Dr. Donald P. McErlean
Engineering Fellow, L-3 Communications
- Director, Engineering Fellow/Research Scientist, L-3 Communications, Integrated Systems Group
- Former Chief Engineer, Naval Aviation
In 2007, Dr. Donald P. McErlean joined L-3 Communications, where he currently serves as an Engineering Fellow of the Platform Integration Division of the Integrated Systems Group. He holds responsibility for the management of research and development, technical assessment of new business opportunities, and development of technical personnel and policy strategies in support of the division. He formerly held the position of Director for Federal Programs, with responsibility for modification and heavy structural maintenance of the Navy P-3 and EP-3 aircraft as well as aircraft from the U.S. Army and the Department of Homeland Security.
After Dr. McErlean left Federal service in 2005 after a career of more than 35 years, he became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic Analysis, which provides high-level expertise to both industry and government in areas of national interest, emerging technology, and public policy.
In 2003, Dr. McErlean was appointed Deputy Assistant Commander for Research and Engineering (Naval Aviations Chief Engineer). He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Commander for Logistics and Fleet Support and oversaw the Naval Aviation buildup for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the engineering management team of the Naval Air Systems Command in 1990 and served as Head of the Air Vehicle Engineering Department, Executive Director for Command-Wide Test and Evaluation, and Executive Director of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. During this period, he served in a joint assignment when in 1994 the Navy and Air Force jointly selected Dr. McErlean to serve as Technical Director for the Joint Strike Fighter Program. Originally appointed a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service (SES) in 1987, he initially was the Director of Air Vehicle and Crew Systems Technology at the Naval Air Development Center.
While serving with the Air Force, Dr. McErlean held the position of Systems Program Office Director, leading a wide variety of Air Force propulsion programs and applications, at the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Division. He joined that organization in 1979 as a systems engineering manager. He previously worked at the Air Force Aeropropulsion Laboratory as an aerospace engineer after serving on military active duty as an aerospace engineering officer at the U.S. Air Force Systems Command from 1970 to 1973.
Dr. McErlean is the recipient of several SES awards for exceptional performance. He received the Presidential Rank Award from President George W. Bush in 2005 and from President William J. Clinton in 1993 and 1999. In 1987, he received the Exceptional Civilian Performance Medal from the Air Force. He is the recipient of the Navy Superior Civilian Performance Medal and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Performance Medal, the Navy’s highest civilian award for performance.
Dr. McErlean was named to the U.S. delegation to the Flight Vehicle Integration Panel of the NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) and eventually was elected vice chair of that group. He also served as the Navy member of the U.S. delegation to the Aerospace Group of the Technology Cooperation Program.
Dr. McErlean has served on numerous technical advisory panels for NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy and was chair of the Tri-Service Science and Technology Reliance Panel on fixed-wing aircraft research. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the North Texas Center for Innovation and Commercialization and the Alliance for Higher Education. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Telemetry. Previously, the Governor of Maryland appointed him to both the Commission for the Development of High-Technology Business and the Board of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center.
Dr. McErlean received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering (fluid dynamics major, applied mathematics minor) from Rutgers University and an M.B.A. from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
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