Michael D. Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering

Michael D. Griffin

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering

Michael Douglas Griffin was born in November 1949 in Aberdeen, Maryland. He holds seven academic degrees: A BA in Physics from Johns Hopkins University, an MSE in Aerospace Science from the Catholic University of America, a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland; an MS in Electric Engineering from the University of Southern California, an MS in Applies Physics from Johns Hopkins, an MBA from Loyola University-Maryland, and an MS in Civil Engineering from George Washington University. Still in the works is an MS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University.

He worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including as Associate Administrator for Exploration. He was nominated as NASA Administrator by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the Senate, and served in that position for four years, leaving when President Obama was inaugurated.

Griffin was a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, holding the position as eminent scholar.

He was nominated by President Donald Trump to be Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate, and assumed his position in February 2018.

In the News…

In April, the Federal Communications Commission made a unanimous over-the-weekend decision amid the coronavirus outbreak to give Ligado the go-ahead to develop a 5G network using a ground emitter on a radio spectrum adjacent to the mobile-satellite services band used to receive faint signals from space. Pentagon officials appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee asked that the FCC be called upon to reverse its decision because of the interference it would create with the GPS system the military relies upon.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin gave a metaphor comparing the sound of a signal coming from space as zero decibels, or about as faint as rustling leaves.

“If zero decibels is barely audible and 140 decibels is a jet takeoff, then what we are trying to do with GPS is to hear the sound of leaves rustling through the noise of 100 jets taking off all at once,” he said describing how loud Ligado’s ground-based signal would be.

“We will have to redesign and redeploy equipment, and the cost will be hundreds of billions of dollars and decades of deployment time,” he said.


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