Thomas Burns

Thomas Burns

Director, Strategic Technology Office

Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA)

Dr. Thomas J. Burns is the director of the Strategic Technology Office (STO). As STO director, he is responsible for a diverse portfolio of programs in battle management, command and control; communications and networking; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; electronic warfare; and positioning, navigation and timing.

Prior to DARPA, Dr. Burns was founder and managing partner of CXO Capital, where he managed the investment and mentoring of high-tech start-up businesses focused on the development of smart sensing technology for commercial applications. Prior to founding CXO Investments, Dr. Burns served as president, SET Subsidiary, and senior vice president and manager of Science Applications International Corporation’s (SAIC) Sensors and Phenomenology Operation.

Dr. Burns co-founded and served as CEO and chairman of SET Corporation, a small high-tech business specializing in the creation and commercialization of smart sensing technologies. SET made significant advances in RF, full-motion video, and wide-area motion imagery sensing, patenting a number of advanced sensing and data exploitation innovations, and launching a highly successful product that has been deployed throughout the world to detect suicide bombers at stand-off ranges.

Prior to founding SET, Dr. Burns co-founded and served as chief operating officer of Object Video, Inc., a venture capital-backed start-up company focused on video analytics for commercial product applications. Object Video became the industry leader in video analytics for physical security applications, teaming with Texas Instruments, Mitsubishi, and Sumitomo to create the first mass-marketed video analytics chip.

From 1995-1999, Dr. Burns served as a DARPA program manager, pioneering the development of big data analytics to extract information from massive quantities of multi-sensor data. His work at DARPA built on his experiences directing Computer Vision research as a U.S. Air Force officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), where he received the Alfred R. Murray Program Manager of the Year award.

Dr. Burns received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from The Ohio State University. He received a Master of Science and doctorate in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

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