Dean Larson

NSS Projects Committee Chair

Dr. Larson has over 31 years of experience as a researcher, research manager, developmental and operational tester specializing in applying technical and analytical solutions to supporting operations analysis, system acquisition, force structure planning, software verification and validation, system test and evaluation, and operational applications. During this time period he has executed and directed successful research, analysis, and T&E efforts for the Navy, Marine Corps, DOD, DHS, DOE, NASA, FAA, and the Intelligence Community. His experience includes problem definition, designing optimum approaches using a wide range of mathematical tools, data and operational analysis, test and evaluation, mission area assessment, requirements definition, designing and conducting experiments, project management, software quality assurance, systems engineering, and process improvement. In addition, Dr. Larson has 6 years of direct operational experience as an Air Force B-52 pilot and has participated in several military exercises, experiments, and actual military operations in relevant operational theaters.

Many of Dr. Larson’s efforts have broken new ground for his clients. For example, Dr. Larson helped conduct a congressionally mandated analysis to help NASA determine the space construction and exploration tasks best suited to humans and those tasks best suited to robots. This analysis will be useful to support how future space mission tasks are divided between astronauts and their supporting robotic machines.

Another of Dr. Larson’s strengths is bridging the communications gap between engineers and operators. For example, Dr. Larson was made aware of a problem with the way navy pilots were targeting the High-Speed Anti-radiation Missile (HARM). The pilots were misinterpreting critical engineering information used in planning missile targeting. This error may have resulted in friendly casualties during Operation Desert Storm. Upon investigating the problem, Dr. Larson discovered the engineering information could be substantially improved and clarified. Working with several Navy commands, he was successful implementing a new targeting approach and changing the engineering information to be more precise and useful. He then worked with the weapons schools and published articles in the classified NSAWC Journal to ensure navy pilots understood how to use the new planning guidance. This missile is now being targeted more accurately and effectively. Furthermore, despite being fired several hundred times in combat since Dr. Larson’s changes were implemented, the missile has not caused any friendly or neutral casualties.

As a former Air Force pilot with a Ph.D. in physics and experience with a wide range of government organizations, Dr. Larson represents a rare combination of educational training and operational, technical, analytical, and managerial experience.

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