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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Air Force Studies Board
Current Activities

Dr. Joan Fuller


Telephone: 202-334-3455
Dr. Joan Fuller has spent the last 17 years as an advocate and champion of science and technology for the United States Air Force. Throughout her career, her professional and personal successes have been based on the belief that leadership is developed through experiences gained outside of a specific discipline or field. Therefore, she has continually sought out opportunities to tackle new challenges in advancing S&T to create capabilities for the USAF. Because of her experiences – that have ranged from developing S&T policy that shaped the incorporation of technology into today’s Air Force platforms to building an internationally recognized basic research program that has strong operational relevance – she has refined her own unique leadership style and focused on achieving organizational goals through the establishment of durable strategic alliances and long-term cooperative partnerships. It is with this as a framework that she recently assumed her new role as Director for the Air Force Studies Board at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Prior to her current position she served for two years as the Director for Business Integration at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), where she was responsible for a wide range of complex budget and policy issues in the daily execution of AFOSR’s $500M/year budget. This position was “hand-crafted” by the organization’s previous Director to help ensure that an experienced, senior scientific leader was in place to guide the organization through an exceptionally tumultuous period that resulted from a massive reorganization, the FY13 sequester budget drama and the potential relocation of the organization to Dayton, Ohio. Her career with the Air Force started back in 1997 in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering (SAF/AQRT). She was appointed Deputy of the Dual Use S&T Program, a congressionally mandated program totaling over $40 million per year. In addition to the Dual Use Program, she served as the Program Element Monitor for the Air Force Basic Research Sciences Program (then a $210M annual budget) and was responsible for the policy interface between the Air Force and Congress on the Basic Research Sciences Program. After almost three years of crafting S&T policy, Dr. Fuller joined AFOSR as the program manager for the high temperature materials program and for over 10 years successfully led an internationally recognized portfolio focused on materials for use at temperatures above 2000°C in oxidizing environments. In February 2010, she was asked to serve as the Interim Director for AFOSR’s Aerospace and Material Sciences Directorate (RSA). As Director, her goals were leading the discovery of science in the fields of aerospace, chemistry and material sciences and enabling the framework for the successful transition of basic research into the applied research community. During her tenure as RSA Director, she successfully advocated for additional funding and personnel to expand basic research in areas critical to the success of the long-term mission of the Air Force, including neuromorphic computing, alternative fuels, novel chemistries for space propulsion and complex materials for highly stressed environments.