The Polaris Project and Managing Risk and Complexity

John Byrne

The United States Navy’s Polaris project was one of the most significant projects in human history. Its affects are still felt today in world politics. The purpose of this paper is to explore this project by examining the complex technical issues it faced and the part risk management played in the overall success of the project. This project was replete with complex technical and political issues that many wondered if these issues would cripple the project. Some wondered if the project was at all possible. In the end, though the development and use of various risks management techniques, the project was ultimately successful. The product of this project, the Polaris missile and submarine, has successfully influenced numerous geopolitical world events in the last 40 years. Though the exploration of this project, one can gain a better grasp of the use of risk management and insight into the management of complex projects.