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Dr. Melissa Flagg joined the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research on October 26, 2015. Dr. Flagg was responsible for policy and oversight of the Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology (S&T) programs from Basic Research through Advanced Technology Development. She was also responsible for oversight of DoD Laboratories, ensuring the long-term strategic direction of the Department’s S&T programs, and for developing those technologies needed for continued technological superiority of US forces.

Before assuming this position, Flagg was a senior program officer within the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellows program with a primary focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Fellows program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits across all disciplines and endeavors.

Prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation, Flagg served as the director for the Office of Technical Intelligence within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. From 2001 to 2009, Flagg served in roles within the Office of Naval Research and the US Department of State leading efforts on global technology awareness, technical intelligence, and international S&T cooperation.

Flagg has served on a range of Boards including the Emerging Technology Research Advisory Committee at the Department of Commerce, the National Academy of Sciences Air Force Studies Board, and served as executive secretary for the Defense Science Board. She also served as the chief technology officer of a small startup company, PocketTea LLC from 2014 to 2015.