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Dr. Ben Petro

Biotechnology for Materiel and Defense Symposium (Webinar) : Guest Speaker: DoD ARAP SBME
Dr. Ben Petro is the Director, Human Systems within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, where he oversees, coordinates, integrates, and synchronizes a ~$3.2B/yr research portfolio targeted to optimize warfighter effectiveness and lethality. The Human Systems portfolio includes the technology areas of biology (to include medical, warfighter performance, and non medical research), human-machine teaming, training, environmental sciences, and DoD compliance with statutes, regulations, and policies for protection of human and animal research subjects.

Dr. Petro previously served in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs as the Principal Director for Chemical and Biological Defense and the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense. In this capacity, he led the development and implementation of Department’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP)Strategy and Business Plan, strengthened cooperation with key Allies and International Partners, and instituted new business processes that increased CBDP efficiency and productivity.

Dr. Petro also served on the White House National Security Council staff where he developed, oversaw,and coordinated Federal implementation of policies to address challenges from naturally occurring infectious diseases and CB weapons. Dr. Petro authored The National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, the Nation’s strategies for Medical Countermeasures against Weapons of Mass Destruction and Domestic Chemical Defense, and numerous Presidential Policy Directives and Executive Orders for public health preparedness and prevention of infectious disease and CB threats.

Prior to serving at the White House, Dr. Petro directed the Department of Homeland Security’s technical research and laboratory portfolio to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and explosives threats. Dr. Petro began his Federal service with the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he led a suite of programs to assess and counter chemical and biological weapons threats.

A member of the Senior Executive Service, Dr. Petro has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI programs. He has published in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Studies in Intelligence, and Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. Dr. Petro is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, the National Security Council Outstanding Service Award, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Defense Intelligence Agency Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Central Intelligence Agency Studies in Intelligence Award and the Director of National Intelligence Galileo Award.