Faculty Interview Series: An Interview with Mike Delurey, SSP Adjunct Professor

By Milica Cosic, Reporter

Professor Mike Delurey joined Georgetown’s Security Studies Program as an adjunct professor in 2011, and has since taught several analytical methods and writing courses. Since joining Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) in 1998, Professor Delurey has contributed to a broad range of activities at the intersection of complex technology, legal, and policy issues, making him particularly qualified to teach the research seminar.

As a Principal at BAH, Professor Delurey leads the strategic market development efforts for the Defense/Intelligence/International team. As a strategy consultant and analyst, he concentrates on policy analysis support, big data, critical infrastructure protection, strategic risk management, complex systems analysis, homeland security, and cyber security policy.

His work has previously focused on complex global issues that require coordinating government, business, and civil society (e.g. terrorism, the increasing threat of pandemics, shrinking energy resources, and water scarcity). He also worked with energy systems and infrastructure for the US Navy and the Department of Defense (DoD).

In addition to a Bachelor of Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Professor Delurey holds a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an Engineering Doctorate from the George Washington University, as well as a J.D. in Regulatory Law from the University of Maryland. He will be teaching a section of SEST-710, the Research Seminar, for the Fall 2016 semester.

In this edition of the Faculty Interview Series, Professor Delurey sits down with the GSSR to share insights into his career trajectory and current role at SSP.

What attracted you to SSP?

Booz Allen Hamilton consistently recruits from the SSP talent pool due to the high caliber of its graduates. SSP’s inherent value lies in the strength of course content and the emphasis on practitioner-led instruction. SSP students come away from the program armed with a big-picture grasp and thorough understanding of security issues.

The issues we face in the security realm today are complex and dynamic with many variables, factors, and facets. That is where my background at the intersection of technology, legal, and policy issues comes in. To effectively address the real world problems in security studies, it is important that our approaches reflect and respect their complexity. Basically, we should try not to oversimplify the problems. I wanted to help equip students with the analytic and writing skills necessary to develop and communicate strategies that help solve complex geopolitical challenges.

What course(s) are you currently teaching at SSP, or have you taught in the past?

I have taught [an array of courses in] analytical methods and writing—Sest-502: Analytical Methods in Security, SEST-502: Writing Essentials for Security Professionals, and since 2012 I’ve taught SEST-710: Research Seminar.

What is the one thing you hope students take away from this degree?

I hope that students come away from SSP with the appreciation that their content knowledge is remarkable. In the final semester in SSP, taking comps and writing a journal-quality paper is an opportunity to showcase a student’s transition from studying security issues academically to proposing strategies and solutions that can be enacted in a real-world environment.

Can you provide more insight into your roles at BAH?

I change positions at BAH approximately every 12-18 months. I work with a range of government and commercial clients, in addition to working on internal BAH projects at the intersection of technology, law, and policy. However, the same principles guide my work in each position. First, I am a strategist that works on complex issues. Second, I am a problem solver that architects solutions that reflect and respect the complexity of the issues at hand. In each of these roles, the most important step is to define the issue clearly and to understand mission-critical operations within the problem set—the solution to a complex issue is an outgrowth of a clearly defined problem.

A couple examples of issues I’ve worked on include developing a critical infrastructure protection agreement after Italy’s 2003 blackout; and defining strategic risk in the US transportation system while identifying responsibilities within the federal and state governments, as well as the private sector.

How did your roles with the Department of Defense as the Special Assistant for Infrastructure Analysis, the US Navy as the Energy Systems Analysis Group Leader, and your academic experience shape your career trajectory?

Combining my academic experience, engineering background with the DoD and US Navy, with a JD in regulatory law has been critical to the work I do today. An engineering background provides you with technical and operational knowledge, a doctorate allows you to hone analytic skill, and a J.D. provides insight into the regulatory environment. Complex issues at the intersection of technology, policy, and law should be analyzed as a technical challenge that takes place within the context of a regulatory and policy environment, while taking into account the culture of the affected stakeholders.

What is one topic currently in the news that you find yourself wanting to read more and more about?

The topic I find most fascinating is the power of data science and its impact on analysis. Analytics are multifaceted—they are descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. We are in the midst of major advances in computing capability and data storage—this will continue to increase and undoubtedly have a transformational effect on informing policymakers’ decisions. Data scientists and subject matter experts working together will help to inform policy decisions in a wholly different way.

What advice would you give to SSP students a few semesters away from entering the SEST-710 Research Seminar? How about students preparing to enter SEST-710 next semester?

Many of the assignments SSP students write are academic research and position papers. I would encourage students a couple semesters out from their research seminar to pay particular attention to think tank, Congressional Research Service, and Government Accountability Office reports. These reports show very clearly how the security community conceptualizes and understands issues and the way they develop and structure action plans around the issues.

For students preparing to enter SEST-710, assuming you ignored my advice a few months ago… see above!

If you could walk over to the Tombs right now, sit at the bar, and have a drink next to any person from history – who would it be and why?

Johannes Kepler, the 17th Century German astronomer and physicist! Kepler drew on enormous amounts of assembled astronomical data to conclude that the earth was not at the center of the solar system. I admire him for his audacity to believe that empirical data could substantiate claims in the face of countervailing steadfast notions in direct contradiction to the heliocentric model.



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