Prof. Ray Buettner

About Me
FX History
Student Theses
Netzer Fellows

Raymond R. Buettner Jr, PhD
Associate Professor of Information Sciences
Director, Field Experimentation (FX) Cooperative
Director, Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER)

Director, Advance Robotics Systems Engineering Laboratory (ARSENL)

Prof. Ray BuettnerDr. Ray Buettner joined the faculty as Military Instructor in 1999 and stayed on after retirement and earning his doctorate at Stanford University. With undergraduate work in political science/sociology and graduate work as an engineer, Ray is very comfortable moving between the highly technical and less technical domains.

Since initially joining the NPS faculty Ray's teaching has been interdisciplinary in nature.  His student count is over a thousand students with 101 segments in 22 distinct courses that engaged students in 8 curricula, 3 departments (IS, DA and SE) and 2 schools (GSOIS and GSEAS).  Course subjects range from Systems and Software Engineering (IW04500/SE4003) to Information Operations (IW-3101/SI-2104). He has taught students from all US services as well as several foreign countries to include classes specifically for foreign officers.  His courses run the gamut from non-technical to technically challenging, from 2000 level to 4000 level.

He has served on doctoral committees for 4 PhD awardees from two schools (GSOIS and GSEAS).  This included a Brazilian GSOIS graduate (maintenance enterprise resource planning) as well as a GSEAS PMP graduate (mission-based architecture for swarm composability). He is currently on the committees of 3 additional candidates.

Ray is also heavily engaged in thesis advising across multiple disciplines.  He has been directly involved in 145 masters theses (91 as adviser and 54 second reader) with students in 13 curricula spread across 6 departments and all 4 schools.  The subjects of advised theses have ranged from TOP SECRET work on sensor development to organizational design for the USMC to capital asset pricing models.  It is worth noting that the number of curricula/departments that he advises thesis students from exceeds those that he teaches. 

On the research side Ray's focus on creating collaborative environments has led to his having assumed a variety of leadership roles. As a military faculty member he was the Joint Information Operations Command (JIOC) sponsored Information Operations Chair.  As a nationally recognized expert in influence modeling Ray was a key player in formulating military responses to both the Hainan Island incident and the immediate response to the 9-11 attacks.  He engaged his students in this work as well, advising several classified/restricted theses related to these events.   He was also the first Deputy Director of what is now the Cebrowski Institute. After returning from a leave of absence, he was the Deputy Director of the Department of Defense's Information Operations Center for Excellence before taking over the leadership of NPS field experimentation programs from Distinguished Professor Dave Netzer.

His decade long leadership of the field experimentation program (currently known as Joint Interagency Field Experimentation) has supported literally hundreds of student theses, faculty papers and conference presentations in subjects ranging from ethics to robotic systems.  Thirty-eight field experiments have been executed during his tenure.  Each of these experiments represent an interdisciplinary achievement with engineers, scholars, scientists, policy makers and technicians all coming together to explore the application of emerging technologies to national security challenges. 

Ray has both presented and published regarding the design and performance of these events, coining the term "multi-institutional semi-structured learning environments" to describe them.  Participants in these events have credited the Naval Postgraduate School with accelerating technology to the warfighter, avoiding costly acquisition mistakes, creating new relationships, and saving lives both on the battlefield and during natural disasters.

This work led to his proposing and executing the creation of the Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER) to then Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work.  This Secretary of the Navy sponsored research program has kept NPS at the forefront of the autonomy revolution.  Reflecting Ray's interdisciplinary nature, it seeks to address research challenges across the spectrum from "the ethical to the technical, from concept generation to field experimentation."  CRUSER has supported faculty and students in all 4 schools, 16 departments/academic groups.  It also supports a community interest of approximately 3000 members distributed across industry (45%), the military (21%), academia (9%) and others.  The impact on NPS faculty and students have been extraordinary.  When Ray handed over the Directorship/PI responsibilities in October 2018 CRUSER had supported 165 research projects, 242 theses, 175 student trips, 10 workshops, 8 research expos, 5 panel discussions (including 2 in the Pentagon) 5 technical symposia and one international conference.

JIFX and CRUSER are, at Ray's insistence, run under the NPS Dean of Research to ensure that they accessible across the campus to faculty and students in all departments.  This is just another example of the priority he places on interdisciplinary activity.

Since 2009 Ray has attracted over $47 million in sponsored research, primarily for JIFX and CRUSER with the results described above.  Having passed on the lead for CRUSER, Ray has now launched the Sea Land Air Military Research (SLAMR) initiative.  This Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Supported activity aims to create an interdisciplinary research facility, and unique business processes, on Del Monte beach adjacent to the main campus that will enable NPS to remain a uniquely relevant institution when it comes to addressing contemporary military challenges.

In summary, Ray has engaged hundreds of students directly in his teaching and research and even more students indirectly through these highly impactful interdisciplinary programs.  These programs also support faculty colleagues across campus. 

Ray believes he is "living the dream" - teaching at the world's most unique and effective postgraduate institution while living on the shores of Monterey Bay with his wife.