20:00 PM

Jeffrey Isaacson appointed President & CEO of USRA

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) announced today that Dr. Jeffrey A. Isaacson will join USRA as President & CEO, effective October 20. Dr. Isaacson has a distinguished career spanning both industry and the nonprofit sector, and a depth of experience in engaging academia and the broader scientific and technology communities in support of achieving national objectives. Dr. Isaacson was selected following an extensive national search, undertaken by the USRA Board of Trustees, assisted by the executive search firm of Korn Ferry.

Dr. Isaacson is Vice President for Defense Systems and Assessments at Sandia National Laboratories, where he is responsible for development and integration of advanced science and technology into state-of-the art systems for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Defense, and other national security agencies.

Prior to joining Sandia in 2011, Dr. Isaacson was at RAND Corporation, where he was Vice President and Director of the Arroyo Center, the U.S. Army's federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for studies and analysis. He had returned to RAND in 2007 from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, where he directed systems engineering and integration of the Space Based Infrared System-High. This multibillion-dollar satellite program provides the United States a next-generation capability for missile warning. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 2004, Dr. Isaacson served in a variety of research and management positions for nearly 13 years at RAND, including Vice President and Director of the National Defense Research Institute, the FFRDC supporting the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies. As a Department of Energy graduate fellow in the 1980s, he conducted research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Prof. Wesley Harris of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who chaired the search process and serves as Vice Chair of the USRA Board, commented, "Jeff possesses an exceptional depth and range of abilities, from his doctoral work in theoretical physics, to research on complex national defense policy and strategy problems, to executive level management of major programs for the Departments of Defense and Energy. I am confident Jeff will provide the Association with the vision and leadership that will be required, as we move forward in this new century." Dr. Jan Van Prooyen, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, "We have in Jeff a person of integrity, experience, and dedication, who will further advance this premier scientific and educational organization to meet the challenges of the future, in service to our country, and in fulfilment of its nonprofit purpose. Jeff Isaacson is ideally suited to lead USRA."

"I am proud and excited to be joining USRA," said Dr. Isaacson. "USRA is an impressive organization, with a 45-year history of conducting important work with NASA and, more recently, for the National Science Foundation and other government sponsors. I am looking forward to working alongside its dedicated employees, supporting its government sponsors, and serving its member institutions."

Dr. Isaacson is a member of the Army Science Board and the M.I.T. Corporation Visiting Committee for the Engineering Systems Division. He earned degrees at Columbia University, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Dr. Isaacson is also a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, having served in Afghanistan as a mobilized reservist from May 2009 to April 2010.


The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers - on schedule and within budget.