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U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock today launched the National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSOSE), a nationwide resource for developing, coordinating and integrating research and engineering applications among government agencies, at Old Dominion University.

"We live in an increasingly complex, technological environment," remarked Schrock. "Our current capability in engineering complex systems is in an embryonic stage. The Department of Defense, our local Joint Forces Command and other institutions are grappling with these issues.

"The establishment of NCSOSE at Old Dominion University will bring together, for the first time, the best minds from academia, industry and government to solve these problems. NCSOSE will educate our System of Systems Engineers of tomorrow and assist decision-makers in establishing new policies for developing complex systems of systems.

"NCSOSE will bring high-paying, high-tech jobs to the Hampton Roads region, while improving our seaport security and military force protection."

NCSOSE is a collection of independent, nonprofit, engineering research and application organizations, government entities and universities that will solve problems, develop technologies and direct research to address the major issues in the integration of complex system of systems. It will be headquartered at Old Dominion University and will focus initially on seaport security and maritime force protection.

"As a leader in engineering research and education and a partner with the Department of Defense on many initiatives, Old Dominion University is well-prepared and qualified to take a principal role in this important endeavor," said Old Dominion President Roseann Runte. "We are excited and proud to be part of the solution to one of our country's more pressing needs."

System of systems engineering provides processes and technologies designed to get high-level, disparate systems - both technological and organizational - to function as an integrated complex system that produces desired results.

For example, to achieve a secure U.S. seaport requires many high-level systems, such as the Navy, Coast Guard, Port Authority, local law enforcement, Immigration and Naturalization Services, Customs and shipping enterprises, to work together and share information. Each of these agencies has its own organizational structure, technology base and communications systems that are not necessarily compatible with the other agencies' systems. System of systems engineering provides agencies with solutions for interoperability, platform integration and systems architecture.

According to Ralph Rogers, chair of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering ODU and director of NCSOSE, Old Dominion's primary mission will be to serve as an "honest broker" for the initiative. "Agencies will bring their problems to us and we'll refer them to the institution with the correct expertise to solve the issue - whether that's Old Dominion or another university, or some other organization or enterprise."

This article was posted on: October 22, 2002

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