REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (June 26, 2023) – From co-op student to senior leader, Brian Harris’ career with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center has traveled full circle.
Harris joined the Center 31 years ago in an earlier iteration of the Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate. He was recently named S3I’s Technical Deputy for Life Cycle Engineering. For Harris, even though he has spent his career within S3I serving in multiple leadership roles, the news still came as a bit of a shock.
“I was humbled,” Harris said. “I'm very excited because I've been at the Aviation & Missile Center for my entire career. Twenty-nine of those were in these buildings. As the directorate grew and merged, I have been able to continuously grow and learn, but still stay within the organization that I started out with. So, I am excited to serve in this new capacity.”
A Huntsville native, Harris was inspired by his father, also an engineer, to follow in his footsteps. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, with a major in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1995.
“My dad was a physics major that NASA turned into an electrical engineer. I went into electrical engineering, by education and by trade, and the government made me a computer engineer,” Harris said with a laugh.
The world of computers was exploding in the 1980’s and Harris always had an affinity for computer games. In fact, he still owns an Apple II computer, one of the very first personal computers. It was a natural fit for him to make his career in software, simulation, and systems engineering, specifically system integration and testing.
Early on, Harris served as the joint analysis and display environment project lead, developing, deploying, and fielding data collection, reduction and analysis capabilities at worldwide locations supporting Ballistic Missile Defense System flight/ground tests, war games, and joint service exercises.
During his career, he served as liaison to a multitude of government agencies including the Missile Defense Agency, where he assisted in their move from Washington D.C. to Huntsville and helped establish their combined test force.
Harris later returned to the S3I fold where he most recently served as modeling and simulation associate director, overseeing the application of models and simulations for Army and Joint Service customers in support of all-digital, live/virtual/constructive and operational simulations. When not in that function, he is active in recruiting for the directorate.
As a longtime leader at S3I at virtually every level, Harris is excited to bring that institutional knowledge to the deputy role – the knowledge of being around the block a few times and knowing what does and doesn’t work, but also recognizing that sometimes a solution just needs a different approach. He said that it is especially rewarding to see coworkers that he recruited as co-op students become leaders in the directorate alongside him, while also having the opportunity to build the bench of future leaders.
“We feel like we are the same place because we are in the same buildings, but our span of responsibilities is much larger and diverse,” Harris said. “The Army keeps moving forward with modernization. We need next generation people stepping up, so I'm honored to be working with them and supporting the people in this great organization.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.