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July 20, 2011: Challenges and Opportunities for Systems Engineering from a DoD Perspective

by Communications Team on July 27, 2011  •   Print This Post Print This Post   •   


After the Business Part of the meeting, Don York, Programs Director, introduced Mr. Stephen P. Welby; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering. Mr. Welby starting his talk by thanking all the Systems Engineers in the audience (which was a vast majority) for being such optimist and dreamers. Systems Engineers change the world into a better place. And our country is in desperate need for more Systems Engineers. Challenges from a Global Perspective like finding reliable and sustainable power; addressing environmental concerns; fixing the aging infrastructure; creating affordable medical care; growing clean and abundant food; providing a secure environment (military, economic, and political ). And what role does the United States play in addressing these challenges? We are a nation of builders – from Rail Roads to Space Travel – and we have innovation on our side.

Focusing on the Secure Environment challenge, Mr. Welby explained how DoD is the world’s largest SE organization with 93,000 uniformed and civilian Engineers. Then he proceeded to explain:

I. The three Systems Engineering Challenges

A. Managing Complexity

  • The corruption of the Engineering Design Process

Engineering specializations (i.e. Mechanical, Electrical, Software, etc.) have created tribes, with separate languages. Designs are now beyond what one individual can hold in their mind. And Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) have been putting out Designs by Committee with a diffusion of responsibility.

  • The decrease use of Engineering Fundamentals
  • The inadequacy of tools to handle “Systems of Systems”

B. Managing Risk

2011_07_20_Wilby-n-York.jpgThe goal is not to eliminate risk but to provide decision makers with adequate information to weigh the risks. We don’t want to be adverse to risk but more aware of the risk involved.

C. Growing Future Engineering Leaders

  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Leadership

II. The three Systems Engineering Opportunities

A. Better Tools

B. New Approaches to Engineering Education

C. Growing an Engineering Culture

Each point was well elucidated and gave the listeners much to ponder.

>>Download his presentation HERE<<

Afterwards Mr. Wilby answered a few questions and helped select the Door Prize which went to the Board Member — George Anderson. Again randomness seems to favor our Board in winning these prizes.


The Board of Directors and Committee members gathered for a Photo Op as they basked in the glow of the 2010 Gold Circle award and the Most Improved Performance award from corporate INCOSE.


This was a very successful meeting and enjoyed by all who attended. Please join us next month to be part of the Gold Circle awarded INCOSE Chapter.

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