Jack R. Borsting

January 31, 1929 – August 16, 2016

Brief Biography

Borsting Presidential Gallery Photo

Jack R. Borsting was president of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) in 1975 and of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) in 1970-1971. Borsting was born in Portland, Oregon to a Danish father and Swedish mother. At Oregon State University, he originally intended to study electrical engineering but was turned off by the tediousness of lab reports. He therefore switched to mathematics, receiving all three of his degrees in the subject. Between his masters and doctorate, Borsting spent two years as an Air Force officer, working with the nuclear arms division of the Development Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base. Straight after receiving his PhD from the University of Oregon, he accepted an offer to teach at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

Borsting taught vector analysis and probability and statistics at NPS. Early on, he worked on the Control Data 1604, the first-ever Control Data Corporation compute off the assembly line. In 1962, he was approached by Tom Oberbeck to join the school’s newly formed Operations Research Department. Though Borsting initially remained with mathematics, he was eventually selected as Oberbeck’s replacement to head OR at NPS. Borsting began recruiting first-generation OR PhDs from Case Western University (such as David Schrady), the University of Michigan, and MIT. He also started attending MORS meetings and got involved with ORSA and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS). Borsting’s early enthusiasm with MORS culminated in his presidential election in 1970.

In the late 1960s early 1970s, MORS faced a period of unease. The society was facing the potential loss of Air Force, Army, and Navy funds. As Director of the MORS board (and later president), Borsting played a role in securing its financial future. He also believed it necessary that MORS unite with the military-heavy ORSA and oversaw the “alliance” between the two organizations in 1974 before serving as ORSA president the following year. For his work with both societies, Borsting was awarded ORSA’s George E. Kimball Medal, the Jacinto Steinhardt Prize by ORSA’s military operations research section, and the Vance Wanner Award by MORS.

In 1980, Borsting was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). He held the role until 1983, preparing the management systems and budget for the entire Department of Defense (DoD). He has since been twice awarded the DoD’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Borsting returned to academia as Dean of the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration in 1988. He later relocated to the University of Southern California as Executive Director of the Center for Telecommunications Management at the Marshall School of Business. He was Dean of USC’s Marshall School of Business from 1988 to 1993.

Borsting has been involved with numerous other organizations. In addition to his work with MORS and ORSA, he has been honorary Treasurer of the International Federation of Operations Research Societies, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Trustee of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). Borsting has served on the corporate boards of Northrop Grumman Corporation, Security First Trust, PLATO Learning, Inc., Storer Communications, McDonnell Douglas Finance Corporation, Coast Savings Bank, Sun Bank of Miami, Ivax Diagnostics, and Whitman Education Group. Borsting served as Lead Governor of the American Stock Exchange and was a board member of Metropolitan Life Investors.

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Jack R. Borsting. Accessed March 16, 2015. (link)

Naval Postgraduate School. Board of Advisors: Honorable Dr. Jack R. Borsting. Accessed March 16, 2015. (link


Oregon State University, BS 1951

University of Oregon, MA 1952

University of Oregon, PhD 1960


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

Garrambone M. & Sheldon R. (2006) Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Oral History Project Interview of Jack Borsting, FS. Military Operations Research, 11(2): 57-82. (link)


ORMS Today, In Memoriam, Jack Borsting (1929-2016)ORMS Today vol 43 no 5, pp47-48 (link

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. In Memoriam: Dean Emeritus Jack R. Borsting. Accessed June 27, 2018. (link)

Awards and Honors

MORS Vance R. Wanner Memorial Prize 1981

George E. Kimball Medal 1982

Jacinto Steinhardt Prize 2000

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Professional Service

Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), President 1975

Military Operations Research Society (MORS), President 1970-1971

Selected Publications

Martin F. L., Borsting J. R., Steckbeck F. J., & Manhard Jr A. H. (1963) Statistical prediction methods for North American anticyclones. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 2(4): 508-516.

Borsting J. R. (1982) Decision-making at the top. Management Science, 28(4): 341-351.

Borsting J. R. (1987) OR Forum - President's Symposium: Reflections on OR/MS Education. Operations Research, 35(5): 787-791. (link)

Borsting J. R., Cook T. M., King W. R., Rardin R. L., & Tuggle F. D. (1988) A model for a first MBA course in management science/operations research. Interfaces, 18(5): 72-80.