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SERC Workshop: Managing Acquisition and Program Risk

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

SERC is hosting a Workshop on “Managing Acquisition and Program Risk” which will be held on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at the FHI 360 Conference Center in Washington DC. Workshop attendance is by invitation only with a maximum of 40 delegates.

Research Workshop Leader:

  • Dr. Paul Collopy – Professor, University of Alabama – Huntsville; SERC Research Council Member

Abstract: Risk Management in the context of systems engineering attempts to address two needs:  a) What issues should program managers pay particular attention to? and b) How should engineering and program decisions be made in the face of uncertainty?

While the standard risk management process does a fair job at the first need, this is often done at the expense of effectively dealing with uncertainty. This workshop will explore how the risk process might manage uncertainty better without compromising focus on the primary aspects of a program.

Risk management is an active area of research and practice in numerous domains outside of systems engineering. Whole industries, such as insurance, petroleum exploration and pharmaceuticals, critically depend on effectively managing risk, and they invest in research on making strategic decisions in the face of uncertainty.

The purpose of the workshop will be to consider which aspects of acquisition and program risk management in the defense domain can benefit from focused research. Drawing on the rigorous probabilistic tools, and focusing on effective decision-making as the ultimate purpose of risk management, this workshop will map out a direction for improvement and attempt to articulate three to five research questions that should be addressed.

Attendance Criteria: Participation is limited to a maximum of 40 delegates. Workshop organizers will confirm admission to the workshop by November 15th, so register now!



8:15 amWelcomeDinesh Verma, SERC/Stevens
8:30 amScope, Background, and Process for the WorkshopPaul Collopy, SERC/UAH
8:45 amA Position Statement and a Set of Challenges on Enhancing our Ability to Assess Risks and Make Informed Decisions in the Face of RiskJim Thompson
9:15 amPlenary discussion on managing acquisition and program risk
9:45 amCoffee Break
10:00 amBalancing risk and opportunity: a view from the investment community
Download Presentation
Lou Steinberg, former
CTO, TD Ameritrade
11:00 amFinding and assessing risk – a maritime perspective
Download Presentation
David Card, formerly of Det Norske Veritas
11:45 amWorking lunch in breakout sessions on identifying and balancing risk and opportunity
12:45 pmIndustry Perspectives on Program Risk Sam Yakulis and Brian Edwards
1:15 pmCultural and Organizational Influences on RiskAnna‐Maria McGowan, NASA Tech Fellow for
Complex Systems Design
2:15 pmControlling Risk
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Jim Wetherbee, Astronaut, Risk Advisor to Oil and Gas Industries
3:15 pmCoffee Break
3:30 pmBreakout session to develop risk management research topics
4:15 pmDebrief and collection of research topics
4:30 pmRating research topics
4:55 pmWrap-upPaul Collopy


Wednesday, December 13, 2017
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:


System Engineering Research Center (SERC)


FHI 360 Conference Center
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, #2
Washington , DC 20009 United States
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(202) 884-8279