ASU engineer to lead Air Force Scientific Advisory Board

Arizona State University engineering professor Werner Dahm has been named by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force as the new chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. His three-year term begins in September.

Dahm will lead the 52-member body consisting of preeminent scientists and engineers from industry, academia, federally funded research and development centers, and national laboratories, who are appointed by the Secretary of Defense.

The board has existed since 1944 to provide independent technical advice to U.S Air Force leadership. It conducts studies on topics deemed critical by senior Air Force leadership, and recommends applications of technology to improve Air Force capabilities. It also evaluates the research programs in the Air Force Research Laboratory and makes recommendations on science and technology research needed to support long-term strategic plans.

“The Air Force conducts about $4 billion annually in research across a wide range of technology areas, so it is essential to have an independent board to help guide decisions about the best use of these resources. The goal is to ensure that the Air Force obtains the most relevant and effective technologies from its investments,” Dahm said.

Dahm is an ASU Foundation Professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

He previously served as the chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force, working full-time in the Pentagon from 2008 through 2010. For his performance in that position, he received the Exceptional Service Award, the highest recognition for civilian service bestowed by the Air Force.

Prior to becoming the Air Force’s chief scientist, Dahm had served on the Scientific Advisory Board, and he returned to the board upon completion of his chief scientist role.

He left a position on the engineering faculty at the University of Michigan to come to ASU in 2010 as the founding director of ASU’s Security and Defense Systems Initiative. Dahm also serves as chief technical officer at ASU Research Enterprise, an ASU-affiliated not-for-profit applied research organization that he established as part of the Security and Defense Systems Initiative. Both organizations conduct research that addresses national and global security and defense challenges.

At ASU, Dahm also teaches courses in aerodynamics and propulsion at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and conducts research in the same areas. His work focuses on the fundamental physics and computational modeling of turbulence, with applications to advanced aircraft propulsion systems.

His new role as Air Force Scientific Advisory Board chair will demand frequent travel and a significant time commitment, but Dahm said he will keep up with his teaching and research at ASU.

“It will be a challenge, but I am passionate about my teaching and the quality of the education and experiences we provide our students,” he said.

He looks forward to leading the board because of the wide range of emerging technologies that can help the Air Force bridge the growing gap between its strategic challenges and tightening budgets.

He expects the board to explore technologies from new types of aircraft and propulsion systems, sensors and information systems to munitions and directed energy systems, materials, manufacturing technology and devices and systems that enhance human performance.

“We will be recommending acceleration in the development and application of the most promising technologies that can help the Air Force achieve its goals over the next 20 years,” Dahm said.

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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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