Space Systems Engineering Professional Development and Certification
Fisher, Gerard H.
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In the mid-1990s, the Federal Government pursued "Acquisition Reform," which resulted in significantly reduced government technical oversight of contractors. This caused less technical personnel to be hired in the government program offices for the last ten years. Recent investigations of space problems have recognized the need to revitalize the systems engineering workforce within the government program offices. Two years ago, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) embarked on the development of a professional development and certification program for space systems engineering. The NRO workforce is heterogeneous; it is comprised of military and civilian members of all DoD services as well as several intelligence community agencies. Our objective was to develop a program that maximized the synergy with parent-agency programs and avoided any redundant training requirements. A three-level certification program was established that required technical education, systems engineering experience, and systems engineering training. The training selected is a combination of existing NRO courses, offthe- shelf academic courses, commercial training classes, and newly developed classes. After the first year, over 375 employees have attended at least one training class and we are certifying systems engineers at the rate of 10-12 per month. The success of this program has led to potential expansion into other areas of the government.