Army Lt. Col. (ret) Philip Root, PhD, was named deputy director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) in June 2019. He continues to manage the Squad X program in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) where he explores the intersection of AI, autonomy, and military operations. His former TTO programs include the Urban Reconnaissance through Supervised Autonomy (URSA), the ALIAS aircrew autonomy program, the Mobile Force Protection counter-UAS program, the Underminer tactical tunneling program, and the DSO Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. He maintains responsibility for the legal, moral, and ethical (LME) analysis of the URSA program as an exemplar for in-depth LME analysis of an autonomous system.
Before coming to DARPA, Root was the director of the Center for Innovation and Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he oversaw cadet and faculty research in support of Army operations. As a research and development officer, Root has deployed to Afghanistan developing and implementing the hardware and software needed to support cloud-based military intelligence analytics. He served two years as an Astronaut Office support engineer at the Johnson Space Center where he had oversight responsibilities for the booster and launch abort system of the Constellation program intended to return Americans to the Moon. Root spent the nearly the first decade of his career as an Apache helicopter pilot in Germany and Korea. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, and he received his Master of Science and doctorate from MIT at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS).
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