2023 Hypersonics Forum

2023 Hypersonics Forum

August 15th, 2023 7:00am-10:00am EST   2941 Restaurant, 2941 Fairview Park Dr, Falls Church, VA 22042

The race to develop hypersonic weapons is heating up, but the United States is trailing behind some of its key competitors in this critical area. With the ability to travel five times the speed of sound and a range far exceeding that of current long-range weapons, hypersonics are becoming the weapons of the future fight, especially in light of complex geopolitical situations and the rise of peer competition.

Join the ExecutiveBiz Hypersonics Forum to hear expert insights from military leaders and industry executives regarding hypersonics challenges, priorities, strategies and successes steering the technology in the U.S.

  • Dan Ensminger
    Dan Ensminger -
    TE&M Director, U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)

    Dan Ensminger joined the Navy’s Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201) in January 2015, where he is the Director of Test, Evaluation, and Modeling supporting a large array of test programs, including those for the Hypersonic Air-Launched OASuW demo, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), and Small Diameter Bomb II (SDBII). Mr. Ensminger started his naval career with his commissioning in June 1991, and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in October, 1993. He made eight deployments with carrier-based and expeditionary EA-6B squadrons over 22 years of active and reserve service between 1995 and 2013, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Northern Watch, and Operation Southern Watch. He began his flight test career as an Operational Test Director at VX-9 from 1998-2001 testing a variety of EA-6B weapon systems. Over the course of his military career, he accumulated over 500 carrier landings and over 3000 flight hours in tactical aircraft including the EA-6B and the F/A-18. After leaving active duty in July 2001, he started in Patuxent River, MD as a contractor supporting EA-6B testing at VX-23. He began his government civilian career in August 2002 as the developmental test team lead for the EA-6B Improved Capability III (ICAP-III) program. He led the team until August 2005, covering the period from first flight through first operational deployment. He subsequently served as the EA 18G Integrated Test Team lead, leading from first flight through the first periods of FOT&E. In April 2011, Dan moved to the PMA-268 Naval Unmanned Combat Air System (NUCAS) X-47B program, where he served as APMT&E through the program’s successful carrier demonstration and selection for the 2013 National Aeronautic Association Robert J. Collier trophy. In August 2013, he became the APMT&E for the Electronic Warfare Infrastructure Improvement Program (EWIIP). Mr. Ensminger reported to PMA-201 in January 2015 as the APMT&E for the Mission Area Lead Integrator for Strike and Surface Warfare (MALISS), and took over as APMT&E for the joint Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program in November 2015. He saw LRASM through its initial test phases and to EOC prior to taking on his current duties in 2019 as Director of Test, Evaluation, and Modeling. In February 2020, Mr. Ensminger took on additional duties as the lead APMT&E for PMA-234, where he currently leads a team of teams to support Airborne Electronic Attack programs including the Next Generation Jammer. Dan’s teams have earned numerous awards, including the VX 23 Steven R. Hazelrigg Memorial Award (x2), the SFTE McDonnel Team Award, and the DON T&E WIPT Award (x2). He was awarded the USD(A&S) Workforce Individual Achievement Award for Test & Evaluation in 2018. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Ensminger graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and later obtained a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He enjoys spending time with his family, serving at church, playing soccer, doing anything outdoors, and coaching robotics teams in his time off.

  • Rachel Hickman
    Rachel Hickman -
    Mission Execution and Test Resources, Division Chief, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

    Ms. Rachel R. Hickman is the Division Chief for Mission Execution and Test Resources, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) Technical Center, Redstone Arsenal, AL. She serves as the senior civilian overseeing the development and execution of plans for data collection, execution, and training for hypersonic flight tests, and management of mission support systems. Previously at USASMDC, Ms. Hickman supported the Technical Center as the Reagan Test Site Range Deputy Director at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. In this role, she led range operations and instrumentation development activities. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Hickman supported the Missile Defense Agency in various engineering positions with the majority of her time serving as a Test Resource Manager within the Test Directorate. Ms. Hickman received the Department of the Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal, the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Modern Day Technology Leader Award, and BEYA Women of Color Technology Rising Star Award. Ms. Hickman earned a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and a Master of Science in Commerce and Business Administration, both from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

  • Adam Jones
    Adam Jones -
    Hypersonic Weapon Systems Development & Integration Distinguished Engineer, NSWC Dahlgren Division, Naval Sea Systems Command

    Adam Jones is Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s (NSWCDD) Senior Scientific and Technical Manager for Hypersonic Weapon Systems Development and Integration. As the senior technical expert and executive for hypersonics, Jones plays a critical role in driving NSWCDD’s Hypersonic Weapons Advancement technical thrust. His role focuses on collaboration across our NAVSEA Warfare Centers, the Naval Research and Development Establishment, the Department of Defense (DoD), industry and academia in the hypersonics arena. Jones previously served as the head of the Advanced Hypersonics and Guided Munitions Division at NSWCDD where he was responsible for the successful development and execution of multiple Navy, Army and Marine Corps hypersonic weapons and guided projectile programs. Jones has over 20 years of civilian experience in hypersonic weapon and guided projectile development. He is a recognized subject matter expert in aero-mechanics and guided projectile technology throughout the DoD and naval gunnery communities. Jones also served as the Office of Naval Research (ONR) program officer for the Hypervelocity Projectile (HVP) Program where he led numerous Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate efforts to develop an advanced hypersonic guided projectile capable of both long-range surface-to-surface and missile defense engagements from a variety of gun weapon systems platforms. He led a large, diverse, multi-organizational team consisting of multiple industry partners, Navy Warfare Centers, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems, Army, Air Force, Department of Energy Laboratories and academia to demonstrate the DoD’s first HVP guided flights successfully. Jones began his career as an aerodynamicist at NSWCDD where he provided aerodynamics expertise to multiple programs, including standard missiles, extended-range guided munition, mission rapid ordnance and a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ramjet missile program. He has held technical and leadership roles of increasing responsibility over the span of his career, including the technical lead for hypersonic wind tunnel testing, project lead for the Projectile Integrated Project Team for ONR’s Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype Program and project manager for the Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office Hypervelocity Projectile and Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System Programs. For his efforts in guided munition development for HVP and railgun, Jones received the 2018 Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the 2011 Department of the Navy Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award and the 2010 Dr. Charles J. Cohen Award of Excellence for S&T.

  • Kevin Kelly
    Kevin Kelly -
    Chairman CEO, Arcfield

    As chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Arcfield, Kevin Kelly oversees the development and implementation of the company's strategy while ensuring the company delivers technology-differentiated solutions to missions that are critical in protecting the United States and its allies. As CEO, Kevin is responsible for establishing a corporate culture, building and managing an expert leadership team, launching an innovation incubator that will ensure the company is developing solutions ahead of mission needs, and the overall growth of the company. Kevin has been an active leader in the defense and intelligence industry for more than 30 years with proven success leading and managing companies through growth activities. He is passionate about innovation and ensuring that a company leverages its people, processes and technologies to its maximum potential to deliver for its customers. Prior to Arcfield, Kevin was the CEO of LGS Innovations, a privately held independent technology company that was eventually acquired by CACI International in March of 2019. After its acquisition, Kevin oversaw the company’s integration into CACI through the company’s creation of a new high-tech sector (National Security and Innovation Solutions Sector), where Kevin would ultimately serve as president. In this role, Kevin oversaw the operations of a $2B business consisting of the technology and products portions of several key acquisitions; namely LGS Innovations, SIX3 Systems, TICOM Geomatics, and L3 NSS. Prior to his appointment as CEO at LGS Innovations, Kevin served as the company’s chief operating officer and senior vice president of strategy. Earlier in his career, he held senior positions within General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State University and a master’s degree in engineering management from George Washington University (GWU). He has held board and advisory positions with the LGS Innovations board of directors, Innovative Technologies Council of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the National Advisory Council for the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and several other firms. Kevin is also a proud member of the Engineering Hall of Fame at GWU SEAS.

  • Mark Lewis
    Dr. Mark Lewis -
    President & CEO, Purdue Applied Research Institute LLC

    Dr. Mark J. Lewis is chief executive officer of the Purdue Applied Research Institute, the nonprofit applied research arm of Purdue with a particular focus on national security, economic security and food security for the United States. A renowned researcher, professor and former deputy undersecretary of defense, Lewis brings a wealth of national security, scientific and academic experience to the institute.    Lewis came to Purdue from his post as executive director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute, a nonpartisan think tank focused on technologies that are critical to the future of national defense. This institute provides research and analyses to inform the development and integration of emerging technologies into the defense industrial base. Before this position, Lewis was the director of defense for research and engineering in the Defense Department, overseeing technology modernization for the services and defense agencies, as well as the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. In that role, he was the Pentagon’s senior-most scientist, managing a $17 billion budget that included the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Innovation Unit, the Space Development Agency, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and the Defense Department’s basic and applied research portfolio. From 2012 to 2019, Lewis was the director of the Science and Technology Policy Institute, an FFRDC that supported the Executive Office of the President and other executive branch agencies in forming national science and technology policy. Lewis is a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, where he served as the Willis Young Jr. Professor and chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering until 2012. A faculty member at Maryland for 25 years, he taught and conducted basic and applied research in hypersonic aerodynamics, advanced propulsion and space vehicle design and optimization. Best known for his work in hypersonics, Lewis’s research has spanned the aerospace flight spectrum from the analysis of conventional jet engines to entry into planetary atmospheres. From 2004 to 2008, Lewis was the Air Force’s chief scientist, the principal scientific adviser to the chief of staff and secretary of the Air Force. As the longest-serving chief scientist in Air Force history, his primary areas of focus included hypersonics, space launch, energy, sustainment, advanced propulsion, basic research and workforce development. From 2010 to 2011, he was president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Lewis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bachelor of Science in Earth and Planetary Science (1984), and Master of Science (1985) and Doctor of Science (1988) in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is the author of more than 320 publications and has been an adviser to more than 60 graduate students. In addition, he has served on various boards for NASA and the Defense Department, including two terms on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. A recipient of the Air Force Exemplary, Meritorious and Exceptional Civilian Service Awards, and of the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Award, Lewis was also the 1994 AIAA National Capital Young Scientist/Engineer of the Year; received the IECEC/AIAA Lifetime Achievement Award, the AIAA Dryden Lectureship Award, and the AFA Theodore von Karman Award; and is an Aviation Week and Space Technology Laureate. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

  • James Weber
    Dr. James Weber -
    Principal Director, Hypersonics (OUSD(R&E)), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

    Dr. James W. Weber is the Principal Director for Hypersonics in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Critical Technologies, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)).  In this position, he serves as the Department of Defense’s senior official and subject matter expert for Hypersonics.  Dr. Weber leads DOD’s vision, strategy, and roadmap for hypersonic weapons and platforms, and the defense against hypersonic threats.  Additionally, he oversees the strategic alignment and coordination of the Department’s more than $4 billion annual portfolio in hypersonics including science and technology, prototyping, test and evaluation, and industrial base development. Dr. Weber has more than 30 years of experience in the research and development of hypersonic systems supporting multiple Air Force, DARPA, and NASA hypersonics programs. In 2019, Dr. Weber was detailed to OUSD(R&E) as a Special Assistant for Hypersonics, where he led the development and execution of the first DOD Hypersonics Science & Technology Strategy. Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Weber served as the Air Force Senior Scientist for Hypersonics, where he was responsible for the department’s hypersonics science and technology enterprise and advised Air Force senior leadership on hypersonic systems development. Dr. Weber received his B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is an Excellence in Government Fellow and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

  • Geoffrey Wilson
    Geoffrey Wilson -
    Test and Evaluation/Science and Technology Program Manager, Test Resource Management Center, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

  • 7:00am - 8:00am EST


  • 8:00am - 8:05am EST

    Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • 8:05am - 8:45am EST

    Keynote Address: Dr. James Weber

  • 8:45am - 9:45am EST

    Panel: The Need for Speed: How to accelerate hypersonic test and evaluation (T&E) to achieve mission readiness

  • 9:45am - 10:00am EST

    Closing Comments

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