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Strategy Bridge

Systems Engineering Glossary

Term Definition

A proposed or potential requirement that has not been validated or approved.


An expression of a system, product, function, or process’ ability to achieve a specific objective under stated conditions.

Capability Gap

A deficiency in the ability of an organization to meet mission and enterprise needs.

Capability Requirement

A high-level requirement that describes the capabilities necessary to satisfy a compelling need or capability gap.

Change Management Plan

A document that outlines processes and responsibility for change management procedures and baseline creation.  It outlines retention practices and describes Change Management tools and their use.

Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)

Commercially available items that do not require the procuring organization to perform modifications to meet requirements.


A unique element within a system of interest.


A possible approach to providing a required capability.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

A document describing how a system operates during the life cycle phases to meet stakeholder expectations.  It describes the system characteristics from an operational point of view, stimulating the development of requirements and architecture as they relate to users of the system.  The CONOPS provides the basis for system validation.  Sometimes referred to as the Operational Concept (OPSCON).


A documented agreement by the designated authority that a proposed course of action is acceptable.


The systematic evaluation, coordination, and disposition of proposed changes once a configuration baseline is established.

Configuration Audits

Periodic reviews of the hardware, software, databases, and firmware configuration items and their associated documentation, to verify consistency between the implemented solution and the documentation.

Configuration Control Authority (CCA)

The person or organization authorized to make final decisions on changes to controlled configuration items.

Configuration Control Board (CCB)

A configuration management decision forum within an organization whose purpose is to disposition and authorize proposed baseline changes.

Configuration Identification

The identification of individual configuration items that comprise systems/ segments.

Configuration Item (CI)

A hardware or software item, (or a combination of both) with a defined function that is selected for 

Configuration Management (CM)

A process for establishing and maintaining consistence of baselines, approving and controlling changes, and recording and reporting changes in status of a product under development.

Configuration Management Plan (CMP)

A documented process for managing a system’s Configuration Items (CI) in a controlled way.

Configuration Status Accounting

A process for reporting information regarding the status of the established baseline and the proposed/ approved changes to that baseline.


A limitation placed on a system design by law, policy, physics, or other existing systems within which the solution must work.