David H Olwell

Department of Systems Engineering
Naval Postgraduate School


Dr. Olwell is Professor and immediate past chair of the Department of Systems Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School.  He is the elected Chair of the NPS Faculty.  He is a Fellow of the American Council on Education, a WASC evaluator, an ABET program evaluator, and a member of the Engineering Accreditation Commission.   He has extensive knowledge of regional and programmatic accreditation, data driven decision-making, curricular design, and distance education best practices.

Dr. Olwell is currently the PI on a multi-year, multi-university project to build systems engineering case studies. He is also the NPS PI on a project to support red teaming for Army emerging projects.  He was co-principal investigator in the Body of Knowledge and Curriculum to Advance Systems Engineering (BKCASE) project, and was co-editor of the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge and the Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering.

Dr. Olwell’s research areas are in reliability engineering and statistical process control.  He is the author of three textbooks and a research monograph, and co-edited Statistical Methods in Counter-terrorism (Springer, 2006).

Dr. Olwell earned a Bachelor of Science Degree (with distinction) from the United States Military Academy.  His graduate education includes two master’s degrees (Mathematics and Statistics) and a doctoral degree in Statistics, all from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Olwell was an associate professor at the US Military Academy prior to joining the faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School in 1998.  He was Director of the Mathematical Sciences Center of Excellence at West Point, and Associate Chair of the Operations Research Department and Associate Director of the Meyer Institute at NPS.

He was recognized in January 2004 and then again in August 2008 with the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award for his contributions to the Systems Engineering program at NPS.  In 2010, he received the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Science Merit Award for Service.  In 2011, he received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Dr. Olwell is married to Karen Louise Olwell, with three grown sons and one grandson.  He enjoys sailing.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Monterey where he chairs the development committee, and is active in the Knights of Columbus and the Elks.