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February 4, 2019

Johns Hopkins APL Names Kirk Shawhan as Precision Strike Mission Area Executive

Kirk Shawhan

Kirk Shawhan

Credit: APL

Kirk Shawhan has been appointed Precision Strike Mission Area Executive at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He will combine his detailed knowledge of air and missile defense systems and operational experience in electronic warfare to build on the mission area’s recognized accomplishments in the precision strike domain.

Shawhan, who joined APL in 2004, comes to Precision Strike from the Laboratory’s Air and Missile Defense Mission Area. The Precision Strike Mission Area addresses tactical aircraft, kinetic and non-kinetic weapon systems, as well as end-to-end capability development and demonstration. Its work spans research and development of technologies supporting emerging capabilities, technical support to major acquisition programs, and close interaction with the warfighters who use these capabilities.

Shawhan came to APL after serving for twenty years in the United States Marine Corps as an operations officer, lead officer for recruiting, squadron pilot, and program manager.

Between 2004 and 2009, he was a project lead for APL’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems engineering team, which was responsible for concept exploration and requirements development of future combat system baselines.

In 2009, Shawhan was tapped as the Laboratory’s program manager for tasks sponsored by the Missile Defense Agency’s Advanced Technologies Directorate. In this role, he led APL’s critical contributions to cutting-edge technology programs in the Missile Defense Agency, including new interceptor concepts and advanced modeling and simulation frameworks.

From 2012 to 2015, Shawhan provided leadership as the assistant program area manager for a significant portion of APL’s Missile Defense Agency portfolio. Shawhan led multiple cross-functional teams that delivered innovative concepts, engineering insight and technical leadership for the Agency. He also maintained primary program responsibility for activities relevant to staff members assigned to the Laboratory’s Huntsville, Alabama, field office.

In his most recent position as the Advanced Concepts and Warfighter Engagement Program Area manager, Shawhan led a team focused on integrated air and missile defense studies and analysis, science and technology projects, and cross-sector rapid prototype development.

Shawhan has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and an M.S. in computer science from the Johns Hopkins University.

Media contact: Geoff Brown, 240-228-5618,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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