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William LaPlante Appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Air Force Acquisition

William LaPlante Appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Air Force Acquisition

MCLEAN, Va., April 30, 2013 — Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley has announced the appointment of William LaPlante, Ph.D., as principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and management. LaPlante, who was most recently portfolio director for The MITRE Corporation’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) work program, starts his term on May 6.

With MITRE since 2011, LaPlante led several key initiatives during his tenure. He brought together thought leaders from across disciplines to bring different perspectives to bear on missile defense. He also worked closely with government sponsors, laboratories  and the contracting community to help enable the implementation of Phase1 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach—a missile defense system to protect NATO populations and territories that integrates ground-based sensors with a sea-based weapon system.

“In a short time, Bill contributed enormously to MITRE’s work in missile defense,” said Alfred Grasso, MITRE president and CEO. “His deep expertise in national defense engineering systems and his strong commitment to protecting our nation make him a natural fit for this critical role. We wish him all the best.”

LaPlante is a member of the Defense Science Board and the U.S. Strategic Command Advisory Group.


About The MITRE Corporation
The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government. It operates federally funded research and development centers for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, with principal locations in Bedford, Mass., and McLean, Va. To learn more, visit www.mitre.org.  

© 2013, The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.



Dr. William A. LaPlante Biography
Missile Defense Portfolio Director
National Security Engineering Center
DoD Federally Funded Research and Development Center

Dr. William LaPlante is the Missile Defense Portfolio Director for The MITRE Corporation within the organization’s Department of Defense-sponsored National Security Engineering Center. In this role, Dr. LaPlante leads the MITRE technical team, providing analytic and system engineering expertise across the Missile Defense Agency Ballistic Missile Defense System portfolio, spanning command control and battle management, sensors, networks, weapons systems, such as, Ground-based Missile Defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and Theater High-Altitude Area Defense, system and Ballistic Missile Defense System level test, analyses, and performance assessments. 

Previously, he was the Department Head for Global Engagement at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). In this position, he was responsible for all of APL’s work in support of offensive military capabilities, such as conventional tactical and strategic nuclear weapon systems and their associated command and control, electronic attack systems, and related intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.  His department consisted of more than 550 employees and two Business Areas:  Precision Engagement and Strategic Systems. As Department Head, Dr. LaPlante was also responsible for two cross-enterprise Laboratory initiatives:  Net-centric Command and Control and JHU/APL’s engagement with United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).  Dr. LaPlante was a member of APL’s Executive Council and served on many other Laboratory leadership initiatives. 

Prior to his appointment as an APL Department Head in 2003, Dr. LaPlante was the Associate Department Head of the National Security Technology Department, which includes the domains of undersea warfare, homeland protection, and biomedicine, and he was the day-to-day operations manager of all of APL’s undersea warfare work. Previously, he served as the Program Area Manager for the Strategic Submarine Security Program and was chief scientist and technical director for several large at-sea experiments.  He began his career at APL in 1985.

Dr. LaPlante was appointed to the Defense Science Board (DSB) in 2010 and co-chaired the 2010 DSB Summer Study on Enhancing Adaptability of U.S. Military Forces. He is currently co-chairing the 2012 DSB Summer Study on Technology and Innovation Enablers for Superiority in 2030, Experimentation Sub-Panel; as well as participating in a congressionally mandated DSB study on contractor logistics. He also was a member of recently completed DSB studies relating to missile defense and cyber resiliency. Dr. LaPlante is currently chairing a Strategic Advisory Group study on nuclear planning factors for the Commander, USSTRATCOM.  In the past decade, Dr. LaPlante participated in visible assessments of remote prompt conventional strike, information management, undersea autonomous vehicles, nuclear deterrence, and distributed remote sensing for undersea warfare. These various studies were sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the Naval Research Advisory Committee, USSTRATCOM, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics). 

Dr. LaPlante is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Catholic University of America and teaches graduate courses in discrete time control systems. He received a bachelor of science degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, a master’s in Applied Physics from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Catholic University of America.




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