ADELPHI, Md. -- The U.S. Army will soon have a new senior researcher at the helm of its research and technology at the Pentagon.
Dr. Philip Perconti, director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, will become the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology and Army chief scientist later this month.
In his new position, he will be responsible for Army research and technology dedicated to empowering, unburdening and protecting Soldiers and modernizing the force.
Perconti had been a senior leader at the Army Research Laboratory for nearly seven years. He first served as the lab's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate director responsible for leading and transitioning the Army's primary basic and applied research programs in sensors, electronics, signal processing, and power and energy component technologies. He then became the acting laboratory director in April 2016, and the Army selected him to be its official director in June 2017. The laboratory has more than 2,000 military and civilian employees.
During a town hall this month discussing the reasoning behind why the Army needs a corporate research laboratory, Perconti said someone needs to be the guardian of the future.
"We need to understand the threat that potentially exists for the United States with regard to materiel development and the science and technology that is being developed worldwide," he said in a Nov. 12 town hall. "We need to understand how we can take that technology and apply it in ways that would bring new and disruptive capabilities…transformative capabilities to the Army, long-term."
During his tenure as laboratory director, Perconti expanded collaborative efforts with industry and academia by placing Army scientists and engineers alongside partners in Chicago, Austin and Boston. His initiative of identifying and establishing 10 Essential Research Programs, or ERPs, is something he said he hopes will endure after his departure.
"There are certain things I value most," he said. "Probably the number one thing I value most is integrity. Integrity equals credibility in my mind. If you're going to make a claim that you have 10 areas that are essential, then you had better deliver on those 10 areas.
Perconti said he was thrilled to be serving Soldiers and leading the laboratory's scientists, engineers and support staff in its efforts to discover, innovate and transition science and technology that provides unprecedented capabilities to the future force.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium honored Perconti with its Director of the Year award in 2018. The consortium is a nationwide network of more than 300 federal laboratories, agencies and research centers fostering commercialization, best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies out of the labs and into the marketplace. They credited Perconti for expanding the lab's Open Campus business model -- a vehicle to facilitate technology transfer -- by not only inviting collaborators into the Army lab, but also by sending its research staff to work in partner facilities. Under Perconti's leadership, the lab leveraged more than $70 million of in-kind contributions, including $29.9 million in fiscal 2016, for Army-focused research through Open Campus initiatives.
Before joining the laboratory in January 2013, Perconti was the director of the Science and Technology Division of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate for 12 years.
He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering from George Mason University, a master of science degree in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from The George Washington University.
Perconti is a Fellow of the Military Sensing Symposium, a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Army Acquisition Corps, the Technical Cooperative Program Sensors Multi-Sensor Integration Panel and the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and serves as chairman for the Military Sensing Program, Passive Sensors Committee.
He has published extensively on many aspects of military sensing and countermine/counter improvised explosive device technology, has authored and co-authored over 40 publications including three book chapters, and he holds two patents.
Perconti was selected for the Senior Executive Service in January 2013.
In his new job, Perconti will answer to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, who has the mission to provide Soldiers with a decisive advantage by "maintaining quality acquisition professionals to develop, acquire, field, and sustain the world's best equipment and services through efficient leveraging of technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs," according to its website. DASA (R&T) fosters invention, innovation and demonstration of technologies to enable future force capabilities.
"I have an affinity for ARL and I will always look out for ARL," Perconti told the laboratory workforce during his farewell. "I will not accept status quo. You will feel pressure from me if I see you going backwards. Don't go backwards. You can't afford to."
Perconti's final day at the laboratory is Nov. 22. A replacement or acting director has not yet been named.
The CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army's corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.