Dr. David Christian “Chris” Hassell serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense. A member of the Senior Executive Service, he is responsible for Chemical and Biological Defense Program oversight throughout the Department of Defense and integration with our interagency and international partners. His primary goal is steering the enterprise in countering current and emerging biological and chemical threats to protect U.S. Service members and civilians at home and abroad.
Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Dr. Hassell was an Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he served as Director of the FBI Laboratory. During his tenure, he led major efforts to expand the Laboratory’s role in National Security and Intelligence, including the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) and other technical areas related to Weapons of Mass Destruction. In addition, he strengthened and streamlined FBI programs in traditional forensics, particularly in such rapidly evolving areas as DNA, chemistry and the use of instrumentation to augment pattern-based forensic techniques (e.g., fingerprints, firearms, and documents). He also led many engagements with international counterparts, with focus on enhancing counterterrorism interactions with “Five-Eyes” partners, as well as new technical collaborations in Asia, Latin America and with such key multilateral groups as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and INTERPOL.
Dr. Hassell joined the Bureau from the Oklahoma State University Multispectral Laboratories, where he led Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation. He previously served as Assistant Vice President for Science and Technology at Applied Marine Technologies Incorporated.
Prior to that position, Dr. Hassell led programs in analytical chemistry, instrumentation development, and nuclear weapons forensics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. This also included serving as an intelligence analyst with the Department of Energy Field Intelligence Element for a variety of issues related to Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological and Explosives (CBRNE) threats. During this time, he also served as a subject matter expert for chemical and biological weapons with the Iraq Survey Group in Baghdad.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Hassell was a Senior Research Chemist at DuPont, developing online analytical instrumentation for chemical and bioprocess facilities for both research and manufacturing. This included extensive R&D on fermentation-based processes for manufacturing small molecule commodity chemicals.
Dr. Hassell received his PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and a member of the American Chemical Society.