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Thomas W. Simms

Principal Deputy Executive Director, Systems Engineering and Architecture (SE&A), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E))


Mr. Thomas Simms is the Principal Deputy Executive Director for Systems Engineering and Architecture within the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). He leads efforts to advance DoD practice in systems engineering, software engineering, digital engineering, and specialty engineering areas such as reliability, manufacturing, and human systems integration.

Mr. Simms also leads workforce development initiatives to guide the Engineering and Technical Management (ETM) and Test and Evaluation (T&E) workforce. He leads the effort to identify skill gaps and build the ETM and T&E training frameworks that include training materials and credentials to continually improve the professionalism of the defense workforce.

Mr. Simms has more than 35 years of experience in engineering to include developmental test and evaluation of complex weapon systems. Before his current role, he served as the acting Principal Deputy Director for SE&A and as Deputy Director for Engineering Policy and Systems, performing executive-level duties and developing engineering policy, guidance, and processes.

Before joining OUSD(R&E), Mr. Simms worked with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), involved with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program. He became the MDA Director for Test Policy and Integration, responsible for the agency’s test policy and test manpower. He worked with senior leaders from across the Department on missile defense–related topics.

Mr. Simms served as the Cruise Missile Technical Advisor on the staff of the Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific, where he provided technical expertise on both the Submarine-Launched TOMAHAWK Weapon System and the Encapsulated HARPOON Weapon System. He then served as the HARPOON Weapon System engineer in the Cruise Missile Weapon Control Systems Program Office (PMA‑282) and led the engineering development and T&E of upgrades to the HARPOON Shipboard Command Launch Control Systems.

Mr. Simms earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and a Master’s Degree from the George Washington University.