DR. THOMAS A. SPENCER

Dr. Thomas A. Spencer is the Executive Director, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He is responsible for providing direction in the operational test and evaluation planning, execution and reporting of more than 98 major programs valued at more than $907 billion being assessed at 17 different locations. Dr. Spencer assists the AFOTEC commander as the senior interface between AFOTEC and major commands, other services, agencies, allied partners, industry and the scientific community.

Dr. Spencer has served in numerous acquisition, operational, and senior leader assignments, including: Director, Strategic Plans and Requirements Directorate, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; Technical Director, Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements, and Analyses, Headquarters Air Force Material Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Assistant Chief Scientist, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va; dual-hatted as the Deputy Director and the Director of Engineering for the Nuclear Capabilities Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; and the Directed Energy Staff Specialist, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Science & Technology), Weapons Systems Directorate at the Pentagon. Dr. Spencer also spent a major portion of his career at the Air Force Research Laboratory, lastly as the Chief, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M.

Dr. Spencer’s most recent assignment was at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center as the Center Test Authority. He was responsible for all test activities associated with the lifecycle management of nuclear weapons systems supporting two legs of the nation’s nuclear triad, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, gravity bombs, nuclear certification, and nuclear command and control communications systems.

EDUCATION
1986  Bachelor of Science degree, nuclear science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
1988  Masters of Science in Engineering degree, nuclear engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
1991  Doctorate of Philosophy, nuclear engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
2008  Air War College (seminar)
2009  Leadership for a Democratic Society, Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville, Va.

CAREER CHRONOLOGY
1.  1992 – 1997, Research Nuclear Engineer, Plasma Physics Branch, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
2.  1997 – 2000, Principal Investigator, Senior Nuclear Engineer, Plasma Physics Branch, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
3.  2000 – 2004, Technical Area Manager, Senior Nuclear Engineer, Technology Development Branch, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
4.  2004 – 2006, Deputy Division Chief, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
5.  2006 – 2007, Directed Energy Staff Specialist, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Science & Technology), Weapons Systems Directorate, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
6.  2007 – 2009, Division Chief, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
7.  2009 – 2012, Director of Engineering, 498th Nuclear Systems Wing, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
8.  2012 – 2013, Deputy Director and Director of Engineering, Nuclear Capabilities Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
9.  2013 – 2015, Assistant Chief Scientist, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.
10. 2015 – 2017, Technical Director, Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements, and Analyses, Headquarters Air Force Material Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
11. 2017 – 2020, Director, Strategic Plans and Requirements Directorate, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
12. 2020 – 2022, Center Test Authority, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
13. 2022 – present, Executive Director, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.

AWARDS AND HONORS
Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2012, 2017, 2020)
Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Award (two awarded in 2010, one in 2013)
Chief Engineer of the Year Award (2011)
General Randolph Engineering Team Award (2011)
Air Force Office of Scientific Research STAR Team Principal Investigator (2000)

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
Senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Executive Committee Member, Nuclear and Plasma Physics Society, IEEE (2001-2003)
Directed Energy Professional Society
Office of the Secretary of Defense Directed Energy Technical Expert and Co-Secretariat Defense Science Board (2006-2007)
Dr. Spencer has co-authored and authored more than 50 refereed journal publications, two book chapters, and more than 50 contributed papers. He was a guest editor for the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 8th Special Issue on High Power Microwaves, June 2000, and has served on more than a dozen PhD dissertation committees. Dr. Spencer was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 1997-1999.

(Current as of July 2022)