MAR 16, 2023

AIRC Appoints New Deputy Chief Scientist

The Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Douglas J. Buettner as Deputy Chief Scientist, his latest role in a distinguished 30-year career with industry and government experience in the engineering of aerospace and software-intensive systems.

Buettner will serve alongside Chief Scientist Dr. Philip S. Antón. “Dr. Buettner brings a wealth of practical experience, insights, and ideas into the challenges facing defense acquisition programs,” Antón said. “We look forward to leveraging his expertise to help guide AIRC’s engagement of innovation from academia to improving acquisition.”

Buettner’s role will involve collaborating with faculty across the AIRC university network and guiding the scientific and technical content, quality, and peer review of research projects; interfacing between AIRC and the Department of Defense, including the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and other entities; articulating the critical needs that AIRC research is addressing and the value proposition in improving acquisition outcomes; and ensuring the transition and application of AIRC results in acquisition policies, guidance, practices, and workforce development.

Buettner spent 20 years with the Aerospace Corporation, where he was the flight software systems director and formed a new department that steered the software acquisition for multiple spacecraft payloads, the space vehicle bus, and ground-test simulators in support of an acquisition category program for the Space Systems Command. His recent experience includes software cost and schedule analysis with software and systems engineering advising for the Sentinel missile program.

Buettner also worked in the Pentagon for the Acquisition Policy Analysis Center, performing analytical studies directly for the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics (ATL). He was a consultant for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), helping to build JPL’s initial aerogel fabrication facility. His hardware automation, flight integration, and terminal ballistics investigations supported planning and concept verification, leading to the selection of the Stardust probe for NASA’s fourth Discovery mission. Later, he was the principal investigator supporting Stardust’s aerogel fabrication team. The laboratory also produced aerogel for the Mars Sojourner rover insulation, numerous space shuttle flights, and the Mir space station to capture micrometeoroids and characterize space orbital debris.

Buettner is an adjunct professor teaching space mission engineering at the University of Utah. He previously taught software-intensive space systems engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and space systems engineering at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Buettner earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics, with a minor in atmospheric science, from Oregon State University. He earned a Ph.D. in astronautical engineering from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Buettner’s doctoral research examined issues with software-acquisition strategies, providing insights into approaches for optimizing the cost and schedule for software-intensive system acquisitions. This research appears in a book, Acquisition Games and Software Defects: Dynamics of the Software Developer’s Dilemma.

The addition of Buettner reflects the growing research portfolio within AIRC since it was established in 2020. “Dr. Buettner joining our team signals growth and a greater potential for impact,” said AIRC Executive Director Dr. Dinesh Verma. “With Dr. Buettner’s expertise, our research network will continue to tackle challenges and produce innovative results for the Department of Defense.”