John Van Houten

Chief Engineer for Army Aviation
APEO Engineering & Architecture

John Van Houten Graduated at the height of the tech boom in 1999 from Baylor University in Waco Texas with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. While his peers were accepting lucrative tech startup jobs in Austin, John choose to pursue a career with the defense industry by accepting a job as a Software Systems Integrator with Motorola supporting the Army’s Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS) at Ft. Hood Texas. In 2003, John deployed as a contractor to Kuwait, Iraq, and Qatar to provide field support during Operation Iraqi / Enduring Freedom for the TAIS system. Over the course of the next 6 years as an OEM Contractor, John continued to support Army Programs for Motorola and General Dynamics as the Lead Systems Engineer for the TAIS, the Software Systems Lead for the Future Combat Systems Airspace Planner, Ground Space Planner, and Communications Network Planners.
John transitioned from Industry to Government Civil Service in 2009 when he became the Government Lead Engineer for the TAIS program within the PM Aviation Systems, Air Traffic Control Product Office. During his time as TAIS Lead engineer, John oversaw the refactoring of the TAIS source code into a modular and open systems architecture, fully interoperable with the Common Operating Environment (COE) Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE). John also led efforts to redesign the TAIS shelter, processors, and air track fusion engines, resulting in a $24M cost avoidance for the TAIS program. As a result, John was presented the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Software Engineer of the Year Award in 2012.

In 2015, John served as acting Technical Branch Chief for the Aviation Ground Support Equipment Product Office where he initiated efforts develop a web-based framework for obsolescence management known as Crosswalk. He also served as the Lead Engineer for the Army Degraded Visual Environment program.

In 2016 John transitioned from the Army to The Missile Defense Agency and served as the Chief Engineer responsible for the Enterprise Sensors Laboratory (ESL), Ballistic Missile Defense System Overhead Persistent Infra-Red Architecture (BOA) and the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications eXperimentation Lab (C2BMC X-Lab). During this time John received the Program Management Team Award at the 14th Annual MDA Awards Ceremony for his team’s contribution to the US Pacific Command Joint Emergent Operational Need Response Team resulting in funding to address an advanced threat.
John transitioned back to Army Aviation in 2018 within PM Aviation Mission Systems & Architecture Technical Management Division as the Chief Engineer. There he led the organizational charge and change from paper systems engineering to Digital Engineering, utilizing Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Modular Open System Approaches (MOSA). He also served as an Enterprise SME on the PEO AVN MOSA Board of Directors.
In 2023 John continued his service in the position of Deputy Chief Engineer, and in 2024 as the AVN APEO, Engineering & Architecture and continues to champion the Enterprise adoption of Digital Engineering, the Digital Threads, MOSA, and MBSE holistically across Aviation.

John is the proud father of two very independent young women, both of whom have recently left the nest.
John’s lovely and very patient wife, Katie, puts up with his seemingly endless hobbies which include building and flying drones as a FAA licensed UAS Remote Pilot, dabbling in home automation of random devices with often mixed results, participating in shooting sports, and developing countless business ideas which he never seems to have time to implement, as brilliant as they are.
John is also active in his Church and is part of the spiritual formation and development team.