Will Roper, the Air Force’s former assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, has been named CEO of a drone company, putting him in a sector he had long tried to court into the defense market.
Roper will lead Volansi, which makes autonomous drones that can carry medium- and heavy-sized payloads.
While working for the Department of Defense, Roper was one of the biggest public advocates for the adoption of emerging technologies into warfighting, often saying that it is critical that the military work more closely with companies developing new tech like drones and machine learning.
“The company’s [vertical take-off and landing] designs are well-suited for a range of commercial and military applications,” Roper said in a release about his new job. “It felt like a natural fit for me to bring my industry knowledge as well as operations and logistics experience to help create disruptive solutions for the transportation of medium to heavy weight payloads. It’s an exciting opportunity.”
Roper had said autonomous drones would be a critical part of the Air Force’s future operations when he was leading the service’s procurement efforts. He spearheaded a drone program called “Skyborg” and others that incorporated the tech.
“Attracting Dr. Roper, first to our Board of Directors and now as CEO, will help us surpass even our most ambitious goals,” founding CEO Hannan Parvizian said in the release. Parvizian will move to be chief technology officer upon Roper’s joining.