Sign In
App icon


Available Now!
Get the App
Click Here to Continue Browser Session   ❯

Configuration Management


The Configuration Management process establishes and maintains the consistency of a system’s functional, performance and physical attributes with its requirements, design and operational information and allows technical insight into all levels of the system design throughout the system’s life cycle. Effective configuration management supports the establishment and maintenance of the functional, allocated and product baseline. Establishing rigorous configuration control enables the successful development, test, production, delivery and sustainment of the needed capability to the end user.

Configuration Management activities support:

  • Traceability of designs to requirements.
  • Proper identification and documentation of system elements, interfaces, and interdependencies.
  • Timely and thorough vetting and disposition of change requests.
  • Control and documentation of approved changes to baselines
  • Proper and timely incorporation of verified changes in all affected items and documentation.
  • Consistent and appropriate provisions in the Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) and related contract actions.
  • Consistency between a product and its design requirements, supporting documentation and associated production and sustainment systems.
  • A complete audit trail of design decisions and modifications.
  • Continued assurance of system supportability and interoperability, consistent with the approved acquisition and life-cycle sustainment strategies.


Configuration Management facilitates the orderly development of a system through establishment of the technical baseline (including the functional, allocated and product baselines), and their assessment and approval at various technical reviews and audits. A baseline is an agreed-upon description of the attributes of a product at a point in time, which serves as a basis for change. Upon approval, the technical baseline documentation is placed under formal configuration control. Through Configuration Management, the program identifies, controls and tracks changes to the technical baseline, ensuring changes occur only after thorough assessments of performance, cost and schedule impacts, as well as associated risks.

The following baselines are critical to executing Configuration Management:

Functional Baseline

Functional Baseline: Describes the system’s performance (functional, interoperability and interface characteristics) and the verification required to demonstrate the achievement of those specified characteristics. It is directly traceable to the operational requirements contained in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD). The Program Manager (PM) establishes Government control of the functional baseline at the System Functional Review (SFR) and verifies it through Functional Configuration Audits (FCA) leading up to the system-level FCA or the System Verification Review (SVR). Attributes of the functional baseline include:

  • Assessed to be achievable within cost and schedule constraints
  • Documentation of established interfaces between functional segments
  • Documented performance requirements traced to (draft) Capability Development Document (CDD) requirements
  • Reflects design considerations and clear linkage in the systems of systems (SoS) context
  • Documented verification requirements

Allocated Baseline

Allocated Baseline: Describes the functional and interface characteristics for all system elements (allocated and derived from the higher-level product structure hierarchy) and the verification required to demonstrate achievement of those specified characteristics. The allocated baseline for each lower-level system element (hardware and software) is usually established and put under configuration control at the system element Preliminary Design Review (PDR). This process is repeated for each system element and culminates in the complete allocated baseline at the system-level PDR. The PM then verifies the allocated baseline at the FCA and/or SVR. Attributes of the allocated baseline include:

  • All system-level functional performance requirements decomposed (or directly allocated) to lower-level specifications (configuration items (CI) for system elements)
  • Uniquely identified CIs for all system elements at the lowest level of the specification tree
  • All interfaces, both internal (between element CIs) and external (between the system under development and other systems), documented in interface control documents
  • Verification requirements to demonstrate achievement of all specified functional performance characteristics (element CI to element CI level and at the system level) documented
  • Design constraints documented and incorporated into the design

Product Baseline

Product Baseline: Describes the detailed design for production, fielding/deployment and operations and support. The product baseline prescribes all necessary physical (form, fit and function) characteristics and selected functional characteristics designated for production acceptance testing and production test requirements. It is traceable to the system performance requirements contained in the CDD. The initial product baseline includes "build-to" specifications for hardware (product, process, material specifications, engineering drawings and other related data) and software (software module design - "code-to" specifications). The initial system element product baseline is established and placed under configuration control at the system element Critical Design Review (CDR) and verified later at the Physical Configuration Audit. In accordance with DoDI 5000.02, Enc 3, sec. 8, the PM assumes control of the initial product baseline at the completion of the system-level CDR to the extent that the competitive environment permits. This does not necessarily mean that the PM takes delivery and acceptance of the Technical Data Package. Attributes of the product baseline include:

  • Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is complete.
  • The detailed design (hardware and software), including interface descriptions, satisfies the CDD or any available draft Capability Production Document (CPD) and pertinent design considerations.
  • Hardware, software and interface documentation are complete.
  • Key product characteristics having the most impact on system performance, assembly, cost, reliability, ESOH and sustainment have been identified.
  • Traceability from design documentation to system and system element verification requirements and methods is complete.
  • Manufacturing processes that affect the key characteristics have been identified, and capability to meet design tolerances has been determined.

Configuration Management Activities and Products


The program office and developer share responsibility for planning, implementing and overseeing the Configuration Management process and its supporting activities. The distribution of responsibilities between the program office and the developer varies, based on the acquisition strategy and the life-cycle phase.

Role of the Program Manager

The PM approves the Configuration Management Plan and should ensure adequate resources are allocated for implementing Configuration Management throughout the life cycle. The PM assesses the impact of proposed changes to a baseline, approves changes -- usually through a Configuration Control Board (CCB) (see MIL-HDBK-61 (Configuration Management Guidance) and SAE-GEIA-HB-649 (Configuration Management Standard Implementation Guide) for additional information), and ensures proper documentation of decisions, rationale and coordination of changes.

Role of the Systems Engineer

The Systems Engineer ensures Configuration Management planning is complete, and should document details and activities in the program’s Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) and the supporting Configuration Management Plan (CMP) (as appropriate). In accordance with DoDI 5000.02, Enc 3, sec. 8, the PM, with the support of the Systems Engineer, ensures that the configuration management approach is consistent with the Intellectual Property Strategy (See DAG CH 3–4.1.7. Technical Data Management Process).

Configuration Management Activities/Products

The CM process described in the DoD-adopted standard American National Standards Institute/Electronic Industry Association (ANSI/EIA)-649, Configuration Management Standard, consists of five interrelated functions that, when collectively applied, allow the program to maintain consistency between product configuration information and the product throughout its life cycle.

The five CM functions are:

  • Configuration Management Planning and Management
  • Configuration Identification
  • Configuration Change Management
  • Configuration Status Accounting
  • Configuration Verification and Audit

In addition, the DoD-adopted standard EIA-649-1, Configuration Management Requirements for Defense Contracts, implements the principles outlined in ANSI/EIA-649B for use by defense organizations and industry partners during all phases of the acquisition life cycle. It makes provisions for innovative implementation and tailoring of specific configuration management processes to be used by system suppliers, developers, integrators, maintainers and sustainers.


Key terms

Configuration Identification
Configuration Item (CI)
Configuration Management
Configuration Steering Board (CSB)

Source: DAU Glossary

Statutes, Regulations, Guidance

DASD(SE) Initiative

Value Engineering

DAU Training Courses

ACQuipedia Articles


Products and Tasks

Product Tasks
15-1-1: Develop engineering configuration management requirements
  1. Identify configuration items to be placed under government program office configuration management (CM).
  2. Identify the associated artifacts to be contained in the program’s technical baselines.
  3. Determine when in the acquisition life cycle the government program office will assume initial and full configuration control of its technical baselines.
  4. Develop a process diagram of how the program will maintain configuration control of its technical baselines.
  5. Define the roles, responsibilities, and authorities within the program’s CM process.
  6. Define the classification of changes applicable to the program.
  7. Verify and audit the system and its technical baselines.
  8. Integrate the program’s baseline assignments, CM responsibilities, CM process details, and audit methods in the program’s configuration management plan.
  9. Publish the program’s CM process and its management in the “configuration and change management” section of the program’s systems engineering plan (SEP).

Source: AWQI eWorkbook