Dr. David Burns, Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration


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Dr. David Burns is the Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.  Dr. Burns manages the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program (LDEP) and the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiatives.

Prior to his Headquarters detail, Dr. Burns served as the Manager of the Science and Technology Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Named to the position in January 2017, he leads the organization that plans, develops and executes a broad range of science and technology investigations, programs, projects and activities in support of NASA’s science, technology and exploration goals. The office also leads the pursuit of new opportunities and partnerships with industry and other government agencies. Dr. Burns oversees an annual budget of more than $300 million and manages a diverse, highly technical workforce of civil service and contractor employees.

Prior to joining NASA, Dr. Burns was Director of Science and Technology at the U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency, where he led teams that developed directed energy systems, conducted university and small business research, and modeled new missile defense capabilities.

Dr. Burns served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, including assignments in the Pentagon and London, England, where he was Technical Director of the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development.

Dr. Burns holds a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio; a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton in Ohio; and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellows Program.  His awards include the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.