RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- The U.S. Army named Dr. David Stepp as chief scientist for the Army Research Office. In that role, he will serve as the scientific ambassador and lead interface between ARO and the scientific community, both nationally and abroad.
ARO, based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory.
As the office's chief scientist, Stepp will focus on providing leadership and strategic direction for scientific and technical program objectives and scientific investments for the extramural basic research mission. He will shape and synchronize efforts across the laboratory's portfolio, and create partnerships within the lab and across the federal research enterprise to support Army priorities.
"Dr. Stepp's new role in the organization is critical for our mission," said Dr. Barton Halpern, ARO director. "His experience has demonstrated the ability to seek scientific discovery for the U.S. Army's needs, and I know he will use this ability to propel the organization's future investments."
ARO has more than 100 staff members, scientists and engineers who manage the Army's extramural research program to create new and innovative scientific discoveries that will enable crucial future Army technologies and capabilities.
The Army funds research at more than 220 universities across the country and around the world and focuses on increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding in the engineering, physical, life, mathematical, computer, information, and social sciences, related to long-term national security needs.
The organization has a research portfolio that exceeds $450 million, including more than 1,000 single investigator research projects, more than 40 multidisciplinary research centers and two University Affiliated Research Centers. ARO also manages the Small Business Technology Transfer Program and Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minorities Institutions Programs.
Before becoming chief scientist, Stepp served as the director of Engineering Sciences at ARO, overseeing the electronics, materials science and mechanics divisions since 2016, and as the program manager for the mechanical behavior of materials extramural basic research program since 1999.
From May 2018 to April 2019, he served as the ARO acting director.
Previously, Stepp also served as chief of the materials science division at ARO from 2004 until 2017, and led a team to realize unprecedented material properties and provide new foundations and paradigms to enhance future war fighter and battle systems capabilities.
Additionally, Stepp serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University in the department of mechanical engineering and materials science. In that role, beginning in 1999, he is conducting research exploring fundamental microstructure-property relationships in transparent polymers and fragmentation in transparent engineering materials.
Stepp has published research in the areas of smart materials, structural ceramics, and polymer degradation and failure mechanisms.
Stepp received both his doctorate and master's degree in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in engineering from Harvey Mudd College.
The CCDC Army Research Laboratory 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 effective to win our nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.