The Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence and Cyber (C4I & Cyber) at George Mason University was established under the direction of Dr. Harry Van Trees in June 1989 in order to provide an intellectual base for the command, control, communications, and intelligence area (C3I). Dr. Van Trees’ remarkable experience spans active service in the US Army; graduate schooling and faculty service as a Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT; service as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I. Under his leadership, the C3I Center established a national reputation for academic leadership in military information technologies.
Upon Dr. Van Trees’ retirement, Dr. Mark Pullen became the Center’s Director in 2005. Dr. Pullen’s experience includes 21 years in the US Army, including positions of Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the US Military Academy (West Point) and seven years in multiple positions at the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA). He added “Computing” to the center’s name (thus, C4I) and has continued its emphasis on bringing academic expertise to the needs of the U.S. military and related government and commercial applications of information technology. The Center conducts broad spectrum R&D and educational programs in C4I. The Center’s program is accomplished by bringing together a multi-disciplinary group consisting of academic faculty, research staff, and fellows in residence from industry and government. And it is also assisted by an advisory group. The Center moved into the beautiful, new Nguyen Engineering Building (pictured above) in the spring of 2009.
Command, Control, Communications, Computing and Intelligence (C4I) systems are essential to our national security. History provides many examples of how C4I has influenced the outcome of an engagement or an entire conflict. In spite of its importance there is not an adequate intellectual base for the C4I area, and comprehensive educational programs in C4I do not exist in civil institutions.
To fill these needs, the Center of Excellence in C4I at George Mason University is the nation’s first and only civilian university-based entity offering a comprehensive academic and research program in military applications of information technology. The center performs research in sensing and fusion, C3 architectures, communications and signal processing, command support and intelligent systems, modeling and simulation, and information systems. The center is allied with multiple academic departments, including Computer Science, Electrical/Computer/Telecommunications Engineering, Statistics, Systems Engineering and Operations Research. The last of these offers Master of Science in Systems Engineering with a major in C4I and also graduate certificates in both C4I and Military Operations Research. Research program personnel include faculty members from the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering, research faculty members, government and industry research fellows, graduate research assistants, and thesis students.
While the center has been active in C4I systems issues associated with Cyber technologies for several years, the C4I name did not make this clear. Cyber is a major area of concern for our Department of Defense and Intelligence Community customers, so it became important that our Cyber expertise be evident in our name. At the beginning of 2016, the center name was changed to The Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence and Cyber (C4I & Cyber).