Jim Hartung

For over 80 years, systems engineering has helped America
lead in science, technology, industry, and business.

Now, systems engineering can help us address our most difficult
social, economic, envronmental, and political problems.

Question 9

Question 9: How can Congress and the president use systems engineering (SE) to address our most serious social, economic, and political problems?

Answer: Currently, Congress and the president have no systematic process to work together. They approach each problem by independently developing their (partisan) solutions and then bicker with each other about why their approach is best.

Congress needs an independent group (chartered by them) to develop and propose nonpartisan solutions. Their nonpartisan proposals should be the starting point for Congressional discussions. This will make it far easier to 
agree upon and enact practical, nonpartisan solutions.

The two most important actions that Congress and the president should take to implement the SE process are as follows:

First, Congress should create an organization that will use SE to develop and propose nonpartisan solutions for societal problems. This organization should be patterned after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the SE organizations in industry that develop complex products and systems.

Second, Congress and the president should review and discuss the proposals produced by this new organization in good faith, with the objective of enacting practical, nonpartisan solutions.

The new organization’s proposed solution for each societal problem should be updated at least annually until Congress and the president enact a solution, and thereafter to continuously improve the solution. Repeating the process annually will promote rational, fact-based, and data-driven discussion of alternatives.