The Honorable Dr. Kathleen Hicks
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks serves as the 35th Deputy Secretary of Defense; she was sworn into that office on Feb. 9, 2021.
Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, Dr. Hicks held the position of senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense. Confirmed by the United States Senate in 2012 as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, she was responsible for advising the secretary of defense on global and regional defense policy and strategy. She also served as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and crafting guidance for future force capabilities, overseas military posture, and contingency and theater campaign plans.
Prior to becoming the DUSD for SPF, from 2006 to 2009 Deputy Secretary Hicks was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Deputy Secretary Hicks launched her career as a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving from 1993 to 2006 in a variety of capacities and rising from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service.
Dr. Hicks holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, and an A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College.
The Honorable William "Mac" Thornberry
NDIA ETI Advisory Board Member
Former Chairman of the HASC and Representative of Texas' 13th Congressional District
After serving in Congress for 26 years, Mac Thornberry continues to work at the intersection of technology and national security. He serves various companies and non-profit organizations as a board member and advisor. A former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, he was also a member of the House Intelligence Committee for more than a decade. Prior to his election to Congress representing the 13th District of Texas, Mac served in the State Department during the Reagan Administration, as staff on Capitol Hill, and practiced law. He graduated from Texas Tech University and received a law degree from the University of Texas.
Mac was the recipient of NDIA’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Award in 2017 as well as other recognitions, including the Peace Through Strength Award from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in 2021.
Admiral John C. Aquilino, USN
U.S. Indo Pacific Command Commander
General Joseph F. Dunford (Ret.)
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. served as the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council from Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2019.
Prior to becoming Chairman, General Dunford served as the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. He previously served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2010 to 2012 and was Commander, International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces-Afghanistan from February 2013 to August 2014.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, General Dunford graduated from Saint Michael's College and was commissioned in 1977. He has served as an infantry officer at all levels, to include command of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, and command of the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
General Dunford also served as the Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Director of Operations, and Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations. He commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force and served as the Commander, Marine Forces U.S. Central Command.
His Joint assignments include duty as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of the Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J-5), and Vice Director for Operations on the Joint Staff (J-3).
A graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the U.S. Army War College, General Dunford also earned master’s degrees in Government from Georgetown University and in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Dr. Kate Sixt
Principal Director for Biotechnology (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Kate Sixt currently serves as the Principal Director for Biotechnology in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. In this capacity, Dr. Sixt leads the Department of Defense’s research and engineering efforts to advance military capabilities through biotechnology innovation and maintain a competitive advantage in biotechnology.
Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Sixt was an Assistant Director and then the Acting Director of the Strategy, Forces, and Resources Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia, from 2019 to 2022. This Division houses a diverse body of technology and policy research in national security, including strategy and risk, international arms markets, forces and capabilities, readiness, and defenses against weapons of mass destruction. As a researcher, Dr. Sixt led the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Analysis group, and she spearheaded technical analyses in national security topics related to weapons of mass destruction as well as emerging and dual-use technologies. This body of research included the technology opportunities for national security modernization focused on biotechnology, including technology protection and norms of biotechnology applications in military and civil domains.
Dr. Sixt joined the Institute for Defense Analyses in 2013 after completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and a bachelor’s in biochemistry from St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York. In addition, she is completing her master’s in the law of armed conflict at the Geneva Academy in Geneva, Switzerland, where her research focuses on the role of technology norms on the means and methods of warfare.
Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute/BioFabUSA
Dean Kamen is an inventor, an entrepreneur and a tireless advocate for science and technology. His roles as inventor and advocate are intertwined: his passion for technology and its practical uses has driven his personal determination to spread the word about technology's virtues and, by so doing, to change the culture of the United States.
As an inventor, he holds more than 1,000 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. These include the AutoSyringe infusion pump, the HomeChoiceTM peritoneal dialysis system, the iBOTTM mobility device, and the Segway® Human Transporter.
Kamen has received many awards for his efforts. Notably, Kamen was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000. Presented by President Clinton, this award was in recognition for inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide and for innovative and imaginative leadership in awakening America to the excitement of science and technology. He has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1997.
In addition to DEKA, one of Dean's proudest accomplishments is founding both FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and FIRST® Global, organizations dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use and enjoy science and technology.
Dean’s most recent non-profit effort is the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). ARMI's mission is to make practical the large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues and tissue-related technologies, to benefit existing industries and grow new ones. In 2017, ARMI launched BioFabUSA, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to leverage $80 million in federal funding to invest in developing the manufacturing tools and technologies necessary to achieve its mission.
Dr. Doug Friedman
Chief Executive Officer
Douglas Friedman is CEO of BioMADE, the Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute. In founding BioMADE, Doug seeks to secure the growth of the U.S. industrial biomanufacturing ecosystem and advance the bioeconomy. His primary scientific and technical interests lie in the fields of synthetic biology, industrial biomanufacturing, and modern biotechnology. Doug'ss policy interests include development of sustainable biotechnology, safeguarding the bioeconomy, and accelerating technical advancement by building diverse, robust community partnerships. He regularly serves as a subject matter expert on emerging biotechnologies, biotechnology policy, and national security topics at the interface of the biological and chemical sciences. Prior to BioMADE, Doug was the inaugural Executive Director of Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and currently serves on its Steering Committee. Prior to EBRC, he was a study director and senior program officer with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine where his focus was at the interface of chemistry and biology with a frequent focus on national security matters. Earlier in his career, Doug performed research in physical organic chemistry and chemical biology in academia and industry. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Chemical Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Dev Shenoy
Principal Director for Microelectronics (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Dev Shenoy joined the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, OUSD(R&E), as the Principal Director for Microelectronics in July 2021. In this role, Dr. Shenoy is responsible for leading the Department of Defense’s research and engineering efforts in Microelectronics.
Prior to joining OUSD(R&E), Dr. Shenoy served as the Director of Microelectronics Innovation and as Director of Advanced Technologies at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute.
Prior to joining USC/ISI, Dr. Shenoy served as Chief Engineer in the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the Department of Energy (DOE) HQ. In that role, he co-authored DOE’s 2015 QTR (Quadrennial Technology Review) that served as a blueprint for DOE’s energy technology investments. Among other initiatives, Dr. Shenoy proposed and led a “Big Idea” for U.S. national security and economic competitiveness within the Office of EERE (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) on “Beyond Moore Computing” with participation from eight DOE National Labs.
Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Shenoy served as a Senior Advisor at the Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy (MIBP) Office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) as a detailee from the Army Night Vision and Sensors Directorate (NVESD) at Fort Belvoir. In that role, he co-led a Telecom initiative with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to explore U.S. opportunities in Optical networks. While at OSD/MIBP, Dr. Shenoy proposed and helped develop a public-private partnership in Photonics that led to the creation of the AIM Photonics Institute.
Prior to serving at OSD/MIBP, Dev was a Program Manager at DARPA, (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), where he developed and managed cutting-edge technology programs in the areas of Spintronics, such as the STT-RAM (Spin Torque Transfer Random Access Memory) program, a technology that was successfully transitioned and commercialized; Dr. Shenoy also developed and led programs in Photonics and MEMS for defense and commercial applications.
Dr. Shenoy has a Ph.D. in Physics from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, and NSF postdoctoral experience from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
President and General Manager
Jim Brinker is the President and General Manager for Intel Federal LLC (IFL). IFL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation established in 2012 to allow Intel to conduct business directly with the Federal Government. In his role as President, Jim oversees a broad team including Contracts, Business Development, Pre/Post Sales Program Management, Supply Chain, Information Security, Engineering, and Finance.
Jim has a deep level of government experience. Prior to joining Intel, Jim spent 11 years at Silicon Graphics International. He held strategic positions driving their Media business and Federal business. The last 6 years Jim served as President of SGI Federal LLC. SGI Federal represented over 50% of SGI’s worldwide business focused on providing High Performance Computing Solutions to the DOD, DOE, NASA, NOAA, and HHS. Prior to SGI, Jim held strategic positions at ATT, Sony, and Cisco.
Jim is a graduate of the University of Florida. He and his wife Caren have three grown daughters and live in the Washington D.C. area.
Dr. Mark Lewis
Purdue Applied Research Institute
Dr. Mark J. Lewis is the CEO of Purdue’s Applied Research Institute (PARI). The nonprofit applied research arm of Purdue with a particular focus on national security, economic security and food security for the United States.
Prior to joining PARI, Dr. Lewis served as the Executive Director of NDIA’s Emerging Technologies Institute, a non-partisan institute focused on technologies that are critical to the future of national defense.
Formerly, Dr. Lewis was the Director of Defense Research & Engineering in the Department of Defense, overseeing technology modernization for all Services and DoD Agencies, as well as the acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering.
From 2012 to 2019, Dr. Lewis was the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Institute that supported the Executive Office of the President and other Executive Branch agencies in the formulation of national science and technology policy. Best known for his work in hypersonics, Dr. Lewis’s research has spanned the aerospace flight spectrum from the analysis of conventional jet engines to entry into planetary atmospheres. From 2004 to 2008, Dr. Lewis was the Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force, the principal scientific adviser to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force. As the longest-serving Chief Scientist in Air Force history, his primary areas of focus included hypersonics, space launch, energy sustainment, advanced propulsion, basic research, and workforce development.
Dr. Lewis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bachelor of Science in Earth and Planetary Science (1984), and Master of Science (1985) and Doctor of Science (1988) in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Additionally, he has served on various boards for NASA and DoD, including the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Jessica Appler
Director for Maintaining Technology Advantage (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Jessica M. Appler is the Director for Maintaining Technology Advantage in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology (S&T) Program Protection in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). Dr. Appler serves as the principal OUSD(R&E) executive for policy, guidance, education, analysis, and capabilities to balance the promotion and protection throughout the technology development lifecycle for critical and emerging technologies vital to maintaining DoD technology advantage and ensuring the unquestioned superiority of the American joint force. She oversees the DoD Joint Acquisition Protection and Exploitation Cell; the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Damage Assessment Management Office; S&T protection; international partnership engagement for technology protection on shared common interests; and integration of technical, intelligence, counterintelligence, security, and law enforcement information to proactively mitigate exploitation and unwanted technology transfer from the National Security Innovation Base.
Dr. Appler possesses a wealth of experience across the acquisition cycle. Previously, she served as an S&T Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In that role, Dr. Appler provided leadership for technology protection during the COVID-19 response; intelligence support for ASPR’s acquisitions and operational response; and analytic support for requirements, development, testing, acquisition, and deployment of medical countermeasures to address 21st century threats. Prior to her work at ASPR, she focused primarily on chemical and biological defense – providing test and evaluation oversight for Warfighter protection technologies within the Army and supporting advanced technology development for civilian applications at the Department of Homeland Security’s S&T Directorate.
During her career, Dr. Appler was awarded the HHS Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service, ASPR Pinnacle Medal, ASPR Superior Contribution Medal, and Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. She received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Defense and Strategic Studies from Naval War College, a Master of Science and Technology Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard University.
Vice President of Business Development
Jeremy Heerdink is a veteran with a remarkable background in both military and corporate leadership. With a 20-year career as an Army Special Operations Aviator and multiple executive positions in aerospace, aviation, and defense companies.
As Vice President of Business Development for Snowbird Technologies, Jeremy is tasked with strategic planning, business growth, and forging impactful partnerships. Jeremy has served as a Director of Capture, Director of Business Development, Vice President of Services, and Vice President of Strategy for Defense companies over the last 10 years.
Jeremy earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Embry Riddle University.
US Army DEVCOM
Capability Area Lead for Autonomous and Unmanned Systems
Mr. Whalley is an engineer with the US Army DEVCOM AvMC Technology Development Directorate (TDD), serving as the Capability Area Lead for Autonomous and Unmanned Systems. Since 1984, he has conducted research in helicopter flight control, handling qualities, and autonomy. Leading a team at Moffett Field, CA, they have been developing and testing autonomous helicopters since 2000, demonstrating numerous capabilities, including 3D risk-based obstacle field navigation, safe landing area determination, pilot-on-the-loop mission-adaptive autonomy, and single and dual-ship sling load operations on small- and full-scale (Black Hawk) helicopters. The team currently performs full-scale autonomy demonstrations using a fly-by-wire UH-60 and a conventionally actuated EH-60L, both operated by TDD, equipped with extended-range lidar, radar, and machine vision. Their work has been widely published, and Mr. Whalley holds degrees from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (BS Aero '84) and Stanford (MS Aero '87).
Fairbanks Morse Defense
Director of Digital Innovation
Trey Taylor has been with Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD) since 2019 where he leads the development of digital solutions and multiple digital transformation initiatives. Trey is a software development, data analytics, information technology (IT) and digital media expert with over 20 years of experience building data driven software experiences. Trey’s current research and development activities focus on robotic systems design, autonomy, advanced AI/ML capabilities and mixed reality technology development.
Prior to joining FMD, Trey ran Firefly.works, a startup focused on heating and power transmission via carbon nano particles as the head of sales and marketing while also leading the product design team for commercial heating applications. Trey also led business development and strategy for Koontz Wagner, a custom e-house and generator enclosure manufacturer, where he led inside sales, estimating, IT and strategy teams. Trey was the Head Business Intelligence and Strategy for MAN Diesel and Turbo North America where he had responsibility for business systems development, business intelligence, and IT. Trey has also worked with multiple startups and investment firms as an outside advisor/subject matter expert for technology development and technology strategy.
He resides in Madison WI and works from FMD’s main campus in Beloit WI.
Dr. Michael Fritze
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Senior Fellow and Former Vice President
Dr. Fritze is a Senior Fellow and former Vice President at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies responsible for the Microelectronics Policy portfolio. His activities include USG trusted access strategies, support of needed legacy technologies, DOD innovation policy and outreach to Industry and strengthening the US Microelectronics Industrial Base. He is also the Director of the VITAL Center (Vital Infrastructure Technology And Logistics) at Potomac.
Dr. Fritze was the Director of the Disruptive Electronics Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute. (2010-2015). He also held a Research Professor appointment in the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics). His research interests at ISI included Trusted Electronics, CMOS Reliability & Robustness, Low power 3DIC enabled electronics and Rad-hard electronics. He was a Program Manager at the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) from 2006-2010. While at DARPA, Dr. Fritze was responsible for Programs in the areas of 3D Integrated Circuits (3DIC), Steep-Subthreshold-slope Transistors (STEEP), Radiation Hardening by Design (RHBD), Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA), Silicon-based RF (TEAM), Ultra-low power Digital (ESE), Highly regular designs (GRATE) and Leading-edge foundry access (LEAP).
Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Fritze was a staff member from 1995-2006 at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he worked on fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) technology development with an emphasis on novel devices. Particular interests included highly scaled, tunneling-based, and ultra-low power devices. Dr. Fritze also worked in the area of silicon-based integrated optics. Another research interest at Lincoln Laboratory was in the area of resolution-enhanced optical lithography and nanofabrication with particular emphasis on low volume technological solutions.=
Dr. Fritze received a Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University in 1994, working in the area of compound semiconductor quantum well physics. He received a B.S. in Physics in 1984 from Lehigh University. Dr. Fritze is an elected member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service awarded in 2010. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is active on the GOMAC Conference Program Committee as well as the NDIA Electronics Division Policy Group. Dr. Fritze has published over 75 papers and articles in professional journals and holds several U.S. Patents.
Dr. Dana Anderson
Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer
Dr. Dana Anderson is co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Infleqtion. He is also Professor of Physics and of Electrical Engineering, and is a Fellow of the JILA Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received a BSEE degree from Cornell University in 1975 and his PhD in quantum optics from the University of Arizona in 1981; his thesis focused on the then new technology of ring-laser gyroscopes. Dr. Anderson did his postdoctoral work at Caltech, carrying out the development on the prototype gravitational wave interferometer which later evolved into “LIGO” —the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory. Dr. Anderson joined the faculty at the University of Colorado in 1984 where he continued work on optical gyroscopes and also on optical neural networks using dynamic holography. The latter was recognized by the Optical Society of America’s R.W. Wood Prize. Dr. Anderson co-founded ColdQuanta (now Infleqtion) in 2007 to become the first manufacturer of quantum components, instruments, and systems based on cold and ultracold atoms. Infleqtion’s commercial BEC system drew the attention of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which then led to the NASA Cold Atom Lab (CAL) mission to put a BEC system on the International Space Station. Infleqtion systems have been operating continuously on the ISS for well over four years.
Dr. Anderson has published over 100 scientific papers as is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Optical Society of America. He is also recipient of a Sloan Foundation Fellow, a Humboldt Senior Research Award, and the Colorado Governor’s CO-Labs award for the high impact research leading to the development of foundational technology and recipient of the Willie E. Lamb Award for pioneering work in the foundations of atomtronics.
Directed Energy Professional Society
Former Executive Director
Mark Neice is the Executive Director of the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS). DEPS fosters research and development in Directed Energy, to include high-energy laser and high-power microwave technologies for national defense and civilian applications, through professional communication and education. Mr. Neice is twice retired from the federal government; the last time in December 2012, after 37 years of military and civilian service. He previously retired from the US Air Force, as a Colonel, in October 2004. Mr. Neice is formerly the Director of the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, working for the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering. There he supervised the research and development of solid-state, free electron & gas laser devices, beam control technologies, lethality analysis, and the modeling & simulation tools that create military applications of laser energy for combat operations. Previously, Col Neice was the Chief of the Laser Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Lab; and Director of systems engineering & test operations for the Airborne Laser Program Office. A command pilot, Col Neice has time in the 4950th Test Wing, and as initial cadre of the Joint Stars test team. He has over 7000 flying hours, mainly in the C-135 and B-707 variants, and is a member of the DoD Acquisition career force, certified in program management; test & evaluation; systems engineering; and science & technology management.
Dr. William Clark
Vice President of Quantum Development
Dr. William Clark is an accomplished industry leader with over two decades of experience in systems design, development, and integration of cutting-edge tactical and strategic communications systems. Currently, he serves as the Vice President of Quantum Development at Infleqtion, where he leads the development of innovative quantum technologies.
Before joining Infleqtion, Dr. Clark was a Senior Engineering Fellow at General Dynamics Mission Systems. He was the Founder and Director of the Quantum Laboratory and Quantum Center of Excellence, where he explored the practical use of quantum technologies for secure and covert communications, remote sensing, and signal processing. His work has been instrumental in advancing the development and implementation of quantum technologies in the defense industry.
Dr. Clark has a Ph.D. in Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics from the University of Colorado, Department of Physics. He has been recognized for his work as the Chairman of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for Quantum Computing, Communications, Security, and Sensing.
Dr. Clark's expertise in quantum technologies, systems design, and development has made him a sought-after speaker and thought leader. His contributions to the field have been invaluable, and he continues to lead the industry in developing and implementing quantum technologies.
Thales Defense & Security
Director, Product Line Manager
Paul Brown is the Director of Product Line Management (PLM) for the Thales Defense & Security, Inc. (TDSI) tactical radio product portfolio. He brings over 30 years of experience and expertise managing tactical communication systems programs for customers and internal research & development (IR&D) efforts that span the full product lifecycle, from initial product concept through final release to production. He also specializes in the successful design and development of software-defined radios (SDRs) that are optimized for size, weight, and power (SWAP).
Mr. Brown joined TDSI in 2004 as a program manager and was promoted to the Director of Product Management in 2011. In this multi-faceted role, he develops the product roadmap, oversees the design and development of new products, and manages new business development and marketing for TDSI’s tactical radio product line.
Prior to joining TDSI, Mr. Brown worked in program management for General Dynamics Communication Systems Technology and Communication Systems Technology, Inc.
Dr. Michelle Atchinson
University of Texas, San Antonio
Director of Federal Relations
Dr. Michelle Atchison is the Director of Federal Relations and Senior National Security Strategist leads for the University of Texas at San Antonio. From 2019-2021, Dr. Atchison was IPA within the National Counterintelligence and Security Center under the Office of the Direction of National Intelligence serving as the Federal Partners Group Chief. Prior to joining UTSA, Dr. Atchison was Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations for National Security with the University of Texas System.
In her corporate roles, Michelle led Strategic Partnership Development for Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories and Washington Operations focused on accelerating technology transition efforts. Her technical roles included leading the Corporate Technical Investment Program (LMTIP); designing the Corporate Engineering and Technology Research Portal to support integration and coordination of Internal R&D efforts across major corporate business areas; and serving as the first Chief Scientist for the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation, the Corporation’s premier Experimentation and Modeling-Simulation.
In her military roles, Michelle served for 27 years to include key military command and senior staff positions including: Chief, Science and Technology (S&T) Division, USJFCOM Experimentation; Chief Scientist for Air Force Experimentation Office and Science Advisor for the Air Force Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center. Michelle established and managed multi-Service teams to support strategic and industrial plans to identify technology work among Services, DOD, Government agencies and commercial efforts.
Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA; a master’s degree from Catholic University in International Affairs with a focus in senior Wargaming; and a doctorate in Higher Education with a focus on strategic development and organizational design from George Washington University. She is a graduate of the Army Intermediate College and Air Force War College. She serves as a member of the National Advisor Committee for the Federal Laboratory Consortium and on the National Defense Industry Association Science, Technology and Engineering Committee.
Dr. Bindu Nair
Director of Basic Research (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Bindu Nair was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in March 2020 and is now serving as the Director of Basic Research within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD). In this role, she is responsible for oversight and coordination of the Department’s $2.5 billion investment in basic science. This investment supports high risk and high pay-off basic research projects in fields including physical science, life science, environmental science, applied mathematics, and others that probe the limits of today’s technologies and discover new phenomena and know‐how that may ultimately lead to future technologies for the Department.
From 2012-2017, Dr. Nair served in various roles including Acting Director and Deputy Director in the Human Performance, Training and Biosystems (HPT&B) Directorate within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this role, Dr. Nair was involved in overseeing a broad range of DoD’s science and technology programs that support Warfighter effectiveness. Her specific areas of responsibilities in the office were in environmental technologies, bio-assist technologies (for exoskeletons and prosthetics), human machine teaming, and social behavioral modeling in the information environment.
Prior to her assignment to OUSD, Dr. Nair worked for the Department of the Army with oversight responsibilities over the science and technology program in power and energy. She has worked in the DoD laboratory system at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center as well as in private industry at Foster Miller (Waltham, MA).
Her research expertise is in the field of Material Science and Engineering including nanomaterials, polymers, and organic electronic materials, and she has taught graduate level courses in Polymer Synthesis. She has published primarily in membrane and materials development fields and holds patents in fuel cell technologies. Dr. Nair holds a B.Sc. from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering.
Director of the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program
Ms. Frost is also responsible for the Office the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology (OSD ManTech) Office which helps meet cross-cutting defense manufacturing needs and stimulate the early development of manufacturing processes and enterprise business practices to achieve cost-effective solutions that enable our Warfighters.
Some of these responsibilities include:
• supporting the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) Research & Engineering’s (R&E) modernization priorities,
• maintaining a joint planning process and providing centralized guidance to the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel,
• managing the Manufacturing Science and Technology Program,
• overseeing the Federal government’s partnership with the DoD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs),
• furthering the DoD’s Manufacturing Education and Workforce Development (EWD) initiatives, and
• collaborating across the Department and Federal Government to advance manufacturing in the United States.
Prior to leading the DoD ManTech Program, Ms. Frost spent seven years managing small business programs for the Office of Naval Research’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program before becoming the Director of the DoD SBIR and STTR program for the OSD Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). Here she implemented innovative initiatives to assist the small business community transition viable technologies to the military and commercial marketplace.
Prior to her small business involvement, Ms. Frost served as a science and technology program manager for over 10 years in the areas of unmanned systems and ship logistics. Ms. Frost has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University.
Dr. Robert Mantz
Principal Director for Renewable Energy and Storage (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Robert Mantz assumed the role of Principal Director for Renewable Energy Generation and Storage (REG&S) at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)) in June 2023. In this position, he spearheads the strategic direction for implementing renewable energy solutions across the Department of Defense (DoD) while coordinating scientific and technical development activities.
Most recently, Dr. Mantz served as the Principal Deputy for Extramural Competency Investments at the Army Research Office (DEVCOM/ARL) where he managed annual extramural basic research investments of over $325 million. In this role, he played a crucial part in enabling vital future Army technologies and capabilities through high-risk, high-payoff research opportunities. Prior to that, he held the position of Chief, Engineering Sciences Division at the Army Research Office and Chief, Chemical Sciences Division, where he funded fundamental research for advanced future power sources and led the division's efforts in advancing engineering sciences.
He previously joined the Army Research Office in 2006 as the Electrochemistry Program Manager, where he funded research to develop advanced power sources for Soldiers. Dr. Mantz's career also included his appointment as a Program Manager in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Strategic Technology Office (DARPA/STO). During his tenure, he oversaw the Biofuels and Deployable Energy Storage programs, driving advancements in these critical areas.
Before transitioning to his civilian roles, Dr. Mantz served as an Air Force Reservist and held significant positions within the Air Force. He served as the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Integration, where he played a pivotal role in planning, managing, and analyzing the Air Force's research and development and acquisition investment budget. Additionally, he served as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) and Air Force Senior Director to FEMA Region III, contributing to emergency preparedness efforts. He also previously served as the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Research Laboratory as Detachment 14 Commander and acting AFOSR Deputy Director. Dr. Mantz retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Colonel.
Dr. Mantz obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1989 at the United States Air Force Academy. He holds a master’s degree for the synthesis and characterization of linear polymers containing polyhedral silsesquioxanes and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from California State University.
Throughout his 37-year career in federal service, both as a military officer and a civilian professional, he has amassed extensive experience and expertise in various scientific and technological domains. Dr. Mantz's wealth of knowledge and dedication continue to drive the development and transition of cutting-edge technology to ensure technical overmatch for our future warfighters.
Dr. Andrew Higier
Director of the Energy Portfolio, Defense Innovation Unit
Dr. Andrew Higier serves as the Director of the Energy Portfolio at the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). In this role, Dr. Higier supports the Energy Portfolio in delivering strategic energy capabilities to the military by accelerating the adoption of commercial technology and strengthening the national security innovation base. The Energy Portfolio is focused on two primary lines of effort: Installation Resilience and Operational Energy.
Prior to joining DIU, Dr. Higier was the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense of Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E) Liaison Officer to U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). He was responsible for developing, planning, and executing a vast Science and Technology (S&T) portfolio, including over ten projects and $100M in funding supporting the USSOUTHCOM Mission.
Dr. Higier has spent over a decade focused on bringing innovative and game-changing technologies to the warfighter. He has extensive experience across the Department of Defense (DoD), including multiple positions in the U.S. Navy, USSOUTHCOM, and OUSD R&E, and diverse experience in private industry and academia. Dr. Higier began his time in the government as an Engineer at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific. He was responsible for several energy-related projects, from basic research to demonstrations. In July 2015, Dr. Higier was selected as a Science Director for the Office of Naval Research Global in Singapore. In this role, he provided regional expertise in Power and Energy and worked closely with the Chief of Naval Research. He was responsible for discovering innovative research and introducing it to the Office of Naval Research and the broader Naval Research and Development Enterprise.
Dr. Higier has over 15 years of experience in program development and management. He completed his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells in 2001. Prior to joining the DoD, he worked at various private-sector small business startups. In 2010 Dr. Higier joined the Applied Research Center (ARC) of Florida International University, where he was a Research Scientist in charge of joint Renewable Energy projects with USSOUTHCOM. Later he served as a consultant at a Silicon Valley startup working on unique and innovative electrochemical systems.
Dr. Higier holds a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. He has authored a number of journal articles, has presented at a number of conferences across the globe, and also holds several patents.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment
Mr. Paul Farnan was sworn in as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment on October 4, 2021, and is also serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. As the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, he is the principal deputy advisor to the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army on all matters related to Installation policy and oversight and the coordination of energy security and management. He is also responsible for policy and oversight of sustainability and environmental initiatives; resource management including design, military construction, and operations and maintenance; Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC); privatization of Army family housing, lodging, real estate, and utilities; and the Army’s Installation Safety and Occupational Health (SOH) programs. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Farnan served at U.S. Northern Command performing COVID response operations. This included deploying in spring 2020 to California, Louisiana, and New York City to assist in the coordination of the medical support the military provided to the citizens of those states. He also was a member of the planning team that wrote DoD’s global pandemic response plan, and in the spring of 2021 deployed to New Jersey to coordinate military teams providing support at the federal vaccination sites in that state. Mr. Farnan has also served in the operational energy office in the Pentagon and as a senior civilian advisor to the commanding general in Afghanistan where he focused on civil-military cooperation. He has also worked as a senate legislative assistant working on defense and veterans’ issues. Mr. Farnan served on active duty for nine years as a Naval helicopter pilot and continues to serve as an officer in the Naval Reserve. Mr. Farnan graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering. He further earned a Master of Arts in Environmental Policy from the University of Denver and a Master of Science in Global Energy Management from the University of Colorado, Denver.
Anthony Di Stasio
Director of the Manufacturing, Capability Expansion, and Investment Prioritization Directorate (OUSD(A&S))
Anthony Di Stasio currently serves as the Director of the Manufacturing, Capability Expansion, and Investment Prioritization Directorate (MCEIP) at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD A&S). MCEIP prioritizes and invests in industrial development and production critical for protecting national security. His responsibility includes DPA Title I and III authority as well as the Industrial Base Authority.
Previously, Mr. Di Stasio served as the Director of the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program, now known as Defense Production Act Investments (DPAI). Prior to his role leading the DPA Title III Program, he served as the Program Manager for the Department of Defense Joint Enhanced Munitions Technology Program (JEMTP) at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E). He simultaneously served as the U.S. National Lead for the OUSD R&E’s Technical Cooperation Panel (TTCP) for energetics. He also has 17 years of experience at the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (Armaments Center), headquartered at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, where he focused on munitions design and development.
His service at Armaments Center included Project Officer for the Insensitive Munitions Explosive Program, Project Officer for the Future Requirements of Enhanced Energetics for Decisive Munitions Energetics Program, Project Officer for the Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition Explosive Thrust, and Insensitive Munitions Technical Lead. He led more than five field transition technologies and holds five patents for the development of the subscale insensitive munitions testing and production of nano-energetics. He won three research and development awards from the Army, as well as awards from NATO for contributions to insensitive munitions technology development. He was recognized by TIME for having one of the “Inventions of the Year” in 2010.
Mr. Di Stasio has expertise in energetic materials, detonation train design, nano-energetics, gun propulsion, rocket propulsion, insensitive munitions, program management, and risk analysis.
He received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Delaware.
Cadence Design Systems
Senior Global Group Director, Aerospace and Defense
James Chew is the Senior Global Group Director, Aerospace and Defense, Cadence Design Systems, as well as the Chair, NDIA Science and Engineering Technology Division. Based in Washington, DC, Chew regularly interacts with senior level executives within the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government, as well as senior executives within the global Defense and the Commercial Industrial Base.
In his thirty-nine years of experience, Mr. Chew has served as a propulsion engineer for Boeing Aerospace Company, senior engineer for SPARTA, program manager for Air Force Rocket Propulsion Lab, Director of Rocket Propulsion Technology Plans and Programs for the Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Assistant Staff Specialist for Weapons Technology for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Deputy Director of Air and Surface Weapons Technology for the Office of Naval Research. Mr. Chew also served as Exide’s (Nasdaq:XIDE) Vice President for the Military and Specialty Global Business Unit, Product Marketing Consultant for the Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation, QWIPTECH’s Chief Operating Officer, General Motor’s American Tuner Program Manager, T/J Technologies Chief Operating Officer, Vice President, Science and Technology, ATK (NYSE: ATK), and SAIC’s (NYSE: SAI) Vice President, Space Systems Development Division, L-3 Communications Holdings (NYSE: LLL) Director, Advanced Technologies and Concepts for the Precision Engagement Sector, and Director, Strategic Development, General Atomics.
Parallax Advanced Research
LJ Eads is an expert in research intelligence, data analytics, and technology development. As the Director of Research Intelligence at Parallax Advanced Research, LJ leads a team in delivering cutting-edge data analytics products. LJ is the founder and developer of Data Abyss, which provides innovative big data platforms for analyzing adversarial science and technology data. Data Abyss was acquired by Parallax Advanced Research in 2023.
LJ's expertise in risk assessment is showcased through processors that detect entity risks based on connections to adversarial military operations and intelligence. Prior to Parallax, LJ was a research intelligence analyst and data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, MITRE, and the United States Air Force where he contributed advisory services for digital transformation, AI advancements, and signals intelligence analysis. LJ's career journey reflects his commitment to pushing the boundaries of data analytics and intelligence analysis for the United States national security
J.H. Whitney Investment Management
Chairman and CEO
John M. B. O’Connor is CEO of J.H. Whitney Investment Management, LLC., and subsidiaries Whitney Strategic Services and Whitney Data Services. Previously, Mr. O’Connor was Chairman of JP Morgan Alternative Asset Management. Mr. O’Connor serves on the Board of Directors of numerous companies including Oceus Networks, LLC., Sequoia Holdings, Inc., Boon Logic, Inc., SixGen Inc., and Global Guardian LLC.
He is a Senior Fellow at the USMA West Point where he lectures on the Economics of National Security and a member of the Global Tech Security Commission (www.global.techsecurity.com). He served as a member of the US Department of Defense Business Board from 2005 to 2021, and as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for New York from 2014 to 2019.
He is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Air Force Distinguished Public Service Award and the Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award. He earned a BA in economics from Tulane University and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Małgorzata Kiełtyka has 14 years of experience in handling cross border commercial cases, including litigation and non-contentious matters.
She represents mostly international clients operating in various sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, new technologies, IT, media, healthcare and life sciences; transport & logistics, telecom, financial institutions, including fintech and start-ups.
She deals with commercial law, formation of companies, handles M&A transactions, corporate restructuring, corporate governance and provides ongoing advice to corporate clients.
She extensively advises on life science and technology transactions and litigation. In that respect she has extensive experience in regulatory and commercial issues involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, foods, including novel foods and borderline products. She handles entry procedures, labelling, advertising matters (including competition aspects) and advises on sales models.
She has vast experience in technology transactions, including data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics, fin tech, blockchains, e-commerce, video games, e-sports, e-health, AR/VR, mobile, covering a variety of legal aspects of IP, regulatory, competition, contracts and financing.
She handled a number of bio-IT projects in such aspects as data storage and transport, AI for drug discovery, bioinformatics, emerging AI technologies, clinical research and translational informatics.
Jakub Gładkowski has 15 years of experience in commercial and corporate legal matters. He specializes in cross-border transactions and litigation.
He advises clients from a wide variety of sectors, including the technology; fintech & blockchain; cybersecurity; media & telecom; healthcare and life sciences; financial institutions; fintech; real estate, construction & infrastructure; transport & logistics; manufacturing; retail & distribution, and energy sectors.
He negotiates and drafts contracts in international sale and construction, represents clients in investments processes, mergers and acquisitions, advises on commodities supply contracts, franchise agreements and joint-venture agreements.
He assisted a number of clients in technology transactions, crowdfunding and virtual currencies. In this respect he has gained experience in a number of legal issues covering compliance, IP, licensing proceedings. He was involved in robotic process automation contracts and technology licensing structures.
He advises on life science and technology transactions and litigation. He has extensive experience in regulatory and commercial issues involving marketing authorization, clinical trials, personal data protection, product labelling, pharmacovigilance, cosmetovigilance, product liability and competition.
He has extensive experience in litigation, having represented a number of international clients in disputes of a commercial nature, corporate disputes, enforcement of judgments, court settlements.
He represents and advises international clients in cross-border relocation processes and provides comprehensive assistance in a number of global mobility aspects. He advises on various aspects of cross border employment law, handling individual, collective, and EU employment cases. He participated in multijurisdictional employment restructuring, including group layoffs, employee transfers and outsourcing.
He has significant expertise in advising on development projects, public procurement, and PPP transactions.
He has participated in a range of Polish and cross-border transactions, at all stages of projects, including transfers of stock and assets in corporate reorganizations, international financing transactions and financial products. He is often involved in due diligence of companies, negotiation and drafting of transaction documentation, as well as closing, and post-closing advice.
He on current basis advises high-net-worth individuals, including ultimate-net-worth clients in their investments in technology and med-tech start-ups, advises on separation of assets from risks; as well as property acquisitions and development.
He provides assistance mainly to foreign clients, particularly German-speaking clients and heads the law firm’s German Desk as well as coordinates communication with German-speaking clients.
Sphere Brake Defense
Co-Founder and CEO
AJ Lewis is Co-founder and CEO of Sphere Brake Defense, Inc. Prior to launching Sphere full time, he served 12 years in the military as a decorated Field Artillery and Stryker Infantry commander serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He led a global business unit for GE Transportation to support locomotive production, export, and GE’s private truck fleet. In addition to his CEO role at SBD, AJ has served as Principal Investigator on numerous SBIR programs and an OTA and is named inventor on 4 sphere brake patents. AJ is a licensed Project and Risk Management Professional.
Dr. Tom Rondeau
Principal Director for FutureG & 5G (OUSD(R&E))
Dr. Tom Rondeau is the Principal Director for the FutureG & 5G Office for the US Department of Defense, serving in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). In this role, Dr. Rondeau is responsible for the research, funding, and execution of programs to advance warfighting capabilities using 5G and future-generation wireless technologies.
Before assuming his role as Principal Director of the FutureG &5G Office, Dr. Rondeau spent more than six years as a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) program manager, where he worked on numerous technology areas to improve wireless networking and communications, which earned him the Distinguished Public Service Medal. Some of the programs he managed involved building software-defined arrays driving towards more capable software-defined radio, inventing new edge and embedded processor architectures, and enabling computing on encrypted data. During his time at DARPA, Dr. Rondeau also ran a series of hackfests on software radio and served as a subject matter expert on numerous problem sets for the US Department of Defense and the intelligence community.
Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Rondeau was the Project Lead for the GNU Radio project. In this role, Dr. Rondeau collaborated with numerous companies and organizations worldwide to build solutions to complex problems, thus forming a large community of experts in software radio that has grown into a thriving ecosystem.
Dr. Rondeau has published extensively on software radio, notably in Cognitive Radios in Public Safety and Spectrum Management, one of the first books on cognitive radio. Dr. Rondeau also served as a visiting researcher with the University of Pennsylvania and as an Adjunct with the IDA Center for Communications Research in Princeton, NJ.
Dr. Rondeau holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech. His dissertation won the Council of Graduate Schools’ 2007 Outstanding Dissertation Award in math, science, and engineering.
Director for 5G.MIL Programs
Lizy Paul is the Director for 5G.MIL® Programs, Lockheed Martin. In this position Lizy leads the strategy and execution of 5G.MIL and advanced communications programs for corporate. She is also responsible for the development and management of strategic industry relationships.
Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Lizy was the Director of Technical Strategy for Defense Communications, Datalinks and Networking Solutions for Collins Aerospace, an RTX company. Lizy has also held engineering leadership positions at Motorola, Ericsson, and Hughes Network Systems.
Lizy currently serves as the appointed co-chair for the Council on Competitiveness, Alliance for Transformational Computing (ATC) leading the advocacy to maintain U.S. leadership in transformational computing and its applications. She has also served as the elected chair of the U.S. National Spectrum Consortium (NSC). Lizy was honored with the career achievement award by the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) in 2023.
Lizy has a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and an Executive MBA from the University of Iowa. She holds 18 United States patents in RF Communications and Networking technologies.
Chief Technology Officer
Mike is responsible for creating a vision of how networks will evolve over the next 3-8 years and sharing those insights with management, product teams and customers, with the goal of optimizing Ericsson and customer outcomes. This includes exploration of new business opportunities.
Mike was formerly employed by Nokia and prior to then, Nortel, where he held senior CTO, R&D and Sales roles across Asia, Europe and North America.
Mike has a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Waterloo, in Canada and a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has lived in 8 countries to date, is fluent in English and French and dabbles in others. He is based in Plano, Texas.
Director, 5G Cross-Functional Team (5G CFT) for C3 Infrastructure (C3I) Directorate, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OSD)
Juan Ramírez is the Director of the 5G Cross-Functional Team (5G CFT) for C3 Infrastructure (C3I) Directorate of the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Command, Control, and Communications (C3), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Chief Information Officer (CIO). As Director of the 5G CFT, Mr. Ramírez provides technical and policy expertise, programmatic oversight, and broad guidance to synchronize and integrate 5G into defense-wide programs and achieve the DoD’s Digital Modernization Strategy initiatives. He represents DoD in interagency efforts defining and implementing U.S. Government policies and strategies for 5G-related critical infrastructure and supports international cooperation in 5G system design and prototyping. Mr. Ramírez leads the Executive Secretariat support to the DoD 5G Oversight Committee, an executive body that comprises 3- and 4-Star-level senior leaders and stakeholders.
Prior to joining the C3I Directorate in 2023, Mr. Ramírez served as Director of the Office of Planning and Programming for the Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). During his tenure, DISA became a premiere IT combat support agency and the trusted provider to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace. He streamlined the Cyber portfolio, successfully defended against DoD Appropriations Committee (Sustainment) proposed reductions (~+$1.5B) and secured additional funding for Cyber for ten consecutive years – resulting in a 45% cumulative increase in non-pay resources and a 20% increase in civilian full-time equivalents.
From 2021 to 2022, Mr. Ramírez served as Deputy Director CIO_C3_C3I. A recipient of the Department of Defense’s Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence in July 2022, he was instrumental in improving C3’s enterprise planning and technological superiority posture. Mr. Ramírez also served in the Revolving Funds Directorate of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller. While directing the Non-Appropriated Funds and Army Working Capital Fund (AWCF) accounts, he managed a total operating authority of over $13 billion for the AWCF.
Mr. Ramírez is a Georgetown University McDonough School of Business graduate and earned his master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University.
Dr. Paul Jacobs
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Paul E. Jacobs, Ph.D., founded XCOM in 2018 to #keepinventing and to invest with the world’s most creative engineers and businesspeople.
As former chief executive officer and executive chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, Dr. Jacobs spearheaded its efforts to develop and commercialize fundamental mobile technology breakthroughs that fueled the wireless internet and smartphone revolutions. During his tenure as CEO, Qualcomm’s revenues quadrupled and its market capitalization doubled. Dr. Jacobs is a prolific inventor with over 80 U.S. patents granted or pending in the field of wireless technology and devices.
He served as a director of Qualcomm Incorporated from June 2005 to March 2018, including as chairman of the board of directors from March 2009 to March 2018, and as executive chairman from March 2014 to March 2018. He served as chief executive officer from July 2005 to March 2014, and as group president of Qualcomm Wireless & Internet from July 2001 to July 2005. In addition, he served as an executive vice president of Qualcomm Incorporated from February 2000 to June 2005.
Dr. Jacobs is a director of Dropbox, Inc., Arm Limited and FIRST. He is an owner and vice chairman of the Sacramento Kings, who compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science, M.S. in electrical engineering, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science. He founded Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and was the university’s 2017 Alumnus of the Year. He serves as Affiliate Faculty in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Jacobs is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Maj. General Lee Levy (Ret.)
The Levy Group
President and CEO
Lee brings distinguished military service as well as unparalleled global leadership and expertise in national and international security policy, acquisition, sustainment, logistics, global supply chains, advanced manufacturing, civil engineering, strategic planning, strategic deterrence/nuclear weapons and munitions, and joint/multinational military operations as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Lee is President and CEO of The Levy Group, LLC which brings deep expertise in global security policy, global supply chains, Air/Space/Cyber capabilities as well as strategic analysis, risk, and crisis management in addition to organizational and leadership development. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Defense Industrial Association as well as the Chairman of the Logistics Management Division.
Additionally, he recently served 3+ years on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). Appointed by the NASA Administrator, the NAC is the senior external advisory body to the administrator on program and policy matters related to the US space program. Lee has also been appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma as a member of the Oklahoma Aerospace and Autonomous Systems Council. He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, in Washington DC. Lee a nationally certified Corporate Director, serves as an independent director on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit corporate boards including appointments to Audit and Compensation Committees. Lee is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Vanderbilt University. During his final general officer assignment with the Air Force, Lee was Commanding General of the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC), Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He served as CEO of the Air Force’s organization responsible for worldwide logistics, supply chain, sustainment, and maintenance, modification, repair, and overhaul (MMRO) of Air Force, other US military, and allied aircraft, space, and cyber systems. Lee led a global enterprise of a 43,000 primarily civilian workforce located in 73 locations across the globe with over $16B in earnings, the USAF’s only true profit and loss organization. Lee also directed and had global responsibility for the Air Force’s supply chains, and Agile software development and sustainment responsibility for Air, Space, and Cyber weapons systems as well as sustainment responsibility for much of the US Nuclear Deterrent Forces.
A New Orleans, Louisiana native, Lee’s military career began in 1985 when he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Louisiana State University. He also has earned a graduate certificate in systems management from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University. Lee earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. His varied education includes completing Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellows Program and Senior Executives in National and International Security programs. Lee completed the Air Force Enterprise Leadership seminar at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia as well as LOGTECH Executive Program and the Air Force Enterprise Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business.
The Honorable Christopher Lowman
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S))
He has served across the U.S. Army and the Joint Force for more than three decades.
From 2021-2022, Mr. Lowman served as the senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Army. As the Secretary of the Army’s senior civilian assistant and principal advisor on matters related to managing and operating the Army, he was also the Chief Management Officer of the Army and the Secretary’s principal advisor on effective and efficient organization of business operations and transformation initiatives, the senior official for all Executive and Senior Professional personnel actions, and responsible for supervising and directing all civilian senior leaders.
From 2018-2021, Mr. Lowman served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff (ADCS), G-3/5/7 (Tier 3), providing oversight and guidance to the Strategy, Plans and Policy; Cyber Operations; Administration and Resources; and Command and Control Support Agency Directorates. His focus included Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution of Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 program and budget; cyber activities; special access programs; sensitive activities programs; and support to non-Army agencies.
• 2017-2018: Director of Essential Function 5 (Sustainment) of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan
• 2015- 2017: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics
• 2006 to 2015: Director for Maintenance Policy (Tier 2) & Programs for the United States Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4
• 2003 to 2006: Chief, Supply and Maintenance, HQ, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR)
Mr. Lowman enlisted as a U.S. Marine in 1984 and entered the Army Civil Service as an Army Maintenance Management Intern in 1989. He holds an MS degree from the National War College and an MBA from Monmouth University.
Mr. Lowman’s awards include the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award (3), the Army Ordnance Corps Samuel Sharpe Award, the Army Quartermaster Corps Distinguished Order of Saint Martin, and the Department of the Army Integrated Logistics Support Achievement of the Year Award.
Lieutenant General John P. Sullivan, USA
Deputy Commander, U.S. TRANSCOM
Highlights from LTG Sullivan’s career include Commander of the 548th Corps Support Battalion, deploying the battalion headquarters to Iraq where they served as Logistics Task Force 548; Commander of the 595th Transportation Brigade (SDDC), headquartered at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; Executive Officer to the Commander, USTRANSCOM; 27th Chief of Transportation and Commandant of the U.S. Army Transportation School; Commander of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Daegu, Republic of Korea; and Commander of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command in the CENTCOM theater.
He has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, JOINT FORGE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM.
He holds Masters Degrees in Logistics Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff. LTG Sullivan also served as a Senior Service College Fellow at MIT.
His personal awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with two oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Basic Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
LTG Sullivan and his wife Jennifer are blessed with a daughter, Alanna, and a son, John Thomas.
Lt Gen Leonard J Kosinski, USAF
Director of Logistics, J4 Joint Staff
Lt. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski is Director for Logistics, the Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. As the Director for Logistics, he integrates logistics planning and execution in support of global operations and assists the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in fulfilling his responsibilities as the principal military advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense.
Lt. Gen. Kosinski received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1993 as a distinguished graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Research. He has served in operational assignments flying the KC-135 Stratotanker, C-5 Galaxy, and C-17 Globemaster III. He is a distinguished graduate of the Defense Language Institute and was an Olmsted Scholar in Tokyo, Japan. Lt. Gen. Kosinski has also served in major operations including operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and United Relief. Prior to his current position, the general was Deputy Commander, Fifth Air Force, and Director, Joint Air Component Coordination Element-Japan, Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Dr. Stefanie Tompkins
Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Tompkins has spent much of her professional life leading scientists and engineers in developing new technology capabilities. She began her industry career as a senior scientist and later assistant vice-president and line manager at Science Applications International Corporation, where she spent 10 years conducting and managing research projects in planetary mapping, geology, and imaging spectroscopy. As a program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, she created and managed programs in ubiquitous GPS-free navigation as well as in optical component manufacturing. Tompkins has also served as the deputy director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, director of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office – the agency’s most exploratory office in identifying and accelerating breakthrough technologies for national security – as well as the acting DARPA deputy director.
Tompkins received a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology and geophysics from Princeton University and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in geology from Brown University. She has also served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.
Vice Director, Defense Logistics Agency
Brad Bunn, appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2003, serves as the Vice Director of the Defense Logistics Agency, located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The agency is the Defense Department’s combat support agency for worldwide logistics, and provides food, medical materiel, uniforms and construction equipment, 98% of the Defense Department’s fuel, and the majority of spare parts for military weapons systems. DLA also supports foreign military sales and a myriad of “whole of government” customers in humanitarian/assistance, disaster response and recovery, and other logistics support.
Mr. Bunn was appointed as the DLA Vice Director in March 2021, and is the senior civilian in the agency, supporting the DLA Director by providing executive management, oversight, and leadership over agency organizations, operations, resources, and people.
Mr. Bunn began his federal career in 1991 as a civilian with the Department of the Navy and has been with DLA since October 2009 when he assumed the role of Director of DLA Human Resources. Serving as the Director of Human Resources, Mr. Bunn led a team of approximately 800 human resources, training, and administrative professionals providing human resources support to approximately 27,000 DLA civilian and military employees, and nearly 40,000 civilian employees in other Defense organizations receiving human resources shared services from DLA.
Prior to his DLA assignments, Mr. Bunn served in various roles with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, including the Program Executive Officer for the National Security Personnel System, and the Director of the Defense Civilian Personnel Management Service (now the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service), a Defense Department field activity reporting to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. He oversaw and managed Defense Department enterprise civilian human resources programs and information systems.
Mr. Bunn has received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive, the DLA Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the CPMS Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and the Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership from American University.
Mr. Bunn was born and raised in Northern Virginia, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Dr. William LaPlante
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S))
Senate-confirmed in April 2022, the Honorable Dr. William A. LaPlante serves as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD(A&S)). In this role, he is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for all matters pertaining to acquisition; contract administration; logistics and materiel readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; nuclear, chemical, and biological defense; the acquisition workforce; and the defense industrial base.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. LaPlante served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Draper Laboratory, a research and development company specializing in advanced technology solutions in national security, space exploration, health care, and energy. Previously, he was senior vice president and general manager at MITRE National Security, where he oversaw the operation of two federally funded research and development centers and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Dr. LaPlante served as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics from 2014 to 2017, where he aligned that Service’s $43 billion acquisition enterprise budget with the Air Force vision and strategy. During his tenure, he forged a path forward on critical Air Force acquisition programs such as the B-21 long range strike bomber, while realizing nearly $6 billion in “should-cost” savings in other programs. Prior to this position, Dr. LaPlante spent 26 years at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), ultimately leading the Global Engagement Department where he was responsible for all of APL’s work supporting offensive strike military capabilities. He also served as a member of the APL’s Executive Council.
Dr. LaPlante has been a member of several scientific boards and commissions focused on maintaining national security, including the U.S. Strategic Command Senior Advisory Group, Naval Research Advisory Committee, and Defense Science Board. He joined other national experts as a commissioner on the congressionally-mandated Section 809 Panel, which performed a comprehensive review of Department of Defense acquisition policies and provided improvement recommendations, many of which became law.
Dr. LaPlante holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in applied physics from The Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of Illinois.
Global Business Editor
Marcus Weisgerber is the global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than 16 years, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of Inside the Air Force. He has reported from Afghanistan, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and often travels with the defense secretary and other senior military officials. Marcus’ work has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and many other U.S. and international publications. He has provided expert analysis on BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, SiriusXM and other television and radio networks. In 2018, he won a Neal Award for his coverage of the Pentagon and defense industry. Marcus served as vice president of the Pentagon Press Association from 2015 to 2022. An avid hockey fan, Marcus earned a bachelor's degree in English/Journalism from the University of New Hampshire.