Title: Educating the Mission Engineer
Author(s): Andres Sousa-Poza; Old Dominion University
Mission engineering resides between the boundary of engineering or systems engineering and the expectations set by users, i.e. the mission. In traditional or simple engineering endeavors, the role at this interface might well be described as expectation management. This would, however, be a gross oversimplification of the mission engineering function, given the complex, large-scale endeavors that mission engineering is to support. Old Dominion University has been working to identify the conceptual capabilities that a mission engineer must posses. The mission engineer must be able to: (1) comprehend a proposed solution’s architecture as it is defined by the mission, (2) understand the nature of engineering and systems engineering designs, including the conditionality that this imposes on any solution, and (3) govern the gap between the mission and the engineered solution. Old Dominion University has identified the topics relevant to a practicing mission engineer with the assistance of NSWC. A portfolio of educational opportunities has been developed based on this information, including a masters-level, credit-bearing course in Mission Engineering and Analysis, a graduate certificate in Mission Engineering and Analysis, and a master-level mission engineering focused, systems engineering degree that are all accepted by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). The courses, certificate, and degree are offered by the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department in collaboration with the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development, and are augmented by Old Dominion University’s Distance Learning Division extensive capabilities. This partnership makes an extremely flexible delivery possible. Depending on the size of the classes, materials, delivery modes, and instructional location can be customized to suit specific student cohort needs.