Lewis to Perform Duties of Undersecretary for Research and Engineering

The Pentagon is expected to name the acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering as early as July 13, with the department’s current director of defense, research, and engineering for modernization to perform the duties in the interim.

Michael D. Griffin, who held the position since December 2017, stepped down, with his last day in the Pentagon on July 10. For now, Mark J. Lewis will be “performing the duties of” the undersecretary, but will not be “acting,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

According to the organizational chart, Lewis is “next in line,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver said July 10.

Griffin and deputy Lisa Porter announced June 23 they’d be leaving for an “opportunity” in the private sector, which they did not disclose.

Lewis came into the Directorate of Defense Research and Evaluation’s Modernization job last fall, heading up efforts to insert 11 areas of new technology into Pentagon weapon systems. These range from directed energy and hypersonics to quantum computing and bio technology.

Early in his tenure, Griffin established hypersonics as his top priority for research and engineering, but Lewis, in a recent appearance in a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies “Aerospace Nation” streaming event, said microelectronics has displaced hypersonics as the top priority. He explained this shift is due to the strides made in hypersonics over the past three years and because microelectronics is part of all weapon systems, and secure chip manufacture is an area of concern.