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Dr. Milan Nikolich

Director, Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology

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Dr. Milan “Mitch” Nikolich is the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology and serves as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering on all of the Department’s research and technology investments. He also serves as the Mission Area Advisor for National Defense Strategy technology development implementation and oversees activities in Microelectronics, Cyber, Quantum Science, Directed Energy and Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence. He establishes the Department’s annual strategic Science and Technology investment strategy, issues policy and guidance for aligning the Department’s Science and Technology investment to this strategy, and conducts reviews to ensure progress toward the Department’s goals.

Dr. Nikolich also serves as the Department’s chief steward and advocate for defense laboratory infrastructure and science and technology workforce. He serves as the lead for ensuring the Department of Defense maintains its technological advantage through strategic research and technology investments. He also has responsibilities for the establishment and implementation of protection methodologies to mitigate the risk of loss of critical technologies to determined adversaries.

Dr. Nikolich has held senior positions with SAIC, CACI, National Security Research Inc., Defense Group Inc., W.J. Schafer Associates and served in the Physics Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He also served on the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack and was a part-time faculty member at George Washington University. He was technical contributor to the Strategic Defense Initiative, the establishment of the Department’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction program, the advancement of the U.S. nuclear weapons program and has been a member of a number of U.S. arms control delegations.

Dr. Nikolich earned a Bachelor of Science degree Electrical Engineering in 1981, a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1983, and his Doctor of Philosophy in 1985 in Electrical and Computer Engineering, all from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His area of emphasis was in plasma devices and pulsed power systems.