Combat Systems Engineering

Course Length:



This course is the first of a two-course series that provides end-to-end training in the concepts and methods of systems engineering for Navy combat systems. This first course focuses on technical definition and management.

Today’s complex combat systems present difficult challenges to develop. Development teams must face the challenges with an arsenal of proven methods. Individual systems are more complex, and systems operate in much closer relationship, requiring a system-of-systems approach to the overall design. This course covers the latest principles for combat systems engineering in context of standard development cycles, with realistic practice on how to apply them. In this course, you will learn the latest principles, processes, products, and methods for systems engineering management. This is a practical course, in which students apply the methods to plan real, interacting systems that they will build in Part II.

Participants in this course and its follow-on practice the skills by designing and building interoperating robots that solve a larger problem.

What you will learn:

  • Describe how people work with complexity
  • Learn about combat systems engineering as the engineering of complexity
  • A model for systems engineering
  • What the products are, and
  • What effect it has on system success
  • Learn how to analyze and control the technical aspects of a system development
  • Learn how to plan, organize, and manage a system development
  • Learn how to apply the plans during the development project.

Who should attend:

The course is aimed at Navy project personnel who need to work within a systems development environment. It has proven useful for students who have between 5 and 30 years of experience:


  • Systems engineers
  • Project leaders
  • Technical team leaders
  • Program managers
  • Acquisition logisticians
  • Specialty engineers (reliability, maintainability, security, etc.)
  • Logistic support engineers
  • Configuration managers
  • Design engineers (software, electrical, mechanical, and other)
  • Administrators
  • Others participating in system development


Course Outline:

  1. Navy Combat Systems (1:30) – What is a combat system? Different types of combat systems – sensors, situational awareness, command/control, weapons. Overview of systems engineering concepts, management and methodology. Overview of the life cycle to develop or modify a system. Overview of systems engineering management as related to project management.
  2. How do We Work With Complexity? (2:30) – Basic definitions and concepts. Problem-solving approaches; system thinking; how complexity shapes systems and system development.
    • Reductionist and system-level approaches
    • Complexity theory, emergent properties, complex behavior
    • Conceptual development and chunking
    • System thinking principles
  3. Systems Engineering Model (2:00) – An underlying process model, compatible with Defense Acquisition University standards, ISO-15288, and the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook, that ties together all the concepts and methods. Overview of the systems engineering model; description of the processes defined in the model.
    • Model overview
    • Incremental, concurrent processes from Requirements Analysis (stakeholder operational requirements and engineering technical requirements), Functional Analysis and Allocation, System Architecting and Design Synthesis, System Integration, Verification, and Validation.
    • Primary outputs of each systems engineering process
    • Levels of requirements and requirements allocation
    • Design baselines and an overview of configuration management
  4. A System Challenge Application (3:30) – Practical application of the systems engineering model against an interesting and entertaining system development. During Part I, small groups plan a set of four interoperating robots to solve a larger problem. This exercise spans both Combat Systems Engineering Part I and Combats Systems Engineering Part II. During this first 3-day course, the exercise includes small group development of operational concepts, system functions, allocation of functions into individual robots, work breakdown structure, and project development plans.
  5. Systems Analysis and Control (5:00) – Methods to control a system development, relying on both program control and technical control.
    • Work breakdown structure (WBS) concept and details – how to create a WBS; its component parts and structure
    • Configuration management (CM) – four basic activities of CM (configuration identification, configuration control, configuration status accounting, and configuration audits), levels of baseline, types of materials in baselines
    • Technical reviews and audits – standard sequence of DoD technical reviews that support DoD-5000 milestones and development. Description of each type of review. Guidance for entry and exit criteria for each review


If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead time. For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at


  • Dr. Eric Honour, CSEP, INCOSE Fellow, and former INCOSE President, has been in international leadership of the engineering of systems for 20 years, part of a 45+ year career of complex systems development and operation. His energetic and informative presentation style actively involves class participants. He was the founding Chair of the INCOSE Technical Board in 1994, and served as Director of the Systems Engineering Center of Excellence (SECOE). He was selected in 2000 for Who’s Who in Science and Technology and in 2004 as an INCOSE Founder. He is on the editorial board for Systems Engineering. He has been a successful entrepreneur, systems engineer, engineering manager, and program manager at Harris Information Systems, E-Systems Melpar, and Singer Link, preceded by nine years as a US Naval Officer flying P-3 aircraft. He has led or contributed to the development of 17 major systems, including the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation systems, the Battle Group Passive Horizon Extension System, the National Crime Information Center, and the DDC1200 Digital Zone Control system for heating and air conditioning. Dr. Honour now heads Honourcode, Inc., a training and consulting firm offering effective methods in the development of system products. Dr. Honour has a BSSE (Systems Engineering) from the US Naval Academy, MSEE from the Naval Postgraduate School, and PhD from the University of South Australia based on his ground-breaking work to quantify the value of systems engineering. Eric has delivered this proposed 2-day course 13 times, and has delivered the full 4-day version another 51 times, including 7 deliveries to NSWC in various locations.

  • Dr. Scott Workinger has led innovative technology development efforts in complex, risk-laden environments for 30 years in the fields of manufacturing (automotive, glass, optical fiber), engineering and construction (nuclear, pulp & paper), and information technology (expert systems, operations analysis, CAD, collaboration technology). He currently teaches courses on program management and engineering and consults on strategic management and technology issues. Scott has a B.S in Engineering Physics from Lehigh University, an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environment Engineering from Stanford University. Scott has no current security clearance. Scott has delivered this proposed 2-day course 10 times, and has delivered the full 4-day version another 33 times, including 8 deliveries to NSWC in various locations.

  • John Pratchios has over 45 years experience as a systems engineer designing, implementing and supporting complex hardware/software systems development. His work has included design and implementation of military command, communications, surveillance, and information systems, and also systems for weather imagery, publications control, and locomotive/train control. He is an engaging instructor with a warm, informal, knowledgeable presentation style. He has presented courses to military, Department of Energy, contractor, and college organizations. He is an expert in classical systems engineering including requirements management, system design, production liaison, hardware/software integration, program management, risk mitigation, and technical leadership. He is a specialist in architectural development of both centralized and distributed systems including DODAF and other types of analysis and model development for entire system performance/throughput estimation and validation. His experience includes Object Oriented software analysis & design using UML, Booch, Ellis RTOOSA, and other OOA/OOD methodologies. Working at Harris Corporation, E-Systems, and for the Navy, John has led or contributed to the development of over a dozen major systems including the Multi-Threat Emitter System (MUTES), the Transformational Satellite Management Operations System (TMOS), locomotive radio remote control systems, and the highest capacity and throughput system ever fielded by Harris Publishing Systems. John has a BSEE from the US Naval Academy, MSEE from the Naval Postgraduate School, and further post-graduate work.

    Two other qualified instructors (Bill Fournier and Glen Francisco) are also available to teach this course

    Contact these instructors (please mention course name in the subject line)

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