Director, Emerging Capabilities & Prototyping Initiatives & Analysis
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
Mrs. Ellen M. Purdy currently serves as the Director, Initiatives & Analysis in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering). She is responsible for financial and technical oversight leading to rapid development of fieldable prototypes and capability. Her efforts address emerging needs in spectrum access, autonomy, communications, sensing, and electronic warfare. She also leads the $500M Spectrum Access R&D Program.
Mrs. Purdy assesses resilience of new capabilities against adaptive adversaries. She fosters collaborative engagement with traditional defense industry, non-traditional commercial sector organizations, and academia to pursue innovative solutions. Pursuits range from enhancing commercially available technology to military unique, solid state, software reconfigurable technology solutions. Mrs. Purdy joined Research & Engineering in 2010 and served as Deputy
Director for the Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (JCTD) Office, developing and
deploying operational solutions in support of Combatant Commands worldwide.
Previously, Mrs. Purdy served as the Enterprise Director, Joint Ground Robotics where she had oversight of Department-wide unmanned ground systems, strategic planning for ground robotics and annual RDT&E funding for ground robotic technology development. During her tenure, Mrs. Purdy secured Congressional support and Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) approval for a multiyear Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the Robotics Technology Consortium that continues today. This unique approach with industry resulted in rapid transition of technologies into a ground robotics inventory that grew from under 600 systems to over 6000 during her tenure.
Prior to her robotics assignment, Mrs. Purdy served in the US Army Program Management Office,
Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team in a variety of positions including Director, Combined Test Organization; Deputy Director, Combined Test Organization; Manager, Test, Analysis, Modeling and Simulation; and Integrated Product Team Lead for Integrated Simulation
Mrs. Purdy earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering, Masters degree in Engineering Management, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellowship. Additional service includes the Advisory Board for the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems, Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University; an elected member of the Board of Directors, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); the Board of Advisors, Virginia
Modeling and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University; and elected member of the City of Manassas School Board. Her awards include 2 Superior Civilian Service Award medals, 2 Commander’s Award for Civilian Service medals, and the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.
Mrs. Purdy has authored over 20 published technical and journal reports, and periodical articles.