Profile: Alan Shaffer, Principal Deputy, Asst Defense Secretary for Research and Engineering

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Alan Shaffer

Alan Shaffer is principal deputy and assistant defense secretary for research and engineering, where he formulates, plans and reviews Defense Department programs and plans for research, development, test and evaluation.

He also oversees strategy and execution, including reviewing technology maturity as part of the acquisition cycle and also serves as chairman of the Pentagon’s modeling and simulation committee.

Shaffer entered the Senior Executive Service in 2000 upon his retirement from the Air Force after a 27-year career, initially appointed as director of multi-disciplinary systems within the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology.

In 2001, he became director of plans and programs for research and engineering and continues to serve as director and principal deputy. As director, he oversees the Pentagon’s nearly $10.5 billion science and technology portfolio

Shafer has served as executive director for several task forces including the Technical Joint Cross Service Group during the Base Realignment and
Closure activity; DoD Energy Security Task Force in 2007 and most recently the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection Task Force.

His Air Force assignments included the fields of weather, intelligence, science and technology management, acquisition oversight and programming. His career included deployment  to Honduras in support of Joint Task Force Bravo in the mid-1980s and direct support of the Army’s 3rd Armored Division at Hanau, Germany.

During Operation Desert Storm, he was responsible for deployment of the 500-person theater weather force. Other assignments included Wing Weather Officer supporting the 320th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at Mather Air Force Base, Calif.; intelligence officer at the foreign technology division in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and deputy director of weather for Air  Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va,

He also served in staff assignments in the Air Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force Weather Agency at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Shaffer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1976 and a second Bachelor of Science in meteorology from the
University of Utah. He also holds a Master of Science in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial  College of the Armed Forces.

He has been awarded the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2007 and the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2004.

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