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ODU's National Centers for System of Systems Engineering Wins Three-Year Navy Training Contract

The Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SSC-LANT) has 700 engineers, technicians and technologists in Norfolk alone, who can benefit from training to address complex engineering problems using system of systems engineering.

With hundreds of engineers in Charleston, S.C., and New Orleans also needing the same training, SSC-LANT, and its parent organization in the Navy, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) turned to an organization with a track record of research and instruction in the complex engineering field.

SSC-LANT turned to Old Dominion University's National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSoSE), an enterprise center of the Batten College of Engineering and Technology. NCSoSE draws together academia, government and industrial organizations to resolve problems, develop technologies and direct research concerning major issues in the design, analysis and integration of complex system of systems.

NCSoSE has received a three-year, $2.4 million, sole-source, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract from the Navy to conduct hands-on training seminars for SSC-LANT staff members. This effort will help build up the contingent of qualified and trained engineers and technicians to address the urgent system of systems engineering needs of SSC-LANT.

As a sole-source provider, NCSoSE is now the only recognized provider in the world for system of systems engineering training for SSC-LANT, which recognizes the unique capabilities offered by NCSoSE.

Kevin MacG. Adams, principal research scientist at NCSoSE and the lead on this contract, said SPAWAR is responsible for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4-ISR) and space and information systems for the Navy.

The certificate program NCSoSE will conduct will be broken into four courses - Systems Engineering, Systems Theory, Complex Systems and System of Systems Engineering. The program will be capped off with a case study, incorporating what students have learned in the first four courses. The case study will consist of an actual problem that SSC-LANT will have its newly trained staff members help solve.

"Each one of the modules has, embedded in the training, examples that are relevant to the problem that we're going to address in the case study," Adams said.

In total, NCSoSE will conduct three training seminars per year, for15-20 SSC-LANT engineers and technologists, in each of the next three years. The net result will be a cadre of dozens of SSC-LANT employees who will receive system of system engineering certificate training.

NCSoSE Director Chuck Keating, an ODU engineering professor, said the hands-on nature of the learning will be beneficial for the engineers doing the training, and for SPAWAR.

"SPAWAR is getting not only the next generation of system of system engineers trained, but they're also getting a major technical problem addressed" because of the case study component of the course, Keating said.

System of system engineering doesn't involve expertise in any particular engineering domain.

"There's a great need for system of system expertise to deal with the complex interrelationships between these engineering disciplines," Adams said. He explained system of system engineering with a simple analogy.

"When you get pulled over by a police officer, and he pulls your information up on a screen, that's a system of systems," Adams said, noting that each different database the officer accesses was developed separately, but acts in tandem to provide a complete picture of the driver's history.

Keating said SSC-LANT understands the value of this type of certificate training, and acknowledges NCSoSE's expertise at providing it.

"It's recognition of the increasing complexity in the systems that SSC-LANT has to design, maintain and transition for the Navy," he said.

This article was posted on: November 16, 2010

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