Former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work joins Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Senior fellow brings expertise in artificial intelligence and human–machine collaboration

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work has joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a senior fellow.

Robert Work

Image caption: Robert Work

Work was the Defense Department's second-ranking civilian leader from 2014 until 2017, after a term as Under Secretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2013. He served 27 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring as a colonel after holding a wide range of command, leadership, and management positions. He has also been CEO of the Center for a New American Security, vice president for strategic studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and adjunct professor at the George Washington University.

"We are honored to welcome Bob to our team as a senior fellow," said APL Director Ralph Semmel. "His broad expertise, particularly his insights on autonomy, artificial intelligence, and human–machine collaboration, can help us extend the impact of the critical work our scientists and engineers are doing for national defense, cybersecurity, health care, and space."

Work's military and civilian awards include the DoD's Distinguished Public Service Award (twice), the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and Distinguished Public Service Awards from the Departments of the Navy, Air Force, and Army.

He has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois; master's degrees in systems management from the University of Southern California and space system operations from the Naval Postgraduate School, as well as a master's in international public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is the co-author of 20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age.

"I am excited to team up with APL on technologies and issues that I've long said will redefine the character of war," Work said. "There are opportunities just over the horizon that we can reach through the innovative application of emerging technologies—the lab has the right mix of technical expertise and a focus on application to realize these opportunities, and I'm looking forward to helping them in their efforts."

APL's senior fellows are distinguished experts in national security and space who work with technical experts at the laboratory to better inform technology and policy decisions made by U.S. military leaders and senior government officials.