Dr. William Roper
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
Precision Strike Technology Symposium (PSTS-20) : Keynote: Air Force SAE Perspective
Dr. Will Roper is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. As the Air Force’s Service Acquisition Executive, Dr. Roper is responsible for and oversees Air Force research, development and acquisition activities totaling an annual budget in excess of $60 billion for more than 550 acquisition programs. In this position, Dr. Roper serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for research and development, test, production and modernization efforts within the Air Force.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Roper was the founding Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. Established in 2012, the SCO imagines new—often unexpected and game-changing—uses of existing government and commercial systems: extending their shelf-life and restoring surprise to the military’s playbook. Since 2012, SCO has grown from an annual budget of $50 million to the current $1.5 billion request in the President’s 2018 budget with projects spanning new concepts such as hypervelocity artillery, multi-purpose missiles, autonomous fast-boats, smartphone-navigating weapons, big-data-enabled sensing, 3D-printed systems, standoff arsenal planes, fighter avatars and fighter-dispersed swarming micro-drones which formed the world’s then-largest swarm of 103 systems. During his tenure as SCO Director, Dr. Roper served on the Department’s 2018 National Defense Strategy Steering Group, Cloud Executive Steering Group and Defense Modernization Team.
Previously, Dr. Roper served as the Acting Chief Architect at the Missile Defense Agency where he developed 11 new systems, including the current European Defense architecture, advanced drones, and classified programs. Before this, he worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and served as a missile defense advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.