Dr. William LaPlante
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Center for National Security
Dr. William A. LaPlante is Senior Vice President and General Manager for MITRE's Center for National Security. CNS includes two of MITRE’s federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs)— the National Security Engineering Center (NSEC) and the National Cybersecurity FFRDC. In this role, Dr. LaPlante is accountable for increasing MITRE’s strategic value across the company’s U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), intelligence, and cybersecurity portfolios.
He previously served as vice president of the Intelligence Portfolio in the NSEC. In this role, Dr. LaPlante led key initiatives in support of the nation's intelligence community.
Dr. LaPlante has more than 30 years of experience in defense technology, most recently as assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. During his three years in that position, Dr. LaPlante led the $43 billion Air Force acquisition enterprise budget, bringing it into alignment with the greater Air Force vision and strategy. Under his leadership, the Air Force reaped nearly $6 billion in "should-cost" savings – the investment of these savings resulted in greater capability for our nation's warfighters. In recognition of his outstanding performance, the Air Force Association awarded Dr. LaPlante the W. Stuart Symington Award for the most significant contribution by a civilian in the field of national defense. In November 2015, the Air Force bestowed on him its Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest honor it bestows on a civilian employee. And in 2016, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program presented him with the General James Doolittle Award, in recognition of his contributions to U.S. air power.
Prior to entering public service in 2013, he was MITRE's Missile Defense portfolio director. During this time, Dr. LaPlante was appointed to the Defense Science Board (DSB), where he co-chaired a study on enhancing the adaptability of U.S. military forces. He has resumed his participation in the DSB, where he advises top Department of Defense leadership on critical scientific and technological topics related to the effectiveness of the nation's military forces.
Before joining MITRE, he was the department head for Global Engagement at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). In that role he was responsible for all of APL's work supporting offensive military capabilities. He was also a member of the APL Executive Council.
He holds a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University of Illinois, a master's degree in applied physics from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Catholic University of America.