Science & Engineering

Spectrum Supportability Risk Assessment


Spectrum Supportability Risk Assessments (SSRA) is used to determine and document if adequate spectrum is available to support system operation in DoD, Allied, and Coalition operations. It documents and assesses operational spectrum supportability (SS) and electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) risks and the steps that need to be taken to mitigate these risks.

The SSRA assessment is provided to the Military Department (MILDEP) Spectrum Management Office (SMO) who will review the SSRA and forward their recommendations to the Service Chief Information Officer (CIO) for approval. A statement on the spectrum supportability of an acquisition is then forwarded to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA). Program Manager (PMs) should consult, as early as possible, with their respective MILDEP SMO regarding the application and tailoring of the SSRA, and to ensure that all user requirements are met.

  • Manages SS and E3 risks through systems engineering processes
  • Required for each milestone decision, updated for FRP and system upgrades
  • Each has a regulatory, technical, operational, and E3 component
  • Complex “system-of-systems” may require more than one SSRA

DoDI 4650.01“Policy for Management and Use of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.” requires system developers of spectrum dependent (S-D) systems and equipment to identify and mitigate regulatory, technical, and operational Spectrum Supportability (SS) and Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) risks during the development process. The instruction also requires that the SSRA be updated to provide increasing levels of detail as the item’s design matures. The SSRA constitutes the basis for MDA determinations of spectrum supportability and provides increasing levels of detail regarding a system’s regulatory, technical, and operational requirements in Initial, Detailed, and Updated SSRAs.

The detail and scope of each SSRA depends upon the system’s entry point into the Defense Acquisition System, the complexity of the system, knowledge of the S-D systems to be acquired or integrated, and the intended operational EME. In general, each PM is required to prepare and submit an SSRA when the acquisition includes or incorporates an S-D system or equipment, including commercial items (CI) and Non-Developmental Items (NDI) that are S-D.

REGULATORY: Applicable to all systems/equipment that use the electromagnetic spectrum in the United States and in other host nations. The SSRA is due at milestone reviews and prior to requesting authorization to operate (for other than testing) in the United States or in host nations. [1]

Submission of SSRAs

SSRAs are to be prepared, updated, and submitted for approval to the appropriate Service review authority prior to each acquisition MS and readiness reviews.

1st Submission of SSRA

  • Prior to MS A, when applicable, with the components described earlier.
  • Evaluates the acquisition’s spectrum needs vs national and international spectrum regulatory requirements and availability as well as the ESC stage and status of possible candidate S-D systems.
  • Operational requirements, as stated in the Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement (JUONS) or ICD, and the potential for technical issues, including E3, are to be assessed.

2nd Submission of SSRA

  • Prior to MS B.
  • Increase details in the Regulatory, Technical, Operational, and E3 components of the first SSRA based on new data and program maturity.
  • Discuss impact to system operation; potential risks and mitigation measures.
  • Operational EME should support early tailoring and development of E3 test requirements in the request for proposal and other acquisition documents during the Development Stage of the DAS.

3rd Submission of SSRA

  • Prior to MS C.
  • Components of the second SSRA are updated with more detailed spectrum and E3 analyses.
  • A Stage 4 ESC is required for this SSRA for ALL of the S-D items that are part of the acquisition program.
  • Operational EMEs should be refined; spectrum and E3 risks reduced to acceptable levels through mitigation measures and/or TTPs.

4th Submission of SSRA

  • Prior to Full Rate Production (FRP).
  • Components of the third SSRA should be updated with completed spectrum and E3 analyses.
  • This SSRA addresses final guidance from the ESC and, when applicable, HNC processes as well as changes to U.S., Federal, or civil regulations impacting the system’s frequency bands.
  • Risks should have been reduced to acceptable levels.

Updated SSRAs – SSRAs are to be updated as follows:

  • For production and fielded systems to reflect changes to the S-D system or equipment spectral output, its operational deployment, HN regulations, or modifications and upgrades of the integrated system, family of systems (FoS) or system of systems (SoS).
  • For readiness reviews
  • System is ready for operational deployment.

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