Archives for July 6, 2015

Teaching students how to live with military research, development and procurement

The US has the world’s best military equipment – the premier defense industry base – the biggest procurement budget – and hence the most byzantine acquisition system. The bane of every Secretary of Defense since Robert McNamara, the system and laws have been a favorite hobby of the US Congress to improve, regulate, monitor and adjust.

As much as that system affects Missouri S&T in research – it affects the lives of our recent graduates who work in industry and try to sell to the US federal government.  Two local heroes have stepped forward to ease the strange and strenuous process – Mr. Mike Cress from Fort Leonard Wood and Dr. Steve Corns from Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. Together they have cobbled together an academically unique approach that helps prepare future defense industry employees to contribute to the stressful and protracted game that is military procurement.

The most comprehensive approach is to look at a system of systems – and of all disciplines Systems Engineering is most adept at that. Systems Engineering has strong roots with the U.S. Department of Defense, and with the help of James Cress at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Missouri S&T students are getting first hand experiential learning of why that relationship is so important. For the past four semesters, Mr. Cress has acted as a faux government contact for the class project for the Systems Engineering and Analysis course. Working with Dr. Steven Corns, he has developed real-world class projects and provided the information necessary for the students teams to successfully experience firsthand how a systems engineering project comes together. This provides both the tools and experience for students to succeed in the increasingly complex engineering environments found in industry, both defense and non-defense related.

Steve Corns

Dr. Steve Corns