David Whelan

David Whelan Picture

Professor of Practice, UC San Diego

VP Engineering, CTO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security (Ret)

Dr. David A. Whelan is a Professor of Practice at University of California, San Diego in the Jacobs School of Engineering, Electronic and Computer Engineering Department. His research focuses on research, development,
engineering and testing of complex systems. He also serves on outside public and private boards. He serves as a pro-bono member of the National Academies NRC Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences Board (DEPS); the Intelligence Community Studies Board(ICSB); and most recently completed 6 years of service as the Vice-Chair of the Air Force Studies Board(AFSB) and as a member of the Defense Science Board (DSB) for the Office of Secretary of Defense.

Dr. Whelan retired from The Boeing Company in January of 2017, as the Vice President, Engineering for Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). Dr. Whelan had broad responsibility to create, seek out, and explore new technology and business growth vectors for The Boeing Company. Boeing's technology and systems span a wide range of government missions ranging from space and airborne systems to ground systems to undersea systems. While at Boeing, Dr. Whelan served as a member of the Board of Directors for HRL Laboratories for 11 years, the legacy research and development laboratory of the former Hughes Aircraft Company, an LLC jointly owned by Boeing and GM. He served as a member of the Board of Boeing’s Madrid Research and Technology Center. His Boeing career included positions as Vice President, Strategy and Innovation; VP & Chief Scientist, BDS; Vice President, Boeing Corporate Business Development and Strategy; and Vice President-General Manager and Deputy to the President of Boeing Phantom Works (the $2.5B per annum advanced research and development organization of The Boeing Company). He began his career with Boeing as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Space and Communications Group (S&C), which included the former Hughes Space and Communication business.

Before joining Boeing, Dr. Whelan served as Director of the Tactical Technology Office (SES-5) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where his line management responsibilities included all aspects research, development, fiscal and execution. During his early career, he worked at Hughes Electronics, the Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); beginning his career at Northrop where he was one of the key designers of the B-2 Stealth Bomber and contributed to the YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter.

Dr. Whelan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Physical Society, fellow of the AIAA and fellow of the IEEE. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Physics from UCLA; he received his B.A. from UCSD. He has numerous publications on electromagnetic radiation, laser plasma phenomena and defense systems. He holds over 75 US patents on navigation systems, radar systems, antenna, and low-observable technology. He is also the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medals for Outstanding Public Service (1998) and Meritorious Civil Service (2001) and the Secretary of Air Force Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service (2008).