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Seminar: System Acquisition--How Defense Programs are Structured and Your Role in the Process

Bob Gast, Lockheed Martin
Friday, October 4, 2019, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Aerospace Research Center
Room 100
2300 W Case Rd
Columbus, OH 43235

This seminar will also be livestreamed to Scott Laboratory, room E525, 201 W 19th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210.


You finally completed your last exam, graduated with your hard-earned degree – now what?? If you land a job in the aerospace defense industry or in government service it is highly likely that you will be employed to support the development or production of aircraft, drones, or missile systems. Our government procures new defense capabilities under a broad umbrella called “System Acquisition.” This presentation will provide an overview of the major steps in System Acquisition from cradle to grave, and the key roles of engineers in the process. In short, it will be an introduction to a new work environment concerned with the development, test, and production of new defense capabilities. The presentation concludes by describing an alternative acquisition method employed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to acquire the Global Hawk UAV. While private industry employs company specific best practices and procedures, most follow closely the military system acquisition approach because the complicated process of contract administration supports it. Commercial development of new aircraft follows a similar approach as defense systems acquisition except that the timeline can be reduced because programmatic decision-making associated with milestones can occur much more rapidly and there may be more program flexibility in the development process.

About the speaker: Robert Gast graduated from The Ohio State University College of Engineering in 1970 and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force. He served as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve, and later as an intelligence officer performing scientific and technical intelligence duties in the Air Intelligence Agency. After active duty, he entered USAF civil service as an engineer with assignments at Wright-Patterson AFB. He was first assigned as a Flight Test Engineer with the Directorate of Flight Test Engineering where he planned telemetry support missions and flew as a crewmember on EC-135N Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft for NASA and Department of Defense space launch operations. Next, he was assigned as Program Manager for development of full field-of-view visual systems for the Flight Simulator System Program Office. He joined the U-2 program as a Test and Integration engineer, advanced to Program Manager of the ground segment, and, finally, became the System Program Director of the U-2 program. Following government civil service, he was employed as an executive with Ford Aerospace, Loral, and Lockheed Martin.  He retired from the latter as Director of Reconnaissance and Intelligence Systems Development.


Hosted by Dr. James Gregory.