Frank E. Peterkin, Ph.D.

Frank E. Peterkin, Ph.D.

Distinguished Scientist/Engineer for Directed Energy Naval Surface Warfare Center, Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Dr. Frank E. Peterkin is the Navy’s Senior Technologist for Directed Energy, a position in the scientific and professional cadre of the Federal Executive Service. He was appointed in July 2017 and serves as the Navy’s national and international leader in the development of technologies, applications, and systems for Directed Energy and related Electric Weapon capabilities. His areas of expertise and responsibility include High Energy Laser weapons, Radio Frequency and Microwave weapons, Electromagnetic Railgun, and Pulsed Power.

In 2014 Dr. Peterkin accepted a long term assignment to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to serve as the Electric Weapons Program Manager in the Air Warfare and Weapons Department. In this capacity Dr. Peterkin had oversight of ONR's $100M/year portfolio of Directed Energy and Electromagnetic Railgun activities and was responsible for defining the technical approaches of several of the largest programs in the Navy's Science and Technology Program.

In 2009 Dr. Peterkin was chosen to head the Directed Energy Warfare Office (DEWO) in the Electromagnetic & Sensor Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) in Dahlgren, VA. As the DEWO director, Dr. Peterkin was responsible for developing the strategic focus and fostering growth of NSWCDD’s portfolio of activities in Directed Energy, with an emphasis on transition of technology prototypes to war fighting capabilities. In this timeframe, Dr. Peterkin also served as the Technical Authority for Directed Energy in support of the Naval Sea Systems Command Engineering Directorate (SEA 05).

Dr. Peterkin received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was a National Merit Scholar in college and completed his graduate studies under a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. After working as a Research Scientist at Old Dominion University, he joined NSWCDD in 1995. His early career as an engineer at NSWCDD was focused on technologies and concepts supporting the development of Directed Energy Radio Frequency (RF) weapons, including development of multi-megavolt Marx-bank generators, high-voltage/high-rate capacitor charging power supplies, compact battery systems, and high peak power RF systems for military applications.

Dr. Peterkin has been recognized with numerous honors during his career, including the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 2018 and is a two-time recipient of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. In 2018, NSWCDD presented him the John Adolphus Dahlgren Award, the command's highest honor for individuals with significant achievement in science, engineering, or management. He also serves on numerous committees, panels, and working groups for Directed Energy topics within the Department of Navy and the Department of Defense and is an active participant in many professional and conference activities. He previously served as the Chair and Technical Chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) International Pulsed Power Conference, as well as the Technical Chair and Treasurer of the IEEE Power Modulator Conference. Dr. Peterkin has published more than 50 papers in journals and conference proceedings and holds five patents. He is DAWIA SPRDE - SE Level III certified and a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps.

Speaking: October 29 - High-Energy Electromagnetic Weapons Update