Dr. Walter F. Jones is the Executive Director of the Rice University National Security Research Accelerator (RUNSRA) at Rice University. In this position, he provides strategic leadership that focuses on all aspects of national security research and development, including defense, energy, international cooperation, and science and technology policy. He works closely with the world-class faculty and staff at Rice, as well as with scientists and engineers in government laboratories, universities, and in industry. Current RUNSRA research, funded primarily by the US Army Futures Command through the Army Research Laboratory, is focused on advanced material processing, high-speed networks, and energetic materials.
Dr. Jones previously served as the Executive Director of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), planning and managing the entire $3 billion science and technology program for the Navy and the Marine Corps. He served as the senior civilian manager at ONR, and provided executive, technical, and scientific direction in the performance of ONR’s mission. He worked closely with ONR’s Technical Director and Department Heads in the identification, prioritization, and support of specific areas of science and technology development.
Before coming to Rice, Dr. Jones served as a Professor of the Practice in the J Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He taught several undergraduate courses and served as a consultant and mentor to students and faculty researchers throughout the University. Before coming to Texas A&M, Dr Jones also served as Executive Director of the Navy International Programs Office, where he was responsible for oversight of the development, planning, and implementation of the Department of the Navy’s International Programs, primarily in the areas of Security Cooperation, Cooperative Programs, Research and Development, Technology Transfer, and Strategic Planning.
A fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Dr. Jones has represented the United States as principal voting member of both the NATO Science and Technology Board and the NATO Naval Armaments Group. He led an international team that developed the first NATO Science and Technology Strategy. He also led a NATO Science and Technology initiative in Maritime Security, which has now grown into a multi-Nation initiative in Maritime Unmanned Systems, endorsed by the North Atlantic Council.
Prior to ONR, Dr. Jones held the position of Director, Plans and Programs, at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was responsible for developing and managing the processes that defined AFRL’s $3-billion annual investment in technologies for future Air Force systems. These systems include space, weapons, aeronautics, and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Dr. Jones has held a variety of other positions in government and academia. He has served as Director, Aerospace and Materials Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, VA. In this capacity he planned, coordinated and executed a $55-million basic research program, including solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, materials science, and propulsion. He has also served as Senior Program Analyst with the Office of the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management. He has held several positions with the Air Force, including Deputy for Research Sciences with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy for Science and Technology with the Office of the National Security Space Architect. In addition, Dr. Jones has held faculty positions at the University of Florida, University of Tennessee, and Clemson University.
Dr. Jones was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science in Engineering Mechanics, and Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers at Clemson. Dr. Jones earned a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Ft. Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. He also earned a Certificate in Legislative Studies from the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University.