Dr. Ben Petro

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
Director, Defense Research Operations
S&ET Division Executive Breakfast

Dr Ben Petro is the Director, Defense Research Operations in OUSD(R&E), where he develops and oversees implementation of policies, practices, and programs to strengthen DoD’s research institutions, infrastructure, and technical workforce across the full range of mission-focused foundational technology areas to accelerate modernization of military capabilities.  Ben is the OUSD(R&E) Executive responsible for policy, guidance, and coordination across the Department’s Federally Funded Research and Development Centers and University Affiliated Research Centers.  Ben also is the Senior Official responsible for ensuring DoD compliance with laws and regulations that govern the Defense Research Enterprise, to include protection of human and animal subjects in research.

Previously, Ben served as Director, Human Systems within OUSD(R&E), where he provided strategic guidance and coordinated a $3.2B/yr portfolio of S&T related to warfighter readiness and effectiveness.  Prior to joining R&E in 2015, Ben had 15 years of Federal Service working the counter-Weapons of Mass Destruction mission with leadership positions in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs, the White House National Security Council, and the Department of Homeland Security.  Ben began his Federal career as a civilian Intelligence Officer and Program Manager with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

A member of the Senior Executive Service, Ben has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University, a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, and a B.S. in Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  He is an alumnus of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society, Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executive Fellows, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI programs.  He has published in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Studies in Intelligence, and Biosecurity and Bioterrorism.  Ben 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.