Systems Engineering and Standards

Systems Engineering and Standards

The Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) Systems Engineering and Standards offers a technical framework to enable sound decision making relative to trade studies, system performance, risk, cost and schedule, and also works with first responders and law enforcement communities to answer the basic question, “What equipment will do the job?”

Systems Engineering

A deliberate process to determine the right system and technology systems engineering is an interdisciplinary, methodical approach for designing and developing a system that meets stakeholder needs and remains affordable and sustainable over its entire life. Proper application of systems engineering principles and processes, tailored to the complexity and nature of a particular program, increases the likelihood of successfully delivering capability at the best cost.

Systems Engineering looks at the entire life of a new or enhanced capability, beginning early and throughout development, production, distribution, operation and maintenance, all the way to retirement and disposal. By guiding the engineering of complex or integrated technical solutions, Systems Engineering helps DHS program managers assess the complexity, risks, and operational and technical areas of potential solutions to decide on a best course of action for their program. It provides the technical foundation for DHS acquisition programs and works in concert with DHS program managers to effectively manage and integrate the technical effort of a program to ensure the right solution is delivered.

Systems Engineering delivers a range of capabilities to help DHS program managers, including expertise and enablers in human systems integration, architecture, and systems engineering and transition.


The DHS S&T Standards oversees the development and use of standards to ensure reliable, interoperable and effective technologies and processes and works closely with homeland security partners and standard-setting organizations.

Standards works with DHS components, program managers and other end users to identify standards and test methods that verify equipment performance. Wherever those standards and test methods do not exist, S&T facilitates their development. To ensure our communication with this diverse community of users, Office of Standards maintains the DHS Standards Council, with representatives from DHS components—the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Council, led by the Under Secretary for Science and Technology and the Standards Executive, supports many technical homeland security standards working groups within DHS to gather, analyze and maintain current information about standards and conformity assessment activities.

Standards improves the technology development and acquisition process to accelerate the delivery of technologies, ensure performance requirements are met and reduce the development risk. The office addresses issues including: biometrics; geospatial information; emergency management; personal protection and operational

Through participation in voluntary consensus standards development bodies such as the American Society for Testing and Materials and the National Fire Protection Association, the Standards ensures the availability and appropriateness of standards for homeland security mission needs.

 Standards represents DHS and works with a variety of standard-setting organizations. The following links offer background materials:

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