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Dr. Steven G. Wax

Formerly Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology (PTDO, ASD(S&T))


Dr. Steven G. Wax , who was Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, retired in April 2024 after 50 years of government service.  In this role, he directed an organization responsible for the oversight of and advocacy for the Department of Defense S&T enterprise, including S&T workforce and laboratory infrastructure policy, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and University-Affiliated Research Centers.  The ASD(S&T) office also oversees a broad portfolio of S&T programs, including Basic Research, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, and DOD Manufacturing Technology, including the nine Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.  Furthermore, the ASD(S&T) office is responsible for technology and program protection methodologies.

As a retired Air Force officer, Dr. Wax has more than 45 years of defense research and development 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, a Senior Executive Service position that serves as the technical advisor to the Director of DTRA and the Director, DTRA R&D.  In this role, Dr. Wax was responsible for DTRA’s basic research program, its international S&T engagement, and the coordination of DTRA’s S&T program with the Combatant Commands.  Dr. Wax also served 12 years at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, including as Director of the Defense Sciences Office, 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, Dr. Wax 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 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 holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ceramic Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.