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Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering

 Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Laboratory


What is the MBSE Laboratory?

USNA's Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Laboratory is a dedicated research space for students and faculty to investigate systems engineering principles, concepts, and applications.  The overall mission of the MBSE Laboratory is to collaboratively develop innovative systems engineering solutions for complex naval engineering problems.

Where is the MBSE Laboratory?

The MBSE Laboratory is located in the basement of Nimitz Hall (in G0134).  For additional information about the MSBE Laboratory and/or access to the research space, please contact Assistant Professor Alexander Laun (

What is model-based systems engineering (MBSE)?

Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) serves to simplify a complex system into a model, which is a mathematical, graphical, digital/computational, and/or physical representation of that particular system.  MBSE is also a technical language used to formally represent abstraction and understand complexity.  Systems Modeling Language (SysML) is an example of a specific tool developed to clearly describe a real-world system.


What tools are used in USNA's MBSE Laboratory?

USNA's MBSE Laboratory leverages the following tools/resources to teach "systems thinking" and associated MBSE concepts:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Python
  • Rhinoceros
  • SolidWorks
  • Cameo Systems Modeler

Where can I learn more about systems engineering and MBSE?

USNA does not formally offer a systems engineering major.  However, systems engineering principles are widely integrated and taught throughout the majority of USNA's engineering majors.  Additionally, USNA's Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering Department is actively developing a systems engineering elective course, with an anticipated (first) offering in Spring AY2023 or Spring AY2024.  Many USNA graduates will later have the opportunity to study systems engineering (at the graduate-level) at the Naval Postgraduate School and other civilian institutions.

Within the federal government, NASA serves as a leading organization for the application of systems engineering, and the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook is a widely-used reference document.  Domestically and internationally, the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is the professional society for the greater systems engineering community.  INCOSE provides access to excellent technical resources to learn more about systems engineering, including the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook: A Guide for System Life Cycle Processes and Activities (Walden et al. 2015).  The Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK) also serves as an outstanding online resource for students to learn more about this diverse technical profession.

nasa_se-handbook-cover.jpg    se-2035.png

Is MBSE actually used in the "real world"?

A wide variety of organizations are starting to adopt MBSE-related tools, techniques, and practices.  Within the Department of the Navy (DoN), the number of personnel trained in MBSE and/or actively using MBSE has steadily increased year-to-year ("Digital Engineering FY2020 Metrics," 04JAN2021).  However, industry-wide, many stakeholders still find difficulty measuring the actual success of MBSE.  Overall, as recently identified by NASA, MBSE is "still in its infancy," and future generations of engineers will be critical to overcoming social/cultural barriers to MBSE adoption!


What research is currently happening at USNA's MBSE Laboratory?

The MBSE Laboratory was established in Summer 2022, and the development of both short-term and long-term research goals is actively in progress.  For any USNA students interested in working with the MBSE Laboratory, please feel free to directly contact Dr. Laun via e-mail (


Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this webpage do not reflect on the official policy or position of the United States Naval Academy, the Department of Defense, and/or the United States Government. References and hyperlinks within this webpage to any specific commercial products, websites, services, companies, or trademarks do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of such items/entities.

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