Date of Award

Spring 2016

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Bohdan W. Oppenheim


Although the Global Hawk program has been praised for its innovative capabilities as a stealth air vehicle and surveillance and reconnaissance tool, the program has faced widespread criticism due to cost overruns and technical failures. This investigation will explore the program management and systems engineering methods used during this program, with particular attention to the inefficiencies and failures of this program that contributed to the waste of taxpayer funds. The thesis of this project is that the failures experienced by this program can be attributed to a few root causes and may be solved using effective Systems Engineering. The report will detail these root causes, which include inefficient and morally corrupt practices. The analysis will pay particular attention to the actions and inactions of the government and contractors.

The project will explore the themes of effective Systems Engineering, including the use of Lean Thinking and Lean Enablers and the methods used by the highly successful and effective SpaceX. Program structure and management strategies will be analyzed, including the contrast between innovative and traditional management structures. The proper Systems Engineering methods for requirements management, Systems Architecture, risk management, and ethical practices will be outlined.

Finally, a solution will be proposed using effective Systems Engineering which aims to combat the problems faced by this and other large Department of Defense acquisition programs. The solution shall include suggestions using lean enablers from The Guide to Lean Enablers for Managing Engineering Programs. Although the solution shall reference specific challenges faced by the Global Hawk program, the recommendations may be applicable to many large Department of Defense engineering programs.

BriJarcho_Systems_Presentation_2016.pdf (14681 kB)
Oral Presentation