Systems Engineering Research Needs and Workforce Development Assessment (Pathfinder)

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Dinesh Verma, Stevens Institute of Technology

Timeframe:  January 2017 to January 2018

Research Thrust Area: Human Capital Development

Sponsor:  Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Engineering)


Objective: It is critical to supplement SERC research priorities with input from technical leaders at the various warfare centers within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, given the SERC charter to conduct research leading to improved methods, tools, and processes to improve the practice of systems engineering on complex and complicated programs within the Department of Defense (DOD). This research task focused on reducing the air-gap between such programs and the research being conducted by the faculty at the various SERC collaborator universities. The objective of this research activity focused on understanding the research and workforce needs at the various warfare centers, while also understanding themes expressed that are common across the various DoD components.

ApproachThis research task was established to identify patterns of research that are of the greatest relevance to the engineering and technical leaders at warfare centers in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Researchers engaged other Defense communities, such as the Intelligence Community with the same objective. The research patterns identified in this task helps in guiding SE research priorities over the next two to five years and increase the return on investment of future RTs. The SERC researchers assessed the research needs through visits and discussions with technical leaders at the various warfare centers, with a focus on the leveraging the three core competencies of the SERC:
1. Long-term, comprehensive systems engineering focused on DoD acquisition,
2. Leverage developments in systems architecting, complex systems theory, systems thinking, systems science, knowledge management and software engineering to perform research to advance the design and development of complex systems across all DoD and Intelligence Community domains.
3. Leverage developments in open systems standards, organizational theory, program management, SE management, and information technology to provide needed integration of program/technical management MPTs.

The research team also collected and assessed any development issues related to the engineering workforce. The data collection exercise consisted of 24 site visits and telephone discussions. Additionally, we collaborated with INCOSE to run a supporting survey on this topic to all the INCOSE Fellows – worldwide (approximately 30% of all Fellows responded to the survey).

Research Team


  • Dr. Dinesh Verma, Principal Investigator, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Paul Collopy, Researcher, University of Alabama Huntsville
  • Dr. Spiros Pallas, Researcher, Stevens Institute of Technology




None to date



The nature of transition come in the visits to the engineering and warfare centers and identifying transition opportunities for completed and on-going research tasks. The researchers looked for connections to already existing research, and secondly, the researchers used the data gathered to help impact the focus of likely future research tasks to be more in alignment with the needs at the centers.


Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers