James J. Thompson

Director of Major Program Support at Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering

James J. Thompson

Mr. Thompson serves as the Director of Major Program Support (MPS) within ODASD(SE). In this capacity, Mr. Thompson leads program systems engineering planning and execution for major defense and software-intensive systems. MPS specialties include Systems Engineering Plan development, Program Support Assessments, and Systemic Root Cause Analysis. A member of the Senior Executive Service, Mr. Thompson has more than 25 years of experience in the Department of Defense. Before his current position, he served in the Systems and Software Engineering (SSE) Directorate as Program Support Team Lead for Fixed Wing Aircraft, Air Launched Weapons, and Space Programs. Before joining SSE, Mr. Thompson served in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, where he was responsible for precision tactical and strategic weapons. In this role, he assessed manufacturing, industrial base capability, and defense mergers and acquisitions. During his tenure, the production of precision-guided munitions increased significantly in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also has worked in OSD/Strategic and Tactical Warfare (Air Warfare), addressing aircraft, Cost as an Independent Variable policy, and international cooperation. Mr. Thompson began his career in 1984 in research and development at the Naval Air Development Center, focusing on alloy development and corrosion properties of high-strength aluminum and steel. He then served from 1989 to 2000 at the Naval Air Systems Command, participating in the design, manufacture, and sustaining engineering for numerous aircraft and weapons, including F/A-18E/F and the Joint Strike Fighter, with emphasis in composites and survivability. Mr. Thompson earned a bachelor of science degree in Metallurgy from Penn State University and a master of Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a 1995 graduate of the Program Managers Course at Defense Systems Management College and a Level III certified acquisition professional. He has been a member of and led two teams recognized with the Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award.


Meeting the DoD's Acquisition Challenges With CMMI V2.0

Opening Keynote followed by moderated discussion and Q&A on topics including challenges such as:

  • Frequent schedule and cost overruns
  • Unpredictability of software performance and quality
  • Selection of contractors based on proven performance
  • Creating the “Software Factory” concept (making software boring again)
  • Agile doesn’t mean “lack of discipline”


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