Dr. Steven G. Wax

Principal Deputy, Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology and the Acting Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology in the OUSD(R&E)
2022 Breakthrough Energetics Conference : The Path Forward

Dr. Steven G. Wax is the Principal Deputy, Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology (DDRE(R&T)) in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) at the Pentagon. He is responsible for championing the Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology (S&T) Enterprise, including establishing and implementing the S&T strategic vision and DoD imperatives by identifying strategic investment areas and influencing the DoD-wide S&T Strategy and Planning Guidance across the Department’s laboratories. Dr. Wax provides oversight of the S&T workforce and laboratory infrastructure policy, including for Federally Funded Research and Development Centers and University-Affiliated Research Centers, thereby strengthening U.S. technological superiority with world-class defense laboratories, workforce, and technologies. Dr. Wax is the OUSD(R&E) lead for maintaining technology advantage, through which he establishes policy and implements technology and program protection methodologies. He also oversees a broad portfolio of S&T programs, including the Basic Research Program, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, DoD ManTech Program, and Microelectronics programs.

As a retired Air Force officer, Dr. Wax has over 45 years of Defense research and development (R&D) experience, including executive positions in DoD and industry and as a senior technical consultant. His most recent Government position was as Chief Scientist of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an SES position that serves as the technical advisor to the Director, DTRA and the Director, DTRA R&D. In this role, he was also responsible for DTRA’s basic research program, it’s international S&T engagement, and the coordination of DTRA’s S&T program with the Combatant Commands. Dr. Wax also spent 12 years at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), including as Director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO), where he was responsible for a $450 million per year office portfolio of innovative basic, applied, and exploratory research and technology programs spanning the physical sciences, biological warfare defense, biological science, combat medicine, human effectiveness, cognitive science, and mathematics. His other DARPA positions included Deputy Director, DSO and Senior Scientist, Materials. As an Air Force officer, he was assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DARPA, and the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory.

Dr. Wax was a member of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate’s independent Review Team and the National Materials and Manufacturing Board. He also served as a Updated: January 2022 Distribution Statement A: Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited. panel member on the Materials Science and Technology External Review for Sandia National Laboratory. His awards include the George Kimball Burgess Memorial Award (material science) and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He has a PhD in Ceramic Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.