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About Systems Engineering

Leadership Team
Photo of Principal Deputy Director, Kristen Baldwin Kristen J. Baldwin, Acting DASD, Systems Engineering
Ms. Kristen J. Baldwin is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering (DASD(SE)) within the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)). Ms. Baldwin acts on behalf of the DASD(SE) and is responsible for engineering and technical workforce, policy, and systems engineering planning for major defense acquisition programs. Her oversight includes concept engineering and analysis, design, development and manufacturing, and independent program review and assessment. She supports the DASD role of functional leader for more than 40,000 defense acquisition professionals in the Department of Defense (DoD) Engineering (ENG) and Production, Quality, and Manufacturing (PQM) workforce. She oversees the DoD strategy for Trusted Systems Design.

A member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), Ms. Baldwin leads modeling and simulation, system security engineering, program protection, system of systems engineering, and systems engineering research and development initiatives. She oversees the DoD Systems Engineering Research Center, a university-affiliated research center dedicated to advancing systems engineering methods, and the MITRE National Security Engineering Center, a DoD federally funded research and development center.

Ms. Baldwin has been with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) since 1998, where she has led the application of capabilities-based planning in the acquisition process and served as Deputy Director, Software Engineering and System Assurance. Before working with OSD, Ms. Baldwin served as a science and technology advisor in the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. Ms. Baldwin began her career at the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal.

Ms. Baldwin was a recipient of the Meritorious Presidential Rank award in 2014, in recognition of exemplary service.

Ms. Baldwin received a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a master of science degree in Systems Management from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Photo of Director for Engineering Enterprise Robert A. Gold, Director, Engineering Enterprise
Mr. Gold serves as Director of the Engineering Enterprise within the Office of DASD(SE) (ODASD(SE)).  Mr. Gold is a member of the Senior Executive Service.  He is responsible for systems engineering-related policy and guidance, specialty engineering, engineering tools and environments, hardware and software assurance, and defense standardization.  He oversees workforce development for the defense acquisition engineering career fields of Engineering (ENG) and Production, Quality and Manufacturing (PQM).  His specialty engineering responsibilities include reliability and maintainability, system safety, manufacturing, human systems integration, and the DoD Value Engineering program.

Mr. Gold has more than 30 years of experience with the Department. Before joining ODASD(SE), he served as the Director for Information Systems and Cyber Security within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OASD(R&E)). Within OUSD(AT&L), he has also served as Director for Engineering and Advanced Prototypes and Deputy Director for Space and Intelligence. He has served in senior positions with technical oversight of DoD science and technology (S&T) activities in software, embedded computers, and computer engineering applications. He has developed policy and proposed legislation in the areas of software and space acquisition, and he initiated efforts to update Defense software training and to revise the Information Technology (IT) career field.

Mr. Gold has provided acquisition and technical expertise for major defense programs, including the Air Force F 22, F-35, Missile Defense Agency Initial Defensive Operations, and the Navy STANDARD Missile. He has provided review, oversight, and advocacy for S&T investments in software, cyber, and complex networking. Mr. Gold served in a variety of acquisition and engineering positions at the Naval Sea Systems Command on Surface Combatants and Fast Attack Submarines. He managed the multimillion-dollar software efforts for the STANDARD Missile portion of the Navy Area Theater Ballistic Missile program and the Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Capability.

Mr. Gold received a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University and a master of science degree in Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech. He also holds a Public Management Certificate from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has published and lectured in military communications, software acquisition, software assurance, and Technology Readiness Assessments and has chaired and sponsored workshops and conferences on software. He is a member of the Defense Acquisition Workforce and is Level III qualified in Program Management, Systems Engineering, and S&T Management.

Photo of Director for Major Program Support James Thompson James J. Thompson, Director, Major Program Support
Mr. James Thompson serves as the Director of Major Program Support (MPS) within ODASD(SE). In this capacity, Mr. Thompson leads program systems engineering planning and execution for major defense and software-intensive systems. MPS specialties include Systems Engineering Plan development, Program Support Assessments, and Systemic Root Cause Analysis.

A member of the Senior Executive Service, Mr. Thompson has more than 25 years of experience in the Department of Defense. Before his current position, he served in the Systems and Software Engineering (SSE) Directorate as Program Support Team Lead for Fixed Wing Aircraft, Air Launched Weapons, and Space Programs. Before joining SSE, Mr. Thompson served in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, where he was responsible for precision tactical and strategic weapons. In this role, he assessed manufacturing, industrial base capability, and defense mergers and acquisitions. During his tenure, the production of precision-guided munitions increased significantly in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also has worked in OSD/Strategic and Tactical Warfare (Air Warfare), addressing aircraft, Cost as an Independent Variable policy, and international cooperation.

Mr. Thompson began his career in 1984 in research and development at the Naval Air Development Center, focusing on alloy development and corrosion properties of high-strength aluminum and steel. He then served from 1989 to 2000 at the Naval Air Systems Command, participating in the design, manufacture, and sustaining engineering for numerous aircraft and weapons, including F/A-18E/F and the Joint Strike Fighter, with emphasis in composites and survivability.

Mr. Thompson earned a bachelor of science degree in Metallurgy from Penn State University and a master of Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a 1995 graduate of the Program Managers Course at Defense Systems Management College and a Level III certified acquisition professional. He has been a member of and led two teams recognized with the Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award. Mr. Thompson is a Professional Engineer registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Robin L. Hicks, Director, Homeland Defense Capability Development
Ms. Robin L. Hicks is Director of Homeland Defense Capability Development (HDCD) within ODASD(SE). She has more than 30 years of industry and government experience serving in multiple leadership positions with OUSD(AT&L), Department of the Navy, and industry. As Director, HDCD, Ms. Hicks leads interagency capability development for the homeland, as well as Engineering Technical Services acquisition. In previous OUSD(AT&L) assignments she served as the Director, Joint Capability Technology Demonstration Office, leading the development of rapid capability needs for the Combatant Commands, and Director, Joint Interoperability where she led the establishment and oversight of many DoD joint tactical interoperability initiatives. She also served as the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy USD(AT&L) and has been a member of the SES since 2002.

Ms. Hicks began her federal career in the Department of the Navy, serving as the Tomahawk Weapon Systems Integration and Requirements Division Head in the Systems Engineering Division of PEO Cruise Missile and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. She was responsible for the systems engineering and integration of Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Fire Control Systems (ship and submarine), and the Mission Planning System.

Before her service in OSD, Ms. Hicks began her career in industry at the IBM Corporation in the Federal Systems Division and later worked for IBM’s Systems Integration Division. She attended the Pennsylvania State University and is an alumna of the University of Virginia, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Systems Engineering.