December 17, 2019
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Maryland, recently began its transition as the new leader of the technical direction agent (TDA) activity for the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program.
The TDA acts as a key technical advisor for the government, providing technical expertise to conduct analyses, risk assessments and critical experiments in key areas; it also performs experimentation and develops prototypes to demonstrate proof of concept in areas of high technological risk.
According to MDA’s GMD technical director, the transition establishes APL as the accountable leader of the GMD TDA organization, providing unique expertise across all areas of GMD development, including testing and fielding of current and future capabilities of homeland defense. This approach is intended to strengthen the TDA activity while building on the existing TDA established in 2014.
GMD provides interceptors and ground systems capability to defend the homeland against ballistic missiles. APL’s Bob Reichert, David Bement and Mark Landis will lead the current partnership of nine federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) and university-affiliated research centers (UARCs), with oversight from program area manager Jeff Cooley to address various initiatives for the GMD program.
“As the TDA, we can provide a strong analytical underpinning to the requirements and provide recommendations for addressing some of the most pressing technical challenges facing the GM system,” Cooley said.
In stepping up to this leadership role, APL leverages decades of experience as TDA for several prominent air and missile defense programs, including Standard Missile and Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. This experience, as well as the breadth of the Laboratory’s competencies across all its departments and sectors, will be essential to the success of the high-priority GMD program, which will design and field the Next Generation Interceptor in conjunction with industry and UARC/FFRDC partners.
“APL is committed to making MDA and the GMD program successful,” said Reichert, an APL chief engineer. “We will offer unbiased, transparent and objective advice on technical issues and product development, consistent with APL’s mission to offer critical contributions to critical challenges.”
Media contact: Ken Melton, 240-592-3864, Ken.Melton@jhuapl.edu
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 www.jhuapl.edu.