Homeland research agency gets its first director

David Bolka, a scientist, technology manager and Navy veteran, has been named to be the first director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Congress created HSARPA in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to function as the external research funding arm of the Homeland Security Department.

The House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee boosted the budget for the Science and Technology Directorate, which includes HSARPA, to $900 million in preliminary action this summer, but the final budget has not been approved. The Bush administration had requested $97 million less for the directorate. (Click for June 23 GCN story)

Bolka worked for Lucent Technologies as vice president of special projects, vice president of utility solutions, director of first office applications and radio performance, and product director of utility billing. In the latter job, he worked in the areas of billing systems and wireless software systems as well as hardware platforms, DHS said. He has also worked for AT&T Corp.'s Bell Laboratories and the Naval Sea Systems Command as a major project manager for submarine combat systems. Bolka retired from the Navy in 1986 after a 26-year career there.

He will report to Charles McQueary, undersecretary for science and technology at DHS.

Bolka holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in marine geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in engineering acoustics from Pennsylvania State University.

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