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A Rigorous Foundation For Security Engineering Programs

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Capstone Courses II

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.114.1 - 11.114.10



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Paper Authors

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Bradley Rogers Arizona State University

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Dale Palmgren Arizona State University

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Albert McHenry Arizona State University

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Scott Danielson Arizona State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Rigorous Foundation for Security Engineering Programs Abstract

Security may be defined as the protection of an asset from a malevolent human attack. The development of a security system capable of preventing successful attacks requires integration of human resources, technologies, and policies and procedures. Therefore, the development of a security system to protect high value assets can be described as a complex systems engineering problem. In practice, however, security systems engineering presents challenges not normally faced in more traditional systems engineering problems. For example, the talent necessary to develop effective systems requires the assembly of teams of experts from very diverse fields, ranging from mathematicians to specialists in languages and cultures. In addition, security systems must be capable of continuous and rapid evolution to respond to changing scenarios caused by new and evolving threats. A systems engineering methodology developed and tested at the United States’ national laboratories over the last forty years, known as the Sandia methodology, effectively addresses the unique aspects of security system development and evaluation.

ASU has developed a curriculum leading to a Master of Science degree focused on security systems and engineering and, in the process, faced many challenges. The experience demonstrates that a rigorous methodology, such as the Sandia methodology, can successfully form the foundation of a system engineering curriculum focused on security engineering education. In addition, such programs offer students an option for a scientifically rigorous education in the field, in contrast to the more typical criminal justice or policy-oriented approaches used in most educational programs focused on homeland security. This paper explains the Sandia methodology, briefly describes the courses developed, the types of master’s projects done by students, and the graduates’ post graduation accomplishments. In addition, the challenges and difficulties, the current status of the ASU program, and recommendations for further development in this area are presented.


Terrorist attacks on the United States and other nations have profoundly affected the public consciousness, and reducing our considerable vulnerabilities to terrorist attack has become a priority throughout the world. Within the United States a enormous amount of resources have been, and continue to be, dedicated to homeland security related programs, including a major reorganization of the federal government and the funding of two wars. This developing national priority has had a considerable impact on higher education, both through a refocusing of federal research dollars and through the development of educational programs dedicated to Homeland Security. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Research and Technology office has established University-based centers of excellence at several major research universities and the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) supports fundamental and applied research within academia as well as the private sector1.

On the educational side, the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) currently lists 113 Colleges and Universities within the United States that have programs dedicated to the education

Rogers, B., & Palmgren, D., & McHenry, A., & Danielson, S. (2006, June), A Rigorous Foundation For Security Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--240

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