Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus Appointed Director of Defense Research and Engineering | A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland

Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus Appointed Director of Defense Research and Engineering

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NASA photo by David C. Bowman

University of Maryland Department of Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus, Mark Lewis, has been named as the Pentagon’s new director of defense research and engineering for modernization and will be deputy to Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin.

According to an article published in Air Force Magazine, Lewis' new position will have a specific focus on evaluating the many hypersonics programs being pursued by the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy, as well as providing focus for the department’s other leading technology projects.

In this role, Lewis will have oversight of 11 technical or assistant directors assigned to the Pentagon’s top 12 technology priorities, which include hypersonics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, space, 5G, biotech, autonomy, cyber, directed energy, fully networked command, control, and communications (FNC3), microelectronics, and quantum science.

Lewis is an expert in hypersonics, propulsion, and space vehicle design and optimization. He served as Air Force chief scientist from 2004 to 2008. In 2018, he received the Air Force Association’s Theodore von Karman Award in recognition of his contributions as the longest serving Chief Scientist in the history of the Air Force, his national leadership in promoting basic research, and for his contributions and influence in the fields of propulsion and hypersonics.

In addition, he was president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) from 2010-2011, and until recently, was director of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute.

During his time as director at IDA, Lewis was a key leader in the X-51 Waverider project that successfully demonstrated sustained, hypersonic flight using air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion in 2013. The fourth test vehicle launched during the program reached a speed of Mach 5.1, traveling more than 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes.

Lewis’ new position was effective starting November 4, 2019.

Published November 13, 2019