Mr. Rob McHenry is the deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He rejoined DARPA in September 2022 after serving as founder and chief executive officer of Bright Silicon Technologies, an optical microdevice manufacturing company.
McHenry has been an executive leader of organizations at the forefront of advanced technology development. He began his career as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the USS Portsmouth (SSN 707) and as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. Upon leaving military service, he supported DARPA including technical development for the DARPA Grand Challenge for Unmanned Ground Vehicles, and managed a consulting firm where he served as director of future development for the Littoral Combat Ship program. From 2007 to 2012, McHenry was a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, where he focused on complex autonomous systems in the maritime domain. His research in self-deploying unmanned ships (Sea Hunter) developed the first class of maritime vessels traveling long distances autonomously for months at a time. He also started the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile program, which is a foundational breakthrough in autonomous weapons and successfully transitioned to the U.S. Navy as a program of record. In acknowledgment of his programs’ impact on national security, he received the DARPA Gamechanger Award in 2019. McHenry worked from 2012 until 2020 at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he held the roles of energy technology program manager, vice president of public sector operations, chief operating officer, and executive-in-residence for the founding of a new business unit for advanced materials manufacturing.
McHenry received a Bachelor of Science in marine engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master of Science in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He serves on the board of trustees of the USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Alameda, California, and is the coinventor of six patents for energy and optical systems.
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