Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center (AFMC)

Los Angeles Air Force Base, California 90245

Acquisition Management


This regulation establishes policies and procedures and assigns responsibilities for SMC program offices to obtain an independent assessment of mishap risk reduction activities.

1. Policy

All SMC program offices shall obtain an independent assessment of mishap risk reduction activities for every segment of the program that may present a hazard to operating personnel/equipment.

2. Background

Each SMC program office ensures mishap risk reduction efforts are accomplished to identify and control hazards to personnel and equipment. These SMC program office mishap risk reduction programs must be evaluated by an independent agent through the performance of a safety compliance review of plans, designs, analysis, tests, inspection and other related activities. Potential hazards such as design deficiencies, unsafe acts, and procedural errors must be identified and eliminated or controlled. This independent evaluation and assessment is necessary to provide assurance that activities are conducted to identify and control hazards.

The Directorate of Program Management, Health and Safety Division (SMC/SDZ) conducts process effectiveness reviews to ensure the mitigation of health, systems, and operational hazards in order to prevent hardware loss and personnel injury. Areas supported also include compliance with laws, executive orders, publications and standards, and special interest items as they pertain to a system.

This publication ensures that differences in data, methodology or results between the program office and the independent assessment are resolved as early as possible in the program to avoid major conflicts and delays in system design, integration and scheduling which may result in cost increases. Ideally, the independent assessment provides unbiased evaluation of the program office safety effort and provides the program director with insight into mishap risks that must be accepted or controlled prior to operation.

The NASA Space Transportation System (STS) safety review process will serve the purpose of the independent assessment required by this policy for STS missions.

3. Definitions

Independent Assessment: An assessment performed by an agent outside the management control of the evaluated program office. The assessment evaluates program office mishap risk reduction activities and encompasses all spacecraft, launch vehicle, ground system and ballistic missile equipment and facilities that may present a hazard to operating personnel/equipment.

To evaluate the program office effort, and to provide for timely corrective action, the independent assessment may be accomplished as part of the phased safety review process described in SMCR 127-8, Vol. 1 "Safety Certification Procedures for Department of Defense National Space Transportation System Payloads," and Vol. 2 "Launch/Space Test Safety Approval Process for Expendable Launch Systems and Payloads."

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

a. An Independent safety assessment shall be performed by a review team designated by the program director. SMC/SDZ will have a voting representative on the team. (Programs required to meet the Non-nuclear Munitions Safety Board (NNMSB) review requirements may meet independent assessment requirements through that review process.)

b. Each SMC program director shall establish with the assistance of SMC/SDZ the scope of the independent safety assessment. The assessment will be completed no later than 30 days after the Critical Design Review (CDR), or other final design review.

c. Each SMC program director shall review the findings of the independent assessment not later than 30 days after the assessment is delivered. The SMC program director shall brief any disagreements with the independent safety assesssment findings to the SMC Commander.

d. SMC/SDZ will ensure that safety assessment policy is established, and will assit program directors in implemention of that policy, in accordance with this regulation. Program directors will ensure that assessment results are included as an integral part of each program readiness review.

e. Instructions for applying and executing this regulation are provided by SMC Regulation 540-15 (Systems Engineering Policy). Any program director who does not apply and execute this regulation, as required by SMCR 540-15, shall immediately request a waiver from the Commander.

Edward P. Barry, Jr.

Lieutenant General, USAF