Cognitive control researchers aim to describe the processes that support adaptive cognition to achieve specific goals. Control theorists consider how to influence the state of systems to reach certain user-defined goals. In brain networks, some conceptual and lexical similarities between cognitive control and control theory offer appealing avenues for scientific discovery. However, these opportunities also come with the risk of conceptual confusion. Here, I suggest that each field of inquiry continues to produce novel and distinct insights. Then, I describe opportunities for synergistic research at the intersection of these subdisciplines with a critical stance that reduces the risk of conceptual confusion. Through this exercise, we can observe that both cognitive neuroscience and systems engineering have much to contribute to cognitive control research in human brain networks. This article is categorized under: Neuroscience > Cognition Computer Science > Neural Networks Neuroscience > Clinical Neuroscience. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.