Dr. Lara Schmidt is the vice president of Defense Architectures and Integration in the Defense Systems Group at The Aerospace Corporation, the nation’s federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the space enterprise. She leads the company’s activities to integrate the nation’s space capabilities to deliver war-winning advantage for joint military warfighters. To fulfill this objective, Schmidt leads the corporation’s support to the U.S. Space Command and two of the United States Space Force’s field commands—Space Operations Command and Space Training and Readiness Command. Her portfolio also includes the Space Warfare Analysis Center; the Space Security and Defense Program; several intelligence community organizations, including the National Space Intelligence Center; and several rapid acquisition organizations.
Since joining Aerospace in 2019, Schmidt’s previous roles include associate general manager of the Communications and Navigation Capabilities Division and principal director of Project West Wing (the Strategic and Global Awareness Directorate). Prior to joining Aerospace, Schmidt served in several leadership positions at the RAND Corporation, including associate director of Project AIR FORCE and program director roles in FFRDCs serving the Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security. Throughout her career, Schmidt has focused on national security issues including: cybersecurity; positioning, navigation, and timing; warfighting effectiveness; defense science and technology; air operations; space operations; and space warfighting.
Schmidt received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Shepherd College, a master’s degree in mathematics from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the American University.
Awards and Honors
Schmidt received the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Award for Exceptional Public Service, the Carlucci Award, and two President’s Awards from RAND.
Schmidt is the vice chair of the Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, a SECDEF-appointed position. She has held leadership positions with the American Statistical Association, including serving as the chair of the Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security. She serves as a referee for several technical journals, and is on the Advisory Board of the Harvard Data Science Review.