Why should I become an ORCA Major?
The Operations Research and Computer Analysis (ORCA) major provides graduates with a background in mathematics, statistics, and computers. The primary focus of the ORCA major at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy is to enable cadets to conceptualize and describe reality using the tools of mathematics and statistics, develop appropriate models, derive solutions using computer technology, apply the solutions to specific Coast Guard and other real world problems and to effectively communicate solutions.
While the ORCA major emphasizes the practical application of mathematics, statistics, and computer techniques to "real world" problems, the central thrust of the program continues to be the understanding of mathematical concepts. In addition to courses concentrating on the tools of operations research, the Department of Mathematics offers numerous other courses covering the fundamentals of mathematical reasoning and analysis. Use of the computer as a tool in the analysis of data is essential to the major. Our graduates have a strong background in computer programming as well as experience utilizing a number of software packages including Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Minitab, ProModel, and Mathematica, along with other statistics, forecasting, optimization, and simulation packages.
ORCA applications abound in the Coast Guard and every other complex organization. They are present in resource allocation decisions, policy analysis, equipment replacement determinations, personnel assignment processes, tactical operational decisions, and nearly every facet of Coast Guard operations. Within every complex organization, and particularly in the Coast Guard, the tools of Operations Research are absolutely necessary for continuous improvement and effective decision-making.