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The DoD PSM’s Role in Technical Data Development

As one of the 12 Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements, Technical Data is critical for the operation and long-term sustainment of DoD systems. The procurement of technical data, which consists of…

The DoD PSM’s Role in Technical Data Development

The DoD PSM’s Role in Technical Data Development
Shawn Harrison
As one of the 12 Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements, Technical Data is critical for the operation and long-term sustainment of DoD systems. The procurement of technical data, which consists of three subcategories of product definition data, product associated information, and product operational information, is guided by the program’s Product Support Strategy (PSS) articulated first in the Acquisition Strategy and then in the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP). The Intellectual Property (IP) Management Plan for Product Support, an LCSP annex, supports management of product definition data, while other annexes/plans guide management of Technical Data not associated with IP.

PSMs must pay careful attention to all Technical Data; however, two products of particular importance during system development are Technical Manuals and the Technical Data Package (TDP). Technical Manuals, which are product operational information, are frequently procured using the S1000D Interactive Electronic Technical Manual specification and require a comprehensive set of business rules, style sheets, and a common source database. Their development is overseen by Government technical manual manager(s) on the PSM IPT, in conjunction with using command and depot SMEs for the creation, contractor certification, and Government verification on onboard system displays and portable devices (e.g., tablets and ruggedized laptops).

The TDP, which is product definition data, is procured using MIL-STD-31000B Technical Data Packages and includes models, drawings, associated lists, etc. and is typically managed by the Systems Engineering and configuration management team, along with member(s) from the PSM IPT and engineering data managers in sustainment organizations. The TDP, with appropriate license rights, enables organic and/or competed depot maintenance and supply support, allowing the PSS to adapt over time.

Technical data should figure prominently in the Request for Proposal and source selection, and once on contract, in the Integrated Baseline Review, systems engineering technical reviews, and milestone decisions. Once a program approves Milestone C (or equivalent decision point) and enters production, much of the Government’s leverage is expended, so the wise PSM will identify and articulate technical data issues and risks early to the PM, Contracting, and Legal team to facilitate resolution.

Finally, while practitioners may closely associate Technical Data with IP, it is important to note that not all Technical Data is IP. Technical Data includes Government developed and managed standards, operational and in-service data, technical bulletins, technical manuals, technical assistance requests and engineering investigation reports, etc. not associated with IP. As such, the PSM may need to develop additional strategies and plans to effectively manage such data throughout the system life cycle.

To learn more about Technical Data management, consult a recent blog on the subject and the IPS Element Guidebook, as well as several related learning assets including LOG 2150 Technical Data Management online training course and CLCL 010 Technical Data Management Credential.