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Standard WBS for Space System Cost Estimating

The NRO cost group provided a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for costing their projects. As quoted from the introduction:

“The standard WBS was developed to capture the costs of any NRO program, whether it is an operational space program, technology demonstration program, ground station upgrade, or a system of systems. It is structured to accommodate varying levels of detail in available data. This allows data to be reported at either lower levels or at higher levels, if lower level data are not available. The wide range of system engineering, integration and test, and program management levels within the WBS is a prime example of how data are reported at many different levels within a program.The standard WBS is designed to allow data reporting at whatever level they are recorded. Because of this versatility, some WBS elements may be repeated, such as the case of a satellite system that operates with two ground stations. For this situation, the costs for each ground station are reported separately via WBS elements 1.3a and 1.3b, and all lower level elements for each ground station will sum up to their respective ground station. The same scheme applies to multiple and dissimilar spacecraft within a program, which will be reported separately as “spacecraft a” and “spacecraft b”. Thus, there may be a number of elements in the standard WBS that are irrelevant to any individual program, but are necessary for the database structure to account for a varying level of cost data on disparate legacy programs. If cost data are sparse, they still may be mapped into appropriate higher levels of the WBS”

And as Bryn pointed out: another one from OSD The OSD CAIG also has a mandatory cost and software reporting for specified programs – basically the big ones (DoD 5000-04-M-1, April 18 2007) – with a reference to mandatory WBS structure (Data Item Description DI-MGMT-81334, “Contract Work Breakdown Structure,” current version).  More info available at

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