David E. Swanson

Associate Professor Wargaming Department
Col., U.S. Air Force, Retired
David E. Swanson faculty profile


Professor David Swanson is an accomplished space expert with degrees in electrical engineering, space operations and military arts. A retired Air Force Colonel, Professor Swanson has experience in both the military and commercial industry developing and maintaining a full range of space systems to include technical expertise in satellite buses, payloads, launch vehicles, missiles, ground control systems, user equipment and ground sensors. The missions he's mastered span communications, precision navigation and timing, space lift, space situational awareness, space control, missile warning, missile defense, weather monitoring, satellite command and control and land-based strategic deterrence.

Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

  • Aerospace

Professional Highlights


Associate Professor, Wargaming Department, NWC

Provides support of war gaming research, teaching, and advising activities. Subject Matter Expert in Space Systems acquisition and operations.

Senior Director, Safety and Mission Assurance, Northrop Grumman

Led Mission Assurance, Quality and Environmental, Health and Safety. Managed Executive Readiness Reviews assessing program readiness. Program manager of the Asteroid Retrieval Robotic Mission study, FA Lead on the Antares Mishap Investigation Board, Chair, Google Lunar X Prize Judging Panel.

Director of Engineering & Chief Systems Engineer, Space and Missile Systems Center, USAF, El Segundo, CA

Led a directorate with a $40+M budget as the technical authority in a system development Center. Sets policy, judged conformance, assesses risk of products. Support the development of cutting edge space, ground, and launch systems. Human Capital Manager for 600+ scientists/engineers.


Dr. Phil., George Mason University, In Progress, Computational Sciences and Informatics

Seminar, Air War College, 2005

M.A., Air Force Air University, 2000, Military Arts & Sciences

Residence, Air Command and Staff College, 2000

Seminar, Air Command and Staff College, 1999

M.S., University of Colorado, 1993, Electrical Engineering, Thesis: “Using Object-Oriented Design to Simulate a Massively Parallel Architecture of Neurons.”

Squadron Officers School, 1993

M.S., Air Force Institute of Technology , 1992, Operations Research, Space Ops, Thesis: “Retinal Modeling: Segmenting Motion from Spatio-Temporal Inputs using Neural Networks.”

C.V. or Resume

Related Credentials

Program Management: Acquisition Professional Development Program (APDP) Level III

Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering (SPRDE): Acquisition Professional Development Program (APDP) Level III

Test and Evaluation: Acquisition Professional Development Program (APDP) Level I

Awards and Decorations

Legion of Merit

Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Two Medals

Air Force Meritorious Service Medal
Two Medals

Air Force Commendation Medal

Joint Service Achievement Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal

Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Three Awards

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
Two Awards

Combat Readiness Medal

National Defense Service Medal
Two Medals

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal

AF Longevity Service
Six Times

Safety Professional of the Year, JJ Keller and Associates

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