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Dr. Gillian Bussey, Special Advisor, Hypersonics, Office of the Chief Scientist
U.S. Air Force

Dr. Gillian Bussey is currently a Special Assistant to the USAF Chief Scientist where she advises the Chief Scientist on technical matters relevant to the USAF, particularly nuclear S&T, NC3, hypersonics, testing and evaluation, and quantum mechanics.

From 2020 to mid-2022, she was the inaugural director of the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Research, and Engineering, Advanced Capabilities. As director, she was responsible for DoD’s integrated S&T strategy for hypersonics, working with foreign allies, setting up and overseeing the University Consortium of Applied Hypersonics (UCAH), and providing oversight of DoD hypersonics programs. She also set up a JHTO Systems Engineering Field Activity (SEFA) at NSWC Crane. She set up the office in April 2020 according to Congressional direction and oversaw budgets up to $100m and office of 14 people.

She was a special advisor to the Assistant Director, Hypersonics office as a detailee from the CIA advising the department on hypersonics weapons, technologies, and applicable missile defenses from June 2018 to April 2020. As the acting director for Aerospace Technologies from July 2019 to February 2020, she was also responsible for overseeing DoD activities in air platforms and related propulsion technologies. She spent six months on assignment at the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG)’s Applied Hypersonics Branch near Brisbane, Australia in 2015 and 2016 supporting the joint US Air Force-DSTG HIFIRE program and DSTG’s hypersonics programs.

She was CIA’s hypersonics systems and technologies analyst in the Weapons Counterproliferation Mission Center from 2011 to July 2018. As a CIA analyst, she wrote Presidential Daily Briefs for the President on hypersonics, supported two USAF Scientific Advisory Board studies, and was the IC liaison to a National Academies Study. She analyzed technical information associated with hypersonic systems and air-launched weapons from May 2007 to September 2012.

She has degrees in physics and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2005) and a M.S. and Ph.D in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (2009, 2012). While at the University of Maryland, her research focused on hypersonics.

She is an AIAA associate fellow and member of a panel reviewing NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles portfolio. She participated in source selection for several MDA and DARPA missile defense projects and led a JASONs study on boost phase intercept in 2018.


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