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Dr. John Burke

Principal Director for Quantum Science for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)) for Science and Technology (S&T)


Dr. John Burke joined the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)) for Science and Technology (S&T) as the Principal Director for Quantum Science in March 2022. In this role, Dr. Burke was responsible for leading the Department of Defense’s (DoD) strategy for quantum science, one of DoD’s top critical technology areas.

Prior to joining OUSD (R&E), Dr. Burke served as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Program Manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) and Defense Sciences Office (DSO) from 2017 to 2022. At DARPA, he managed seven programs developing quantum science and technology. Some of these programs advanced quantum sensors including atom interferometers, atomic clocks, magnetometers, and radio frequency (RF) “Quantum Apertures” and applied the sensors toward new capabilities in position, navigation and timing (PNT), biotechnology, as well as in the RF spectrum. Several programs advanced quantum computing qubit technologies based on both superconducting and photon-based platforms. This work resulted in several technology transitions to higher maturity development programs across the DoD, as acknowledged by his receipt of the DARPA “Results Matter” Award.

Previously, Dr. Burke worked in the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate as a Senior Research Physicist. There, Dr. Burke led a research team developing atomic clocks, optical time transfer, and cold atom measurement techniques for use in space applications such as the Global Positioning System. He contributed to space experiments including the NASA Cold Atom Laboratory for the International Space Station and the Navigation Technology Satellite -3. Dr. Burke won the AFRL Early Career Award and R-NASA National Award for Space Achievement in recognition for his contributions, multiple publications, and patents. 

Dr. Burke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Centre College and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Physics from the University of Virginia. His thesis work was on atom interferometry with guided matter waves sourced from a Bose Einstein Condensate, which won the University of Virginia Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Science and Engineering.