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Dr. Zachary Mears helps companies in the aerospace, defense, and national security sector navigate policy and regulatory challenges involving the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch. A non-lawyer, Dr. Mears has extensive experience in U.S. national security and defense strategy, planning, and resourcing, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense. His substantive areas of expertise include strategic planning, risk assessment and management, and advanced technologies.

While serving in the U.S. Department of Defense, Dr. Mears advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on national priorities and managed their implementation. He also served as the director of the Advanced Capability and Deterrence Panel and led the development of the Third Offset Strategy, which aims to identify new organizational and operational concepts and new capabilities to improve the United States’ military advantage. Dr. Mears also advised the Defense Innovation Unit–Experimental, which is building bridges between the Pentagon and the high technology centers in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin.

  • Provided strategic advice and advocacy support before Congress to a prime U.S. subsidiary of a non-U.S. defense contractor on matters involving ground combat vehicles.
  • Advised a non-U.S. defense company on its legislative and executive branch strategy in its bid for a major U.S. Air Force weapons acquisition program.
  • Advised the U.S. subsidiary of an Israeli defense company on its strategy to contribute to the U.S. Army’s high-priority efforts to equip its combat vehicles with active protection systems.
  • Advised the CEO of a U.S. defense company on defense policy issues, in order to help the company align its key innovation initiatives with U.S. government priorities.
  • Provided strategic advice and advocacy support to Northrop Grumman Corporation in its bid for a $50 billion contract to build the Air Force’s new bomber, known as the B-21. This was the Pentagon’s largest procurement award of the decade and is one of the military’s most consequential modernization programs.
  • Advised non-traditional defense companies on how to gain access to the defense market and understand the defense policy and budget-making processes and procedures.
  • Assisted defense and non-traditional defense companies with strategic messaging and engagement with senior leaders in DoD and on Capitol Hill.
  • Advised private equity, investment bank, telecommunications, transportation, robotics, and cybersecurity companies in filings and negotiations with Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Defense Security Service.

Previous Experience

  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense; Chief of Staff, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council, White House
  • Senior Defense Analyst, Scitor Corporation
  • Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
  • Department of the Army Distinguished Public Service Award (2017)
  • Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award (2016)
  • Department of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award (2015)