Mercury Systems said this week it has named former Office of the Secretary of Defense official William Conley chief technology officer, effective Monday.
"In this role, Dr. Conley will direct and accelerate Mercury's technology vision and leadership in innovative technology that provides state-of-the-art solutions to the aerospace and defense industry," the company said.
Conley previously was a member of the federal senior executive service and director for electronic warfare in OSD.
"In that role, he led the $7 billion annual investment to develop and acquire electronic warfare weapon systems, while also serving as an executive secretary for the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee," Mercury said.
Conley also has worked as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and as a Navy engineer.
In an interview with Inside Defense this week, Conley said his new position will allow him to "get a little bit more hands-on with the technology."
He noted Mercury hasn't had a corporate-level CTO in several years, giving him the opportunity to establish the role and the value of the office.
"There's definitely going to be an evolution in terms of how we get this right," he said.
Conley also noted Mercury makes substantial investments in research and development already and said the CTO should not have full control over the company's internal R&D budget.
However, he said there will be areas where he can push for investments that will cut across business units.
Conley said the IRAD budget is "absolutely critical for Mercury’s future success."