Update on SAE EIA-649 Series of Configuration Management Standards

By Steve Easterbrook, CMPIC LLC

SAE International Standard, SAE-EIA-649 , “Configuration Management”, is the best-known industry standard for configuration management (CM). It covers the full scope of CM. It explains CM and provides the rationale for the various CM processes. It is applicable to both commercial and government environments. It addresses overall requirements for best CM practices but does not mandate the use of specific approaches, for example, specific configuration management requirements between an acquirer who is contracting with a supplier.

SAE EIA-649-1, “Configuration Management Requirements for Defense Contracts” is an SAE approved standard that specifically addresses "acquirer/supplier" CM requirements in the DoD. It uses SAE EIA-649 as its foundation. The purpose of EIA-649-1 is to provide a variety of standardized CM requirements that may be specified and written into defense contracts. If specific 649-1 requirements are called out in a suppliers contract, the contractor is then expected to follow those DoD requirements. This is similar to the approach taken when the DoD was calling out Military-Standard-973 in suppliers contracts (Note: MIL-STD-973 has been cancelled for many years now).

SAE EIA-649-2, “Configuration Management Requirements for NASA Enterprises” provides a "consistent and systematic set of requirements that are used for the management of Configuration Items (CIs) delivered to, or produced by NASA. It applies to all products produced by NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. This Standard may also apply to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and suppliers/service providers to the extent specified in their agreements with NASA. This Standard may be cited in the CM requirements of NASA Headquarters, NASA Centers, Programs, Projects, and Supplier agreements."

The Bottom Line: The 649 based “dash series” represent additional configuration management requirements associated with specific environments. Even though SAE-EIA-649 is the “parent” level standard to the defense specific SAE- EIA-649-1 standard and NASA specific SAE-EIA-649-2, they must be considered three different standards.

The “649-x" identifier has caused confusion, but the 649 committee wanted to do this to show that the 649-1 requirements, specific to DoD contracting, and 649-2 requirements specific to NASA, are based on best practices found in SAE-EIA-649.

Note: At the time of this writing 649 is at Revision “B” but there is a Rev "C" soon to be released in the next few months (Spring/Summer 2018). SAE-EIA-649-1 and 649-2 are still at their initial release.

If you are dealing with DoD you will be affected… time to start studying.

Join this conversation and others on the CMPIC® Configuration Management Trends LinkedIn group.