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KNOXVILLE — The new National Defense Business Institute (NDBI) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the first university-based institute focused on helping the Department of Defense, other government agencies and the defense industry to improve their acquisition and business management programs.

NDBI combines academic and research expertise through partnerships with UT College of Business Administration, UT Center for Executive Education, the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“The creation of NDBI testifies to UT’s strong and compelling commitment to work with the Department of Defense and the defense industry to serve urgent and crucial defense acquisition business needs,” said Dave Patterson, NDBI executive director. “We want to inspire business innovation and effective program management. Helping both the military and the defense industry achieve the most out of taxpayers’ dollars is the goal.”

By working with clients throughout the “life-cycle” — from buying defense equipment to retiring the equipment — NDBI provides assistance to the Department of Defense to meet congressional mandates “to improve and enhance our nation’s future defense acquisition workforce.”

One of the reasons UT is able to provide this sort of business leadership is because its Center for Executive Education (CEE) offers the Aerospace Executive MBA, the only accredited program of its kind in the U.S., as well as non-degree courses in Performance-Based Logistics and Performance-Based Service Acquisition.

“NDBI is more than a conventional ‘think tank,'” Patterson said. “We provide the research capability, the academic curricula and practical, best-practices tools to identify problems, provide workable solutions and effective plans to implement those solutions.”

Patterson brings extensive executive-level experience with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, McDonnell Douglas and the Department of Defense (DoD) in leading successful federal programs and corporate growth within challenging and volatile global environments. He served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense, comptroller for the Department of Defense, and helped prepare and allocate the DoD’s annual budgets exceeding $515 billion, as well as annual supplemental requests exceeding $160 billion. He also developed legislative strategies, developed and implemented DoD financial policy, financial management systems and business modernization programs.

A major credential for his new assignment, Patterson has led the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Project, which conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the DoD’s acquisition system and decision-making processes, serving as special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, a position in which he provided support to the development and advice on national security operations and policies.


Cindy Raines, (865) 974-4359,