use and maintenance data
  • Analysis of safety hazards, failure causes and effects, reliability and maintainability trends, and operational usage profiles changes
  • Root cause analysis of in-service problems (including operational hazards, deficiency reports, parts obsolescence, corrosion effects, and reliability degradation)
  • The development of required design changes to resolve operational issues
  • Other activities necessary to ensure cost-effective support to achieve peacetime and wartime readiness and performance requirements over a system's life-cycle

Sustaining Engineering also includes technical surveillance of critical safety items, approved sources for these items, and the oversight of the design configuration baselines. This is basic design engineering responsibility for the overall configuration including design packages, maintenance procedures, and usage profiles for the fielded system to ensure continued certification compliance. Periodic technical review of the in-service system performance against baseline requirements, analysis of trends, and development of management options and resource requirements for resolution of operational issues should be part of the sustaining effort.

Importance

Once the weapon system is fielded, achieving the support concept, and sustaining operational capability requires the involvement of the logistics, engineering, testing, program management, contracts, supply chain, and financial management experts. The overall product support strategy, documented in the Life-Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP)/Product Support Strategy, should include life-cycle support planning and address actions to assure long-term sustainment and continually improve product affordability for programs in initial procurement, reprocurement, and post-production support. A performance-based product support process will be used to align the support activities necessary to meet these objectives.

In today’s world with the fast pace of technology, process, and skill-based changes, a continuous challenge to improve, upgrade, prevent or simply refresh the technical foundations of a weapon system confronts the PM/PSM. The sum of the technical activities (primarily maintenance and activities typically aligned to systems engineering areas), along with supporting activities such as financial, supply chain, etc., necessary to ensure the weapon system continues to meet user requirements and program KPP/KSAs is known as Sustaining Engineering.

 

Responsible Activities

At the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) level, there are several offices that serve as proponents for issues related to Sustaining Engineering: