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A Scientist at the State Department

Monday, June 13, 2011
James N.
Head

Abstract. Science and Technology Policy Fellowships brokered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science immerses working engineers and scientists into both the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government. Fellows take on a wide variety of responsibilities and quite often represent their agencies or the U.S. Government in numerous diverse fora. The State Department has used Fellow’s expertise for 30 years to inform international diplomacy related to oceans, environment, climate, and space. The Office of Space and Advanced Technology works through the UN system to encourage and support the international community’s efforts to identify and mitigate space weather. Since the last solar maximum, society has greatly increased its reliance upon systems vulnerable to space weather events. These events can deny all users access to the GPS signal, negating satellite-base timing and navigation. Civil society impacts include civil aviation, ocean oil drilling, logging, smart grid, cell phone networks, and the financial sector. Large storms have disrupted the electric grid, leading to widespread blackouts. The problem scope requires a coordinated, international response, including excellent cooperation between the research and operational communities.

Biography. Dr. James N Head is on leave of absence from Raytheon Missile Systems to serve as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, hosted at the Office of Space and Advanced Technology at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. His portfolio includes space weather, space debris, space situational awareness, near-earth asteroids, and models for future space governance regimes. In his role, Dr. Head has instigated new points of international engagement and has represented the U.S. Government in international settings, including the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Prior to accepting the Fellowship, Dr. Head played a prominent role in the Raytheon’s civil space exploration efforts, including the upcoming LADEE mission. Dr. Head’s work with PSI began in 2004, under NASA contract to explore and refine implementation options for the Vision for Space Exploration. He is a PSI Senior Affiliate Scientist.

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