Robert 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.

Timothy W. Bumpus, PhD

STEPS, Associate Editor

Research Associate, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

TBumpusDr. Timothy Bumpus received his PhD in chemical biology from Cornell University where, as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he designed and implemented new chemical tools to study lipid centric cell signaling processes. Prior to Cornell, Dr. Bumpus attended Luther College where he received his B.A., majoring in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. He now brings his diverse scientific expertise to bear on the many, varied science and technology policy issues facing the country as part of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies’ research staff.

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.

Alyssa Adcock, PhD

Research Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies


Dr. Alyssa Adcock is a S&T Policy Research Fellow. At the Institute, she has been involved with several efforts focused on providing strategic S&T recommendations and technical forecasting to government customers including ongoing work with NASA. Dr. Adcock obtained her PhD from Georgetown University in Inorganic Chemistry. Her graduate research focused on bismuth and rare earth element materials to address energy, lighting, and security needs as well as uranium chemistry relevant to nuclear waste and environmental management. Prior, she received her B.S. in Chemistry at Jacobs University in Germany and served as an intern at the Carnegie Institute of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory focusing on origin of life and geochemistry research. Dr. Adcock is a member of the Graduate Education Advisory Board of the American Chemical Society.

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter

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

AlyssaJeff Baxter currently serves as Chairman of the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense. He has acted in an advisory capacity for Congressmen Curt Weldon and Dana Rohrabacher, both members of the House Science Committee, and has participated in numerous wargames for the Pentagon. Mr. Baxter was invited to serve on the Laser Advisory Board at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and has lectured at the University of Manitoba School of Political Science on the topic of regional conflict and missile defense. He is a world-renowned guitarist and a former member of both Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.

Claire Costenoble-Caherty, PhD

Research Analyst, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies


Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Claire Costenoble-Caherty received her doctorate in Emerging Infectious Diseases from the Uniformed Services University in 2020, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from The University of Maryland College Park in 2013. She conducted her doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Ann Jerse, where she developed murine models of gonorrhea/chlamydia coinfection and upper reproductive tract infection, and studied the immune response in the context of such infections.

Mike Fritze, PhD

Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

MFritze1Dr. Mike Fritze is a Senior Fellow and former Vice President at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He is responsible for the Microelectronics related portfolio with interests and activities in the areas of secure access strategies, supply chain issues, support of legacy technologies, DoD innovation policy, outreach to Industry and strengthening the US Industrial Base. Customers have included OSD, DARPA, USAF and NNSA. Dr. Fritze is active on the NDIA Electronics Division co-chairing the Policy subcommittee. Prior to his affiliation with the Institute, Dr. Fritze ran microelectronics Programs at USC-ISI and was a Program Manager at DARPA MTO. Prior to that, he was a staff member at MITLL.

Trevor Huffard

Research Assistant, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies


Trevor Huffard is a Research Assistant at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Trevor received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Santa Clara University and his Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the Levy School of Business. Before joining the Potomac Institute, he worked at Daversa Partners, an executive search firm.  At the Institute, among other duties, Trevor manages the internship program.

Sharon Layani

Research Analyst, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

SLayaniSharon Layani is a Research Analyst in the S&T Division. She provides assessments of emerging science and technology trends, government acquisition strategies, strategic planning, and policy recommendations. Prior to her work at the Institute, she served as Research Associate and Research Coordinator at the International Center for Terrorism Studies. Her work focused on counterterrorism, international security, and rule of law issues. She provided research support and analysis for books, such as NATO: From Regional to Global Security Provider (2015) and The Islamic State: Combating a Caliphate Without Borders (2015), and assisted on a number of counterterrorism reports and projects. Ms. Layani served on the senior staff for Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base and coordinated foreign policy and national security-related seminars. Ms. Layani graduated from the University of Michigan with a double major in Political Science and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, and a minor in International Studies focusing on the Middle East.

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.

Jody Moxham

Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

moxhamJody Moxham is a strategic communication expert with a career focused on helping multinational corporations and government organizations measurably strengthen the persuasiveness of their global marketing strategies and communications. PhaseOne communications was founded to market a unique methodology, serving many corporate clients. After 9/11, PhaseOne dedicated a select team of analysts to work on national security projects. PhaseOne contracts spread across the IC and the DOD, for understanding target audiences, strategies for easing tensions, and understanding motivations of adversaries. In 2012 PhaseOne sold the company and Jody left in 2015. Jody was also instrumental in founding the US Marketing Communications College to help train US government personnel in private sector communication basics. She is currently a contributing faculty member for the Senior Joint Information Operations Applications Course (SJIOAC), a Senior Fellow at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a Senior Advisor to Parenthetic, a strategic communications company, and continues to advise and teach within the US government community.

Curits Pearson

Vice President, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

PearsonCurtis Pearson joins the Potomac Institute following 30 years with Northrop Grumman where he served in a variety of roles in program and system development spanning a wide range of DoD and IC technology, missions, and systems. His background includes strategic planning, mission and concept development, operational planning, technology planning and development, and mergers and acquisitions.  He retired from the Naval Reserves as a CDR (O-5) after 27 years of both Active and Reserve Service with expertise in Mine and Amphibious warfare, ship systems engineering and construction, and Military Sealift Command port operations. He is a Life Member of the National Defense Industrial Association, a member of the Naval War College Foundation, and The Tailhook Association, as well as an active member in the Association of Old Crows, The Intelligence and National Security Alliance, and The Navy League. He previously served as the Chairman of the Board for the Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation. Curtis received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the US Naval Academy. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and completed the Darden Business School Executive Management Program.

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.

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