Joan Johnson, SES

Navy Research, Development, Test, and Engineering
Deputy Assistant Secretary
2021 Pacific Operational Science & Technology (POST) Conference

Ms. Joan Johnson serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Engineering (DASN (RDT&E)) under the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)). Ms. Johnson is responsible for executive oversight of all matters related to RDT&E Budget Activities, Science and Engineering, Advanced Research and Development, Prototyping and Experimentation, and Test and Evaluation. She is also responsible for oversight and stewardship of the Department of Navy Research and Development Establishment, which includes the naval laboratories, warfare centers and university affiliated research centers.  

Formerly the Executive Director of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), she was responsible for research, development, acquisition support, test, evaluation, and in-service engineering for the total weapon system. Ms. Johnson directed a civilian workforce of more than 6,000 professionals.  

Ms. Johnson began her career in industry as a software / systems engineer, researching, developing and integrating software and systems solutions for airborne avionics and Electronic Warfare systems. She also served as Engineering Program Manager and Software Engineering Department Manager for teams developing Electronic Warfare suites for the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.  

Ms. Johnson entered government service in February 2000 at NAWCWD China Lake. Soon, she was promoted to the position of Weapon System Support Activity Lead for the AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopter program, where she was responsible for execution of full lifecycle support for the AH-1 Super Cobra mission systems and weapon systems. In December 2003, Ms. Johnson was promoted to head of the Systems Engineering Management Division, providing supervision and leadership to product team leads, chief engineers, and senior engineers supporting weapon systems acquisition, development, and sustainment for naval aviation.  

Ms. Johnson entered the Senior Executive Service in August 2008, as Director of Software Engineering for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Head of the Systems Engineering Department at NAWCWD. In 2013, she became Director of the Weapons and Energetics Department for NAVAIR and served in that position until January 2016, when she assumed the executive leadership of NAWCWD.  

Ms. Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. In 2007, she was a recipient of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Michelson Laboratory Award for significant contributions to Naval and Marine Aviation. She received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2011 and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Dr. L.T.E. Thompson Award in 2013. Johnson has been a member of the Acquisition Professional Community since 2002.