DARPA taps former manager to lead joint systems initiative

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has named a retired colonel to direct its new Joint Systems Management Office. Michael S. Francis will take over the new office next Monday.

In the post, Francis will lead the Defense Department's effort to develop and demonstrate a joint unmanned combat air system. His staff is made up of DARPA, Air Force and Navy personnel.

Francis was hired from Lockheed Martin Corp. where he worked as director of technical integration, corporate engineering and technology. He previously worked as a DARPA program manager and started the agency's Unmanned Tactical Aircraft program in 1994, which today is known as the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System program.

Francis also developed DOD's first integrated air-space surveillance architecture at the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office and managed several space systems at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

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