Ellen Purdy

Director, Emerging Capabilities & Prototyping Initiatives & Analysis

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering)

Mrs. Ellen M. Purdy currently serves as the Director, Emerging Capabilities & Prototyping Initiatives & Analysis in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering).  She is responsible for rapid development of fieldable prototypes and capability supporting emerging needs in autonomy, communications, sensing, and electronic warfare.  She leads the Spectrum Access R&D Program and Rapid Innovation Fund Program.  Mrs. Purdy focuses on assessing resilience of  new capabilities against adaptive adversaries. She fosters collaborative engagement with traditional defense industry.

Previously, Mrs. Purdy served as the Enterprise Director, Joint Ground Robotics where she had oversight of the unmanned ground systems portfolio, strategic planning for ground robotics and the annual RDT&E funding for ground robotic technology development. During her tenure, Mrs. Purdy secured Congressional support and Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) approval for a $175M Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the Robotics Technology Consortium.  This unique approach with industry resulted in rapid transition of technologies into a ground robotics inventory that grew from under 1000 systems to over 6000 during her tenure.

Mrs. Purdy has a University of South Florida BS degree in Chemical Engineering, and George Washington University Masters degree in Engineering Management.  She has served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; an elected member of the City of Manassas School Board; an elected member of the Board of Directors, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); and the Board of Advisors, Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University.  Her awards include two Superior Civilian Service Award medals, two Commander’s Award for Civilian Service medals, and the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.  Mrs. Purdy has authored over 20 published technical and journal reports, and periodical articles.