Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) (glossary)

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A systems engineering plan (SEP) is a "living" document that captures a program's current and evolving systems engineering strategy and its relationship with the overall program management effort. The SEP purpose is to guide all technical aspects of the program. It should be established early in the Materiel Solution Analysis phase and updated continually. (DAU 2012)


DAU 2012. "Systems Engineering Plan (SEP)." (online). Virginia, USA: ACQuipedia. Your Online Acquisition Encyclopedia. Accessed on 11 September 2012. Available at:


In many contexts, the Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) and Systems Engineering Management Plan (SEMP) are used interchangeably, to refer to the highest level technical plan. However, in the context of the U.S. Department of Defense the context, intent, and content of these documents are quite different:

  • The SEP is a high-level plan that is made before the system acquisition and development begins. It is written by the government customer.
  • The SEMP is the specific development plan written by the developer (or contractor).

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