21 - 25 April 2024
National Harbor, Maryland, US
Industry Event
Panel Discussion on Directed Energy: Industrial Base Readiness to Support Directed Energy Programs of Record
24 April 2024 • 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT | Prince George Exhibition Hall, Industry Stage 
Hear the latest on funding and technical developments, as well as challenges and opportunities, from leaders from industry, academia, and government offices. Panelists will address key areas critical to the future success and adoption of directed energy systems. This will be an energizing discussion about a coming-of-age technology that has been in development for decades.


Robert Walker
Robert Walker
Vice President of Strategy and Business Development
Leonardo (United States)
Robert Walker is an accomplished business development executive with over 25 years of experience in the laser and opto-electronics industry. He is currently the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Leonardo Electronics US, where he plays a pivotal role in securing major deals and partnerships, developing new product lines and markets, and driving the company's growth and success. Robert has held several positions in engineering, program management, sales, marketing, and business development at Leonardo Electronics US and II-VI Coherent (Marlow Industries), gaining expertise in all aspects of the business. He is also an active participant in the photonics industry, co-authoring and presenting several papers on laser diode technology and leading a photonics industry technical webinar series. Robert is a recognized industry expert and has led industry panels in Directed Energy and he co-chairs the Arizona Photonics Days annual conference for Optics Valley, a committee of the Arizona Technology Council. Robert holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and has a proven track record of success in driving revenue growth, building strategic partnerships, and positioning companies as leaders in their respective fields.


Sandra Biedron
Sandra Biedron
Chief Scientist , Element Aero (United States)
Research Professor ECE and ME, University of New Mexico (United States)
Sandra Biedron is engaged with the development of both work force and technology development in many capacities, from technical director to management, to educator as a professor. Currently, she is serving as Research Professor at the University of New Mexico in the School of Engineering, Knowledge Transfer Director of the NSF STC Cornell Center for Bright Beams and Managing Partner of Element Aero - an R&D and consulting company that she founded.

Her technical works include being a technical and management consultant for the FERMI free-electron laser project at Sincrotrone Trieste, Deputy Lead Engineer for integration of an Innovative Naval Prototype for Boeing, serving in leadership positions for several DoE-led DoE/DoD/NSF Basic Research Needs Reports, as well as chairing or participating in several international conferences and committees, including a NATO workgroup for sensors and electronics, the IEEE USA AI and Autonomous Systems Policy Committee, the IEEE USA R&D Policy Committee, and the Program Advisory Committee for the Brookhaven Accelerator Test Facility (ATF). Her interests are many and include particle accelerator systems; laser systems; the use of artificial intelligence in controls, modeling, and prediction of complex systems; sensors and detectors; and applications of these technologies in science, security, and defense.

She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the SPIE, a Senior Member of Optica and IEEE, and a member of the Italian Optical Society and the Directed Energy Professional Society. She has received a letter of commendation by the Chief of Naval Research and the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Society’s Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award. Currently, she is driving activities for next generation light sources for industrial and national security applications, sustainability and power initiatives, namely infrastructure for nuclear power and sustainability in semiconductors and their applications.

Mark F. Spencer
Mark F. Spencer
Joint Directed Energy Transition Office OUSD (R&E)/OASD(CT)/AT/DE (United States)
Mark F. Spencer is the Director of the Joint Directed Energy Transition Office (JDETO) within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). Mark is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Optical Sciences and Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) within the Department of Engineering Physics. He is an active member of the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS), a senior member of Optica (the society advancing optics and photonics worldwide), and a fellow of SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics).

Wilson Miles
Wilson Miles
Associate Research Fellow
NDIA Emerging Technologies Institute (United States)
Wilson Miles is an Associate Research Fellow at ETI. Wilson's research and analysis portfolio includes analyzing the hypersonics and directed energy technology supply chains, the Joint Warfighting Concept, and other modernization technology policy issues. Wilson previously held internships at CRDF Global, the Hudson Institute, and the National Defense University. He received his Master of Arts in International Affairs: US Foreign Policy and National Security from American University's School of International Service and his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Linfield University.

Joe Grobmyer
Joe Grobmyer
Directed Energy Manufacturing and Industrial Base Program Lead
Directed Energy Project Office US Army RCCTO (United States)
Joe Grobmyer has over 30 years' experience serving as the lead engineer or program lead on multiple Army EOIR and Laser systems. He served as the QRC Chief for AvMC responding to ONS and JUONS from theater. Mr. Grobmyer established the AvMC G-Staff and served at its Operations Chief (G3). Since 2016 he has been supporting the Army's High Energy Laser efforts serving as the lead engineer or program lead for various projects. Currently he is the Program Manager for the US Army RCCTO Directed Energy Manufacturing and Industrial Base (DE MIB) program, supporting the manufacturing and transition DE technology.


Event Details

FORMAT: Panel discussion followed by audience Q&A.
MENU: Coffee and tea service available nearby.
SETUP: Stage and theater style seating.