W. Edward Cushen

March 21, 1925

Brief Biography

Cushen Presidential Gallery Portrait

W. Edward Cushen was the nineteenth President of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA). He studied mathematics and philosophy at Western Maryland University prior to pursuing a PhD oversees in logic and metaphysics from the University of Edinburgh. Following the Second World War, Cushen was part of the U.S. Army Operations Research Office (ORO) under the direction of Ellis A. Johnson at Johns Hopkins University. He adopted a hands-on method with his ORO work, getting involved with military field problems. Cushen developed innovative approaches to the construction and evaluation of war games and computer based military gaming exercises.

Cushen was among the group of renowned operations researchers to contribute to Joseph F. McCloskey and Florence Trefethn’s Operations Research for Management (1954), the first significant publication to cover the history of OR and leading OR methods. He authored the seminal chapter on symbolic logic in operations research, accompanying contributions to game theory, linear programming, and suboptimization.

When the Operations Research Office with Johns Hopkins was terminated, Ellis Johnson fired, and the resources of the organization were taken over by the newly formed Research Analysis Corporation, Cushen followed Johnson to Case Institute of Technology and later worked as a technical manager for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Department of Defense, and the National Bureau of Standards. At the latter, he led the Technical Analysis Division, a team dedicated to analyzing the effects of science and technology on the programs of science-oriented agencies of the United States Department of Commerce. His last thirty years centered on designing and running national security tabletop exercises at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the National Defense University (NDU).

Cushen was a dedicated member of ORSA since its earliest years. He served on a number of program committees including those for publications, ethics, professional practice, and long-range planning. As President, he was instrumental in the creation of OR/MS Today, the society’s member magazine. In 1992, he was recognized for his dedicated service to the professional operations research community with the George E. Kimball. Ten years later, he was named an inaugural Fellow of ORSA’s successor, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Cushen received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Western Maryland College and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: W. Edward Cushen. Accessed May 23, 2015. (link


Western Maryland University, BA

University of Edinburgh, PhD 


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

W. Edward Cushen  (2015) Interview by Eugene Visco, December 4, 2015.  Video by Wes Poole,  Fort Monroe, VA


NOTE:  The video chapter transcripts below are searchable, with search results displayed as marks on the time bar above the search box.  Click a mark to jump to the search word or phrase in the video and transcript, or click on any word in the transcript to jump to that point in the video.

Jump to Chapters

Chapter 1: Family and genealogical background
Chapter 2: High school, college and the draft
Chapter 3: Computing at Aberdeen Proving Ground
Chapter 4: Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh
Chapter 5: Operations Research Office
Chapter 6: Briefing Charles Hitch
Chapter 7: Stopping war before it starts
Chapter 8: Joining Case with Ellis Johnson
Chapter 9: Making things better
Chapter 10: The Bureau of Standards (NIST)
Chapter 11: International projects
Chapter 12: A recollection of Ellis Johnson (Visco); summing up

Awards and Honors

George E. Kimball Medal 1992

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Professional Service

Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), President 1970

Selected Publications

Cushen W. E. (1954) Symbolic logic in operations research. McCloskey J. F. & Trefethen F. N., eds. in Operations Research for Management, 187-202. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD.

Cushen W. E. (1954) Generalized Battle Games on a Digital Computer (No. ORO-T-263). Research Analysis Corporation: McLean, VA.

Cushen W. E. (1955) War games and operations research. Philosophy of Science, 22(4): 309-320.

Cushen W. E. (1967) CS Pierce on Benefit-Cost Analysis of Scientific Activity. Operations Research, 15(4): 641-642.