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A better world through a systems approach

Systems Thinking in a Digital World: The Models are NOT the Engineering

Presenter: Christopher Stokes


Chris is a Principal Systems Engineer at Raytheon Technologies. He has worked for the Raytheon Missiles and Defense division of Raytheon Technologies in Tucson, AZ for 22 years. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. In addition, he Studied Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he obtained a Master of Science in Systems Engineering with a Statistical Analysis focus.

Chris has worked on many different Defense programs including the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Aegis LEAP Interceptor (ALI), SM-3 Block 0, SM-3 Block I, SM-3 Block Ia, SM-3 Block Ib, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), Tactical Advanced Laser-guided OrdNance (TALON), and StormBreaker. Chris is currently the Lead Systems Engineer for the StormBreaker Information Security Engineer Change Program (iECP) at Raytheon Missile and Defense. He is a member of several professional organizations including INCOSE and AIAA. He enjoys cycling, Star Wars, and Dungeons and Dragons.

The future of the Systems Engineering Discipline lies in Model Based Systems Engineering. As the complexities of the Subassembly, Assembly, Unit, Module, System, and Systems of Systems grows ever more complicated, the ability of the modern systems engineer to keep up grows more dependent on models and algorithms to ensure that the system in question meets the requirements and (more importantly) the needs of the customer. However, while the techniques of Model-Based Systems engineering can aid the systems engineer and all other disciplines, there is a caution.
The MBSE model should never be a substitute for the engineer’s thought process and decision making. This paper will discuss three such case studies where the model substituted for the knowledge and experience of the engineer. Specifically, the Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Stadium collapse, and a modern Defense System requirements model errors that lead to increased cost and schedule delays. In addition to going through each of these failures in detail, the paper will provide lessons learned applicable to future endeavors.