Robert (Bob) Hummel, PhD

STEPS, Editor-in-Chief

Chief Scientist, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Rubert Hummel PhDDr. Robert Hummel serves as the Chief Scientist of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in the Science and Technology Policy Division and is a member of the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought. He is the author of the Potomac Institute book, Alternative Futures for Corrosion and Degradation Research and is also serving customers in DARPA and OSD. He is the principal author of the Institute’s forthcoming book on machine intelligence. Prior to joining the Potomac Institute, he served as a program manager at DARPA for nearly nine years, managing and initiating projects in information exploitation, computer science, and sensor design. Prior to joining DARPA, he was a tenured faculty member at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in the Computer Science Department, where he did research in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Dr. Hummel earned his PhD in mathematics from the University of Minnesota, and he holds a B.A., also in mathematics, from the University of Chicago.

Jennifer Buss, PhD

Jennifer Buss, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Dr. Jennifer Buss serves as the CEO of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The Institute develops meaningful science and technology policy options through discussions and forums and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government. She has extensive experience examining policy issues in support of NASA, and has been involved in their strategic planning processes for astronaut medical care and cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. She man­ag­es a vari­ety of OSD pro­grams includ­ing an out­reach effort for the Depart­ment of Defense to the start-up com­mu­nity across the coun­try to find inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies to meet the chal­lenges faced by the Ser­vices and Gov­ern­ment agen­cies. Dr. Buss performs science and technology trends analysis and recommends policy solutions to some of the country’s most pervasive problems. She has also directed and assisted research on numerous government contracts, including systematic reviews and gap analyses. Dr. Buss is an authority in her scientific field with national recognition in her area of expertise. She is responsible for major projects requiring integration/coordination across multiple scientific disciplines.

Moriah Locklear, PhD

Research Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

MLocklearDr. Moriah Locklear is a Research Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Locklear obtained her PhD in organic chemistry from University of Nebraska at Lincoln where her graduate research focused on the study of peroxides for the construction of drug-related functionalities. Simultaneously, Dr. Locklear served as a legislative intern in the Nebraska State Legislature focusing on a variety of issues related to veteran affairs, technology policy, and green energy. She received her bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences with minors in chemistry and comparative religion at Ohio State University.

Honorable Alan R. Shaffer

Board of Regents Member, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

alan shaffer head shotThe Honorable Alan R. Shaffer served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) from January 2019 to January 20, 2021. Senate confirmed in January 2019, he was responsible to the Under Secretary of Defense (A&S) for all matters pertaining to acquisition; contract administration; logistics and materiel readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; the acquisition workforce; and the defense industrial base.

From 2015 to 2018, Mr. Shaffer served as the Director, NATO Collaboration Support Office in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and synchronizing the Science and Technology (S&T) collaboration between NATO member and partner Nations, comprising a network of about 5,000 scientists.

Previous to his role at NATO, Mr. Shaffer served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) from 2007-2015. In this position, Mr. Shaffer was responsible for formulating, planning and reviewing the DoD Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) programs, plans, strategy, priorities, and execution of the DoD RDT&E budget that totals roughly $25 billion per year. He also served twice as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 2007-2009 and 2012-2015.

In 2009, he was appointed as the first Director, Operational Energy, Plans and Programs (Acting). Mr. Shaffer has also served as the Executive Director for several senior DoD Task Forces, including review of all research, acquisition, and test activities during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure. In 2007, he was the Executive Director for the DoD Energy Security Task Force and, and from 2007-2012, he served as the Executive Director of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) Task Force, where he was responsible for oversight, fielding and employment of 27,000 MRAPs across the Department of Defense.

Before entering the federal government, Mr. Shaffer served 24 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force and retired in the grade of Colonel. While serving, he held positions in command, weather, intelligence, and acquisition oversight with assignments in Utah, California, Ohio, Honduras, Germany, Virginia, and Nebraska.

His military career included deployments to Honduras in the mid-1980s and direct support of the United States Army, 3rd Armored Division in Hanau, Germany. During Operation DESERT STORM, he was responsible for deployment of the 500-person theater weather force and upon retirement from the Air Force in 2000, Mr. Shaffer was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. In 2001, he assumed the position as Director, Plans and Programs, Defense Research and Engineering.

Mr. Shaffer earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1976, a second Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from the University of Utah, a Master of Science in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was awarded the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2004, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2007 and 2015.

Brian Shirley

Member, Board of Regents and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

ShirleyBrian Shirley is a senior executive and advisor with over 34 years of broad-based experience in the semiconductor industry, including fourteen years as an executive officer of Micron Technology, a US-based Fortune 500 leader in semiconductor memory.  He has been a senior consultant to the US government on topics related to the semiconductor industry and US national security. He is listed as an inventor on 82 US patents and helped drive Micron’s expansion into specialized memory for servers, and mobile and networking solutions. At Micron, he drove DRAM diversification, product expansions in NAND solid-state memory and related SSD product lines, and productization of multiple emerging memory technologies. He has served on the boards of numerous joint ventures and industry organizations. Mr. Shirley retired from Micron in December 2019. In 2020, Mr. Shirley joined CTC Aero consulting with multiple departments of the US government. In addition, he is serving as a senior advisor and board member to multiple semiconductor startups, as well as serving as a member of the Board of Regents and Senior Fellow of the Potomac Institute.

Tim Welter, PhD


Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Tim Welter conceived and led the Potomac Institute’s Global Competition Project (GCP). Having worked in the private sector, the military, and on Capitol Hill, Tim Welter brings valuable experience in national security and defense policy to the Institute. After serving on active duty in the Air Force for several years, he worked on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director for two different Members of Congress and later as a Professional Staff Member with the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Upon leaving the Hill, Tim worked with the foreign and defense policy research team at the American Enterprise Institute. He later completed a research fellowship at the National War College during which he finished his PhD dissertation in Political Science with the University of Missouri, writing about the political nature of defense policy in Congress. A US Air Force Academy graduate, Tim holds Master’s degrees in political science, national security strategy, and management. Just prior to joining the Institute, Tim served at the Pentagon where he helped stand up an organization dedicated to future force design and the development of capabilities and concepts required to meet emerging national security challenges.

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