In 2002, Dr. Fred Saalfeld joined the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies as a Senior Fellow. The Potomac Institute agreed, under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, for Dr. Saalfeld to work at the NDU, CTNSP as a Distinguished Research Professor in 2003 and 2005. Dr. Saalfeld now serves as a Member of the Board of Regents.

In 1993, Dr. Saalfeld was appointed Technical Director of ONR and Deputy Chief of Naval Research, where he was responsible for the Navy and Marine Corps science and technology program, including basic research, exploratory and advanced technology development conducted in federal and private laboratories, academia and industry. In 1998, this position’s title was changed to Executive Director and Technical Director of ONR. Dr. Saalfeld retired from ONR in January 2002. Since retiring from the Federal Government, Dr. Saalfeld has served as a private consultant to the following institutions: Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory, The National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy (NDU, CTNSSP), Rand, the University of North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program Advisory Board, and The Stevens Institute of Technology.

Dr. Saalfeld was appointed the Director of the ONR Research Department in 1982 and the Associate Director of ONR in 1985. In these positions he was responsible for the Navy's $220M contract research program, largely conducted at universities. From 1987 until 1993 Dr. Saalfeld was Director of ONR, responsible for the Navy's basic research effort and the Navy's corporate laboratory, NRL.

Dr. Saalfeld joined the Naval Research laboratory (NRL) in 1962, where he conducted and directed research in physical chemistry. From 1963 to 1973, he headed the Mass Spectrometry Section, where his research led to the innovative systems for atmospheric monitoring and life support now widely used in nuclear submarines, firefighting gear, spacecraft and other equipment using re-circulated air. From 1974 to 1976, he directed the Physical Chemistry Branch, a group of 25 scientists. In 1976, Dr. Saalfeld was selected as Superintendent of the Chemistry Division, where he was responsible for approximately 350 chemists and a program of more than $16M. In 1979 and 1980, Dr. Saalfeld was the Chief Scientist and Scientific Director at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Branch Office, London. In 1982, he was NRL’s Acting Associate Director of Research for Material Sciences and Component Technology, directing more than 900 scientists and a $90M program.

He received his B.S. degree cum laude with majors in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics from Southeast Missouri State University in 1957. Dr. Saalfeld was awarded his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with a major in Physical Chemistry with minors in Inorganic Chemistry and Mathematics from Iowa State University in 1959 and 1961, and remained one year at Iowa State as an Instructor.

Dr. Saalfeld became a charter member of the Senior Executive Service under President Carter. In 1986, President Reagan conferred on him the Presidential rank of Meritorious Executive; in 1989, President Bush conferred on him the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank; and in 1996, President Clinton conferred on him the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank for a second time. Other awards include the Department of the Navy Meritorious, Superior and Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Merit Award, and the Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award, the Navy's highest award for scientific achievement. Washington Technology named him one of the area’s top technologists in 1989. The Federal Executive Institute selected him as Federal Executive of the Year in 1991. Upon his ONR retirement, The Chief of Naval Research established The Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science and presented the first award to Dr. Saalfeld.

Dr. Saalfeld has authored or coauthored more than 500 research papers, reports and presentations. He is active in many scientific societies, including the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the American Chemical Society (ACS). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as Secretary of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, as the President of the Chemical Society of Washington, as a board member of many American Chemical Society Committees, and as a consultant to the ACS’s Joint Board/Council Committee on Science.