Former Assistant Director for Microelectronics
The Modernization Quandary
Nicole Petta joined the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering as the Principal Director (AD) for Microelectronics in December 2018. In this role, Ms. Petta acts as the Department of Defense (DoD) technical and oversight lead, advising the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and DoD leadership on all relevant research and engineering matters in the critical modernization priority area of microelectronics identified in the National Defense Strategy. She is responsible for a Department-wide look at microelectronics modernization, which includes establishing policies on, and supervising all defense research and engineering, technology development, technology transition, prototyping, experimentation, and developmental testing activities and programs to include the allocation of resources, and alignment of efforts across the Department. In this role, she coordinates with the Services and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment to include transition in acquisition strategies and plans; and seeks to ensure a supporting industrial base capability to achieve microelectronics modernization. She will develop an overarching modernization plan rapidly advancing DoD microelectronic capabilities.
Ms. Petta has over 15 years’ experience in materials research, development, and fabrication and has co-authored over 20 publications. Prior to her position with the DoD, Ms. Petta was the Special Assistant to the Director for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). She developed a long-term strategy for microfabrication research, development and production for the Department of Energy’s Inertial and High Energy Density Programs at LLE. Prior to LLE, Ms. Petta was the Division General Manager of Schafer Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California. She stood up the laboratory, led manufacturing, developed and oversaw the research and development programs and was responsible for business operations. The laboratory was focused on the manufacturing, research and development of nano and micro-engineered materials, metals, aerogels, foams, films and coatings and the rapid prototyping, precision manufacturing and characterization of assemblies made from these materials.
Ms. Petta has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Sonoma State University and received a certificate in the Executive Program for Women Leaders from Stanford University. Ms. Petta served four years in the U.S. Air Force.