This special issue of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Review represents a collection of exemplary undergraduate research, engineering, and analysis. The Department of Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy hosts an annual conference to showcase projects completed by graduating seniors. The best papers from this conference are invited to publish in this special issue, and the present collection represents ten outstanding papers that summarize project results.
Three general themes emerge from this year’s collection of best papers: modeling and analysis in support of operational decisions; dynamics of societal resilience; and analysis in support of future acquisition decisions. Each of study themes involves critical issues of significance for our national defense.
The papers that focused on modeling and analysis of operational decisions included the study of tactical combat decisions (Goodman et. al.), autonomous corrosion detection (Alexander et. al.), site selection for over-the-shore logistics (Evans et. al.), and UAS navigation in GPS denied environments (Talmadge et. al.). Each of these studies addressed decision making that influences various military scenarios. Novel methods for organizing information, leveraging technology, and solving these decisions are presented.
Societal resilience challenges will continue to grow in complexity and consequence in the future. McDonald published two papers with two different groups of cadet authors focused on building societal resilience involving critical needs and emergency situations. Food security remains a critical issue amongst many nations in the future, and McDonald et. al. present a system dynamics modeling approach that illuminates critical variables. The second paper published by McDonald and a different group of cadets addresses nuclear attacks on megacities, a terrible scenario that deserves serious thought.
Four papers addressed future acquisition decisions. The topics included development of cost estimation relationships for vehicle acquisitions (Blash et. al.), supplementing human strength with exoskeletons (Martinez et. al.), improved camouflage patterns for small arms (Choi et. al.), and polymer cased ammunition production decisions (Bianchi et. al.).
Please join me in celebrating this outstanding collection of undergraduate research.
Paul F. Evangelista
Paul Evangelista is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and currently serving as an Academy Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering and the Director of the Operations Research Center at the United States Military Academy. He holds a PhD in Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a registered professional engineer in the state of New York.