Dr. Walter F. Jones is the Director and Chancellor of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for a team of approximately 500 military and civilian Airmen and Guardians, who provide professional continuing education to more than 27,000 people annually, and advanced academic education to more than 3,000 students.
Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Jones served 11 years as the Executive Director of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), planning and managing the entire $3-billion science and technology program for the Navy and the Marine Corps. While serving as the senior civilian manager, he provided executive, technical, and scientific direction in the performance of ONR’s mission. He worked closely with ONR’s Technical Director and Department Heads in the identification, prioritization, and support of specific areas of science and technology development. He also served as Executive Director of the Navy International Programs Office (IPO), where he was responsible for oversight of the development, planning, and implementation of the Department of the Navy’s International Programs, primarily in the areas of Security Cooperation, Cooperative Programs, Research and Development, Technology Transfer, and Strategic Planning. Dr. Jones also held the position of Director, Plans and Programs, at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio where he was responsible for developing and managing the processes that defined AFRL’s $3-billion annual investment in technologies for future Air Force systems. These included space, weapons, aeronautics, materials, propulsion, sensors, information, directed energy, and munitions.
Dr. Jones held a variety of other leadership positions in government. He served as Director, Aerospace and Materials Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Virginia. In this capacity he planned, coordinated and executed a $55-million basic research program, including solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, materials science, and propulsion. He also served as Senior Program Analyst with the Office of the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management as well as holding several positions with the Air Force, including Deputy for Research Sciences with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy for Science and Technology with the Office of the National Security Space Architect.
Dr. Jones has also held appointments at several major research universities, including Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee, and Clemson University. As the Executive Director of the Rice University National Security Research Accelerator (RUNSRA), he provided strategic leadership that focused on all aspects of national security research and development, including defense, energy, science and technology policy, and international cooperation. He worked closely with the world-class faculty and staff at Rice, as well as with scientists and engineers in government laboratories, universities, and industry. Some of RUNSRA’s research, funded primarily by the US Army Futures Command through the Army Research Laboratory, was focused on advanced material processing, high-speed networks, and energetic materials. As a Professor of the Practice in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, he taught several undergraduate courses and served as a consultant and mentor to students and faculty researchers throughout the University. Dr. Jones held tenure-track faculty positions at the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida.
Internationally, Dr. Jones has represented the United States as principal voting member of both the NATO Science and Technology Board and the NATO Naval Armaments Group. He led an international team that developed the first NATO Science and Technology Strategy. He also created and led a NATO Science and Technology initiative in Maritime Security, which has now grown into a multi-Nation initiative in Maritime Unmanned Systems, endorsed by the North Atlantic Council. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Dr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, a Master of Science degree in engineering mechanics, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in engineering mechanics, all from Clemson University, where he is an elected member of the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists. He also earned a Master of Science degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Ft. Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. and a certificate in legislative studies from the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
1978 Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
1981 Master of Science, Engineering Mechanics, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
1982 Doctor of Philosophy, Engineering Mechanics, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
1999 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2005 Certificate in Legislative Studies, Government Affairs Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
1. August 1978 – August 1982, Graduate Research Assistant and Principal Teaching Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
2. August 1982 – August 1983, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
3. September 1983 – June 1986, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
4. August 1986 – June 1988, Associate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Mechanics, and Engineering Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
5. June 1998 – July 1991, Development Staff Member and Program Manager, Composite and Space Structures Technology Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
6. July 1991 – October 1995, Program Manager, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Washington, D.C.
7. October 1995 – August 1998, Deputy for Research Sciences, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition), Science, Technology and Engineering, Washington, D.C.
8. August 1998 - June 1999, Student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
9. June 1999 – June 2001, Chief Technologist, National Security Space Architect, Fairfax, Va.
10. June 2001 - January 2002, Senior Program Analyst, Office of the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management, George Bush Center for Intelligence, Washington, D.C.
11. January 2002 – August 2005, Director, Aerospace and Materials Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Va.
12. August 2005 – September 2007, Director, Plans and Programs, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
13. September 2007 – July 2018, Executive Director, Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of the Navy, Arlington, Va.
14. July 2018 – August 2019, Executive Director, Navy International Programs Office, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C.
15. August 2019 – June 2020, Professor of the Practice, J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
16. June 2020 – June 2021, Executive Director, Rice University National Security Research Accelerator, Professor in the Practice, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas
17. June 2021 – present, Director and Chancellor, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
AWARDS AND HONORS
1982 R.C. Edwards Graduate Research Fellowship, Clemson University
1994 Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
2001 Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers
2011 – 2018 US Principal Voting Member, NATO Science and Technology Board
2011 – 2019 US Principal Voting Member, NATO Naval Armaments Group
2014 Elected to Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers, Clemson University
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Society for Experimental Mechanics
Certified Acquisition Professional, Level III, Systems Planning, Research, Development, and Engineering
(Current as of June 2021)