Dr. Richard Van Atta is currently an adjunct research staff member in the Strategy, Forces and Resources Division of the of the Institute for Defense Analyses, having been a senior research analyst at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) of the Institute for Defense Analyses, from 2006 until mid-2011. Before joining STPI, Dr. Van Atta served on the research staff of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Studies and Analyses Center (SAC) (1983-2006) first in the Science and Technology Division and then in the Strategy, Forces and Resources Division.
At IDA his work has focused on the technological needs and interests of the United States as they affect both national and economic security for multiple organizations including the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House and within the Department of Defense, chiefly in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Currently at IDA, Dr. Van Atta is conducting research on Industry Research and Development Management. At STPI Dr. Van Atta managed and conducted research in such areas as
- Future Directions of U.S. Manufacturing—Studies for OSTP, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
- Policy and Technological Implications of Adhering to the Ottawa Convention Banning Anti-personnel Mines for OSTP and National Security Council (NSC)
- Assessment of Economic and Technological Issues concerning the NEXTGEN aviation technology program for OSTP
- Analyses of emerging technologies for OSTP and NIST – including nanotechnology, microelectronics, biotechnology, alternative energy
- Assessment of issues concerning the US industrial and technology base including implications of export controls on US commercial satellite industry and the status of the US rocket engine industrial base.
At IDA he managed many diverse, multidisciplinary tasks, ranging up to $3 million in scale. On several occasions Dr, Van Atta led cross-divisional research teams on such topics as Small-Unit Precision Combat for Attacking Elusive Targets in Complex Terrain, the Role of Science and Technology for Development Organizations, and assessments of the programs and development strategies of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Van Atta conducted several studies of the US microelectronics industry, including support for the Defense Science Board study that led to the founding of SEMATECH.
From 1993 to 1998, Dr. Van Atta was an official in the Department of Defense (on temporary assignment from IDA), first as Special Assistant for Dual Use Technology Policy then as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Dual Use and Commercial Programs. His responsibilities included developing and overseeing the implementation of the Dual Use Technology Strategy and managing the Defense Production Act Title III Program under Secretary of Defense Perry and USD(AT&L) Kaminski.
He also is an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program where is has taught a course on Emerging Technologies and Security every semester since 2005.
He taught courses in national security and policy analysis at the American University’s School of International Service followed by several years of private consulting.
Dr. Van Atta has a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a PhD in political science from Indiana University.