Dr. Wallace E. Kirkpatrick

Dr. Wallace E. (Wally) Kirkpatrick joined the Army Missile Development Team at Redstone Arsenal in 1958. He was selected in 1967 for assignment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, after which he returned to missile defense development work at Redstone Arsenal in 1969 as the Deputy Director, U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Defense Advanced Technology Center, the organization that led the development of missile defense hit-to-kill advanced technologies. He was selected in 1979 as a Congressional Science Fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He served on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, U.S. Senate. He left Civil Service in 1982.

Beginning in 1969, Dr. Kirkpatrick served as Deputy Director of the Concept Definition group that formulated system concept requirements, including life-cycle costs and schedules, for the first non-nuclear hit-to-kill missile defense system to defend hardened targets against a massive intercontinental ballistic missile attack from the Soviet Union. In 1972, he served as a member of the Army Team in an Army-Air Force competition to select the lead service to conduct a non-nuclear hit-to-kill prototype demonstration program to defend the U.S. land-based Intercontinental Range Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) deployed in hardened silos against a massive, structured attack by the Soviet Union. The Army was selected to pursue the program.

Dr. Kirkpatrick’s vision and leadership was instrumental in a historical shift in U.S. National Security Policy and force structure from exclusive reliance on offensive nuclear weapons for deterrence to a balanced offense and defense policy and force structure that included defending the United States, its interests abroad, and allies against the threat of nuclear attack. Having observed an unrelenting proliferation of nuclear weapons by the U.S. and its adversaries for an extended period, Dr. Kirkpatrick postulated that the only way to reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons was to reduce their value. Active missile defense based on the then-maturing non-nuclear hit-to-kill missile defense technologies offered realistic and cost-effective missile defense capabilities.

Dr. Kirkpatrick conceived and led, beginning in the mid-1970s, a six-year research initiative concerning strategic missile defense. He sponsored funded research, commissioned scholarly articles by leading strategic policy experts, and convened eleven separate symposia that brought together the leading strategic thinkers in the free world to reassess the role of active missile defense in the context of the emerging strategic environment.

His pioneering work earned him the Gnosis (Greek Goddess of Knowledge) award for the most outstanding research and writing on Strategic Thought. The award was presented in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980, with prominent researchers and members of the U.S. House of Representatives in attendance. His work provided important input into President Reagan’s Star Wars speech in March 1982 in which the President called for development of active missile defense capabilities. Today, the U.S. has capable missile defense systems deployed to protect the U.S., its interests abroad, and our allies. Since 1982, significant reductions in nuclear weapons have been achieved by agreement between the U.S. and Russia.

Upon leaving Civil Service, Dr. Kirkpatrick founded DESE Research, Inc., with a focus on technical excellence and innovation. DESE has contributed to almost every major DoD missile defense program and many other key programs over the last 29+ years and has grown to over 100 people with a presence in several states. The Company and its employees have received numerous recognitions and awards and are widely recognized for qualityperformance and exceptional community support. Dr. Kirkpatrick is a highly respected community leader and advisor to members of Congress.