SBIRS Program Office

Part of the Space and Missile Systems Center located at Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo, California, the Space Based Infrared System Program Office is the center of the multi-billion dollar SBIRS development activities. Home to nearly 400 Government and contractor personnel, the SBIRS Program Office works together with multiple Department of Defense agencies and industry teams to produce the best space based infrared surveillance system for the nation.

SBIRS and the Big Picture -- Joint Vision 2010

Joint Vision 2010 is a Joint Chiefs of Staff initiative to provide the framework of how America’s Armed Forces will operate in the years to come. This vision focuses on achieving dominance across the range of military operations through the use of new operational concepts and providing a common direction to the Services within a joint framework of doctrine and programs. Out of this initiative, four operational concepts have been developed:

“The nature of modern warfare demands that we fight as a joint team. This was important yesterday, it is essential today, and it will be even more imperative tomorrow. JV 2010 provides an operationally based template for the evolution of the Armed Forces for a challenging and uncertain future. It must become a benchmark for service and unified command visions.”
— General Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Through this vision, the military will move toward a common goal: a joint force — persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict.

Air Force Global Engagement

One step below the JCS Joint Vision 2010 is the Air Force’s new strategic vision called “Global Engagement” which is designed to complement the Joint Vision 2010 initiative and serve as a blueprint for the Air Force of the 21st century where space, precision strike, rapid mobility and information warfare will play increasingly significant roles in defeating threats of the future.

As part of Global Engagement, the Air Force has identified its six core competencies: At the heart of Global Engagement is the commitment to fully integrate air and space into all Air Force operations and throughout its culture. Desert Storm demonstrated the benefit of space based platforms, and the Air Force is committed to providing the necessary space capabilities to joint forces commanders in the future.

SBIRS Strategic Plan

To implement the DoD Joint Vision 2010 and the Air Force’s vision of Global Engagement, the SBIRS Program Office is guided by a strategic plan to develop, deploy and sustain the best space based surveillance systems for the Nation.

-- Vision --

At the core of the SBIRS Strategic Plan is our vision statement: “PROVIDING THE WORLD’S BEST SPACE-BASED SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM FOR THE NATION.” This statement explains where the SBIRS Program Office wants to be in the future.

-- Mission --

In order to realize this vision, we must know what our mission is today and what defines our purpose. The SBIRS mission is to, “DEVELOP, DEPLOY AND SUSTAIN SPACE BASED SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM FOR MISSILE WARNING, MISSILE DEFENSE, BATTLESPACE CHARACTERIZATION, AND TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE.”

-- Goals and Objectives --

Our strategic goals and objectives help us improve our efficiency and effectiveness in the acquisition processes needed to field SBIRS. The SBIRS Program Office has identified three primary goals necessary for achieving our mission with multiple objectives behind each goal. A complete listing of the SBIRS Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives is located on the following page.

Space Based Infrared System


Providing the world’s best space based surveillance system for the nation

Develop, deploy and sustain space based surveillance systems for missile warning, missile defense, battlespace characterization, and technical intelligence
2. Enhance the excellence of our business practices 1. Make SBIRS mission execution affordable, reliable and routine for the warfighter 3. Enable our people to excel
1. Reduce workload by deleting lower priority, lower risk, non-value added program and functional processes, tasks and activities

2. Benchmark and improve our core business processes leveraging information systems technology

3. Develop and implement a set of indicators that tell the SBIRS Team (AFSPC, KTR & SPO) how we satisfy each others needs
1. Maintain customer required performance, quality and delivery dates within assigned budget, despite fiscal dynamics/pressures

2. Develop and implement a set of indicators to evaluate how well we are satisfying the warfighter’s operational needs
1. Engage our people to define and use information technology to improve their on-the-job effectiveness

2. Implement a more effective, comprehensive training program to develop the capabilities of our personnel

3. Ensure that our people understand and can articulate the key elements of our strategic plan and System of Systems Architecture

4. Improve supervisor and employee communication so employees can serve the organization as best they can while maximizing their own personnel and professional growth

This Strategic Plan has evolved through yearly “offsite” planning sessions as well as monthly working group meetings at all levels and continues to serve as a roadmap for improving our products and practices.

SBIRS Acquisition Reform

Gone are the days of huge defense budgets and massive Government oversight of contractor activities. Today’s acquisition professionals are tasked with the ever difficult job of procuring necessary weapon systems for the nation’s warfighters without the time, money or resources of days past, and the concept of doing “more with less” is not just a buzz-phrase, but a necessity. Attacking this challenge, the SBIRS Program Office has implemented an extensive number of cost saving and streamlining initiatives that have helped to reshape the way we do business. One of the key SBIRS acquisition reform efforts is the concept of giving the contractor Total System Performance Responsibility (TSPR). This method allows the contractor greater program flexibility and freedom to utilize their best commercial practices to develop systems. The contractor has the flexibility to alter the design without going through costly, time-consuming Government approval processes so long as the overall program objectives are still satisfied.

In order to make TSPR work, the SBIRS Program Office has greatly changed the way it operates. The number of Contract Data Requirement Lists has been significantly reduced on all SBIRS contracts, and contractor-formatted data is accepted instead of Government-specified documents. Military specifications and standards have been limited to only those required by law and commercial practices and standards have been utilized instead. Traditionally, the Government would issue a multi-page Statement of Work when beginning a new contract. Today, the SBIRS Program Office has instead begun using one-page Statement of Objectives, which emphasizes the “what” and not the “how.” In addition to reducing the number of contract deliverables, documents that are required submittals are done so electronically via dedicated data transfer lines or the internet. Another key to making TSPR work is treating Cost as an Independent Variable. This initiative interjects budget realities into the acquisition development cycle by requiring the Government to balance performance and utility against available funding.

The use of Integrated Product Teams is also a key element of acquisition reform. These teams bring together all key players throughout the development cycle to ensure that the product being developed will satisfy requirements and meet the overall needs of the warfighter.

Another element is the use of a Single Acquisition Management Plan to guide the entire development of a new system. The SAMP consolidated data contained in thousands of pages from Government documents and handbooks into one concise 36 page management plan, thus greatly simplifying the acquisition process. Cycle times for contracting actions have also been reduced. Source selections are using oral and video presentations instead of the traditional multiple volumes of technical documentation that required weeks to review. Concurrent fact finding is being used on changes to existing contracts to speed up the contract change process by having the Government and contractor teams work together prior to a formal contract change proposal submittal to resolve technical and resource issues, thus simplifying the negotiation process and reducing the time necessary to put items on contract. Also key to reducing cycle times is the delegation of the approval authority from Washington D.C. to the local level on all changes except the very large dollar valued actions.

All of these initiatives are helping to ensure that the SBIRS Program Office continues to deliver high quality products that satisfy warfighter requirements with fewer personnel and smaller budgets.


The technology used for early warning has advanced considerably since medieval times, but the utility of securing the high ground advantage remains to this day.

The Defense Support Program has served this country well for over 25 years, and the SBIRS architecture will continue to perform the vital missions of MISSILE WARNING, MISSILE DEFENSE, TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE AND BATTLESPACE CHARACTERIZATION in the early 21st century. SBIRS is an integral part of the Air Force and Department of Defense strategic visions for the Nation’s security and will provide flexible, affordable and reliable utility across the entire range of military applications.

The SBIRS Team understands its important role as America’s global sentry and is committed to providing the best Space Based Infrared System for the Nation.

Visit SBIRS on the Web at: http://www.laafb.af.mil/SMC/MT/SBIRS.htm