Dr. Derek Tournear is the Director of the Space Development Agency (SDA). Established in March 2019, is responsible for unifying and integrating the Department’s space development efforts, monitoring the Department’s threat‐driven future space architecture, and accelerating fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantages in space.
Dr. Tournear most recently served as Assistant Director of Research and Development for Space within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering where he was responsible for coordinating all DoD efforts in space, and initiating programs to address critical gaps.
Dr. Tournear previously held leadership roles in industry,
most recently the director for Harris Space & Intelligence (SIS) research & development. SIS was a $2B business focused on providing advanced technical solutions addressing the top National Security threats from underwater to outer space.
Prior to industry, Dr. Derek Tournear was a Senior Program Manager (SNIS‐HQE) at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). At IARPA, Dr. Tournear served as a senior scientist for space activities and space technologies in the Office of Smart Collection.
Dr. Tournear was previously a Program Manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Tactical Technology Office and Strategic Technology Office. At DARPA, he initiated and directed a large portfolio of program, with an emphasis on sensors and space.
He has professional experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) managing intelligence and defense programs.
Dr. Tournear has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and a B.S. from Purdue University. In 2010 he received an “Outstanding Alumnus” award from Purdue University and a 2008 DARPA award for “Outstanding Accomplishments in a Systems Technology Area.” Dr. Tournear is a 2011 recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, and a 2012 recipient of the Office of Director of National Intelligence Award for Exceptional Public Service.