CAMBRIDGE, MA—In recognition of the evolving challenges to defense and national security, this year’s U.S. government budget for research and development of new capabilities and technologies added almost $3B over last year. Highlighted areas include autonomous systems, resilient navigation & communication and cybersecurity. At the same time, global interest and investments in space-based opportunities continue to rise—in 2016, the commercial space industry invested nearly five times more money than the U.S. government. Positioning Draper to best contribute within these markets, Jennifer Jensen is set to become the new Vice President, National Security & Space (NS&S), effective March 16, 2018.
“As drivers of innovation, public and private R&D investments are essential to strong economic growth,” explained Draper President and CEO Kaigham J. Gabriel. “Draper’s engineering developments leverage the intersection of these investments—drawing from both government and commercial sectors as it develops entirely new capabilities for its customers that surpass what either sector delivers on its own. Jennifer is the ideal leader to pursue opportunities in defense, national security and space, as well as for crossover, breakthrough innovations.”
Jensen joins Draper from Sierra Nevada Corporation, where she was vice president of business development for communications, navigation and surveillance systems. In that role, she built and sustained relationships across the U.S. Defense Department as well as commercial markets, which delivered nearly $1B in new orders for the company. Additionally, she transitioned several product lines from the military to the commercial market.
According to Jensen, “Joining Draper offers me an opportunity to enhance the company’s relationships across government and commercial sectors. I am excited about proliferating Draper’s advanced capabilities to help solve the world’s most challenging and complex issues.”
Jensen began her career in the U.S. Army, where she broke gender barriers as the first woman distinguished honor graduate of flight school and one of the first women to transition to combat aircraft. She rose through the ranks rapidly and left active duty as a colonel. During her final position in the military at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, she was responsible for the acquisition, implementation and interoperability of state-of-the-art aviation technology into existing and future Army aviation manned and unmanned aircraft.