The Potomac Institute’s Navigator Awards recognize individuals who have sought bold solutions to national challenges. These leaders – hailing from Congress, the Administration, and the private sector – have striven to improve science and technology policy throughout their careers. They not only work to diagnose the problems of today, but also actively address the demands of the future, allowing our country to operate from a position of confidence, preparedness, and strength.


The Navigator Award is a ship’s gimbaled clock – a device that allowed, in addition to timekeeping, for celestial navigation. Like ships’ captains of old, recipients of a Navigator Award have demonstrated remarkable leadership, audacity, and patriotism. These policy leaders have each made meaningful and enduring contributions to solving national S&T challenges.

This is the Institute’s 12th Navigator Awards ceremony and marks the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Potomac Institute. Past honorees include General Alfred Gray, Jr., former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, (2000); General Keith Alexander, USA, former Director of the National Security Agency, (2006); Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and CEO of Tesla Motors, (2010); Congressman Mike Rogers, former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (2012); and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (2012).

The Navigator Awards Dinner is the premier event for Science and Technology Policy leaders in Washington DC. Attendees include Senior S&T leaders from the Executive branch, Congress, Industry, and the National Security community. The Awards dinner took place at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel in Washington, DC on the evening of Thursday, 8 October 2015.

We are proud to announce the 2015 Navigator Awardees:

The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Congressman Mac Thornberry has represented Texas’ 13th District since 1995, and currently serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services (HASC). Thornberry has been a fervent guardian of our national security and a diligent student of military applications of S&T. His expertise on matters in defense, intelligence, and foreign affairs is extensive and respected. Thornberry has previously served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the Select Committee on Homeland Security. Additionally, the Congressman chaired the Congressional Task Force on Cyber Security in 2011 and 2012. He is currently a leading voice in much-needed defense acquisition reform efforts.

The Honorable Alan Shaffer

Alan Shaffer is currently the Director of the NATO Collaboration Support Office, where he is responsible for coordinating and synchronizing science and technology in the alliance. Shaffer has served his country for over four decades, including a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force. After retiring from the military, Shaffer was appointed to the Senior Executive Service, filling positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Prior to accepting his present position, he was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) for eight years, beginning in 2007. Six of those eight years were spent as Acting ASD(R&E). During that time, Shaffer oversaw $25 billion per year in the DoD’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs.

Dr. David Brin

Dr. David Brin is an eclectic and visionary science fiction writer and futurist. A scientist by training, Brin holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California at San Diego and was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Several of Brin’s award-winning novels are New York Times best sellers. As a futurist, his books often construct unconventional settings and raise serious questions about the nature of humanity, the fate of Earth, and other cosmic considerations. Dating to the 1980s, Brin’s works have eerily and perceptively foreshadowed topics like climate change, the Internet, and cyber security in the digital age.

Please join the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in congratulating this year’s Navigator Awardees. For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 702-525-0770.

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Arlington, VA 22203
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Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.

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