In recent years the demand for high technology systems has increased, and so has the complexity of these systems. Examples are IT & Telecommunications systems, air traffic control systems, intelligent transport systems (e.g. tolling), as well as a great variety of defence systems.
To match this demand, and to remain competitive internationally, Australia needs to establish and maintain systems engineering practices to world class standards. SESA acts as a catalyst in meeting this objective, providing a forum for the discussion and improvement of systems engineering practices in Australia, and a clearing house for Australian and international systems engineering information and trends.
SESA has its origins in the Victorian Systems Engineering Branch of the Institute of Engineers, Australia (IEAust)#, which was formed in 1990. In September 1994, a small group of interested parties launched an initiative towards the formation of an Australian systems engineering association. The network quickly grew to exceed 250, and an informal inaugural meeting was held in Canberra on the 2 December 1994 to formulate the best way ahead. The meeting resulted in the formation of small working parties in several Australian cities to further develop a National position for an association for Systems Engineering in this country.
Several options were analysed, and the best solution arrived at was the formation of a new Technical Society within the IEAust#. The main reason for this was:
The Association needs to have national credibility in Australia in order to influence Systems Engineering Culture, and
An international window is necessary for the Association to keep abreast of and contribute to world's best practice in systems engineering.
Other options that were canvassed, but not agreed to by the majority attending the meeting included:
The formation of one or more Australian chapters of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
The formation of an independent association, and
The formation of a technical society of the IEAust with no international affiliations.
SESA was formalised as a Technical Society of the IEAust# in October 1995 and was launched at a very successful one day conference held in Sydney in October 1995.
Over the years, SESA has had various affiliation agreements with the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). At the SESA 2011 Annual General Meeting, a motion was put to the SESA membership for SESA to merge with the Australian Chapter of INCOSE, and for SESA to become the recognised INCOSE Chapter of Australia whilst remaining a Technical Society of Engineers Australia. This motion was passed and a Memorandum of Understanding between INCOSE and Engineers Australia was signed in January 2012 by Samantha Robitaille (INCOSE President) and John Anderson (Engineers Australia Director of Engineering Practice & CPD).
#Now known as Engineers Australia