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Vital Infrastructure Technology And Logistics

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Personnel
  3. Affiliates
  4. Upcoming Events

Mission Statement

The Vital Infrastructure Technology and Logistics (V.I.T.A.L.) Center is dedicated to fostering and supporting comprehensive supply chain security as an integral part of all major US industries. Secure and resilient critical infrastructures will help the US maintain a strong national defense. As part of this mission, the V.I.T.A.L. Center works to:

  • Assess the evolving strengths and weaknesses of our nation’s critical infrastructure systems and technologies, and the supply chains they depend on.

  • Advance knowledge of critical infrastructure and supply chain security challenges and solutions across the US Government and industry to include policy makers, the Department of Defense, and the manufacturing industrial base.

  • Bridge the gap between commercial and defense supply chain security practices.

  • Strengthen policy to ensure continued security of our nation’s critical infrastructure and supply chains.

Protecting Our Critical Infrastructures

US critical infrastructures encompass highly visible sectors like transportation, water, and agriculture as well as less conspicuous sectors like energy, finance, and information technology (IT). If any of these infrastructures were attacked, whether by hostile nation-states or by non-state actors, it would have major negative impacts on our national security and the economic well-being of our country. Even less nefarious disruptions to the supply chain, caused by inclement weather for example, are increasingly worrisome as the global economy becomes more intertwined and interdependent.

Due to the number, scale, and complexity of these sectors, no one entity can tackle the issue of critical infrastructure vulnerability alone. Both government and industry have a shared interest in the continued stability of domestic infrastructures and their global supply chains and are thus natural allies in the efforts to secure these systems. Through improved communication and strategic planning, industry and government entities can combine and coordinate efforts in comprehensively securing critical infrastructures.

The DCIP defines the following 16 sectors as critical based on their influence on the nation’s economic health and security: chemicals, commercial facilities, communications, manufacturing, dams, defense, emergency services, energy, finance, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare, information technology (IT), nuclear facilities, transportation, and water. The number of sectors considered vital to the US is simply too great to be managed by one office of the federal government, or even by the federal government alone. Taken together, the 16 critical sectors identified by the DoD account for thousands of companies, millions of jobs, and billions of dollars of revenue changing hands across the country. The only effective way to provide comprehensive critical infrastructure protection is through a coordinated effort, both among government agencies and between government and industry. The V.I.T.A.L. Center aims to bridge the gap between government and industry security efforts by connecting diverse stakeholders from both worlds, creating a community of interest to create more comprehensive mechanisms of action for critical infrastructure protection.

FritzeDr. Fritze was the Director of the Disruptive Electronics Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute. (2010-2015). He also held a Research Professor appointment in the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics).  His research interests at ISI included Trusted Electronics, CMOS Reliability & Robustness, Low power 3DIC enabled electronics and Rad-hard electronics.  He was a Program Manager at the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) from 2006-2010.  While at DARPA, Dr. Fritze was responsible for Programs in the areas of 3D Integrated Circuits (3DIC), Steep-Subthreshold-slope Transistors (STEEP), Radiation Hardening by Design (RHBD), Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA), Silicon-based RF (TEAM), Ultra-low power Digital (ESE), Highly regular designs (GRATE) and Leading edge foundry access (LEAP).

Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Fritze was a staff member from 1995-2006 at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he worked on fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) technology development with an emphasis on novel devices. Particular interests included highly scaled, tunneling-based, and ultra-low power devices. Dr. Fritze also worked in the area of silicon-based integrated optics. Another research interest at Lincoln Laboratory was in the area of resolution-enhanced optical lithography and nanofabrication with particular emphasis on low volume technological solutions.

Dr. Fritze received a Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University in 1994, working in the area of compound semiconductor quantum well physics. He received a B.S. in Physics in 1984 from Lehigh University. Dr. Fritze is an elected member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service awarded in 2010.  He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is active on the program committees of the EIPBN (3Beams, for which he served as Program Chair in 2012), GOMAC and IEEE S3S conferences. Dr. Fritze has published over 75 papers and articles in professional journals and holds several U.S. Patents.

syerspDr. Paul Syers joined the Potomac Institute in September 2015 as a Research Associate and CReST Fellow. His current projects focus on policies regulating corrosion and materials degradation and the activities of the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought (CReST).

Dr. Syers received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland, having researched methods for improving the material quality of topological insulators. Prior to that, Paul received a B.S. In Physics from Emory University and an M. Phil from the University of Cambridge for research on high temperature superconductors.

JBechtelJoe Bechtel is a Research Assistant at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in the CEO’s Office. Joe Bechtel currently provides research and analytic support to guide discovery of innovative, non-traditional solutions and develop technology assessments for the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) in its mission to enable new, affordable capabilities. Joe organizes events, conferences, and discussions for RRTO at the Institute and at other venues, by interfacing and coordinating with government officials, venture capitalists, commercial leaders and academics. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology & Anthropology from Towson University with a focus on Criminal Justice. As an intern at the Potomac Institute in 2014, Joe studied terrorism and counterterrorism subjects as well as attended conferences in the DC and Virginia area. His final project as an intern was on terrorism policy procedures inside a law enforcement agency. In his free time, he volunteers for the Bowie Boys & Girls Club.


indexErica Turner is a Research Intern in the Science and Technology Division. Erica is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, where she studied French language and political science in the Honors College. She has previously worked in tech- and health-oriented organizations, most recently as an intern at a consulting firm for National Labs and before this as an intern at a global health NGO focusing on alcohol consumption. Born and raised in the DMV to a military family working in health and science professions, Erica has been influenced by S&T throughout her life and is looking forward to making a valuable contribution here at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. In her free time, Erica enjoys improving her French language skills and is currently starting to learn Spanish.

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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
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901 North Stuart Street, Suite 1200
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.525.0770

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Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.

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