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Melissa Johnson, Acquisition Executive for USSOCOM, Speaks for the POC's 10th Annual Defense R&D

Melissa Johnson, Acquisition Executive for USSOCOM, Speaks for the POC’s 10th Annual Defense R&D

Melissa Johnson is the Acquisition Executive at the U.S. Special Operations Command. She is one of the speakers for the Potomac Officers Club’s 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit. Get to know Melissa Johnson’s background and professional achievements here.


Who is Melissa Johnson?


Melissa Johnson is a Senior Executive Service member and the Acquisition Executive for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). She oversees a team of over 1,000 employees in delivering fast acquisition, technology, and logistics support to Special Operations Forces. 


She is also the principal advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command for Special Operations research and development, testing, production, fielding, and sustaining U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) peculiar programs. The programs include weapons, space, aviation, cyber, maritime, ground, and communication systems.


Before becoming an Acquisition Executive, Melissa Johnson was the Deputy Director and Acting Director for the Department of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office. 


She was responsible for leveraging streamlined acquisition methods for developing, acquiring, and fielding critical capabilities, which included the B-21 Raider and X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. She helped tailor these weapons to address the emerging threats in Air and Space Forces and combatant command demands.


Catch Melissa Johnson at the Potomac Officers Club’s 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit


Melissa Johnson is one of the panelists for “Innovation to Implementation”. Other speakers in the panel include 


  • William Bailey from the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office
  • Donald Kelley from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command
  • Mike Loomis from Nokia Federal
  • Christopher Yaw (moderator)


The 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit is a must-see because it covers current and future-oriented topics such as bridging the valley of death, winning the great power competition, navigating the virtual battlespace, securing the innovation advantage, intelligent NetOps, and deploying AI to unlock R&D potential. These discussions provide deep insights into the challenges and opportunities in the defense sector. 


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Register now and be part of shaping the future of defense!


This is an excellent networking opportunity for defense leaders, experts, and decision-makers to collaborate and create partnerships, particularly for government contractors and agencies invested in defense R&D.


Melissa Johnson in Defense R&D


Melissa Johnson has been involved in various defense research and development initiatives. She was a speaker at defense technology conferences, including the Precision Strike Technology Symposium, Virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, and the 8th SOF & Worldwide Operations Symposium. 


Melissa Johnson was a part of developing and deploying airborne laser technology. She also participated in initiatives to advance the readiness of Special Operations with technologies for digital mission engineering, human-machine interfaces, and autonomous systems.


As the Program Executive Officer for Fixed Wing Special Operations Forces, she led over 100 programs valued at $1.7 billion. These include efforts for technology insertion in sensors, mission automation, survivability, and kinetic effects.


What is USSOCOM?


United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is a unified command of active duty and reserve personnel. Its core responsibilities encompass researching, developing, and acquiring special operations’ peculiar items.


USSOCOM actively participates in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which support the full spectrum of SOF AT&L Science & Technology commodity areas. These programs motivate small businesses with the potential for commercialization to participate in federal research and development.


The USSOCOM Comparative Technology Office (CTO) is responsible for three congressionally mandated Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs: the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT), Defense Acquisition Challenge (DAC), and Rapid Innovative Fund (RIF) programs. These programs aim to test and field mature defense technology to SOF warfighters.


Additionally, USSOCOM seeks small businesses with strong R&D capabilities to commercialize technologies through the DOD SBIR Program Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). 


The Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (PEO-C4) and the Program Executive Office for Special Operations Forces Digital Applications (PEO SDA) oversee the development and acquisition of systems to support SOF missions.

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