Former Air Force tech leader Will Roper joins Pallas Advisors

Will Roper holds an "Ask Me Anything" event online at the Pentagon in September 2020. (DoD / Lisa Ferdinando)

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Former Air Force tech and acquisition leader Will Roper has joined strategic advisory firm Pallas Advisors, the group announced Tuesday.

Roper, who left his role as the assistant secretary for acquisitions, technology and logistics in late January, was one of the military’s biggest boosters of emerging technology, especially artificial intelligence. As a senior counselor, he will continue to work on issues similar to those he led while in government — though his position is only part-time, according to the firm.

“Dr. Roper is widely viewed as one of the Department’s most innovative leaders in recent years and we are excited to welcome him to Pallas Advisors,” Tony DeMartino, a founding partner of the firm, said in a release. “He is well-versed in the challenges our clients face and will add immense value to our mission.”

Pallas Advisors has a slew of former high-ranking officials who serve on its board and as consultants, including Tony Thomas, a former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and Gary Cohn, who was director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Trump. Along with DeMartino, the firm was co-founded by Sally Donnelly who served as a senior adviser to then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. In that capacity, she played a role in building the Pentagon’s relationships in Silicon Valley.

Before he left government, Roper expressed interest in taking a new role in the Biden administration. But as a political appointee, he left government at the end of the Trump administration. He said that his passions lie in pursuing stronger innovation policies that could deter America’s adversaries, especially China.

“Fully unlocking private sector innovation for the military was my passion while serving in government,” Dr. Roper said in a statement. “I am excited to work with the Pallas team to continue this important pursuit.”

Correction: Feb. 17, 2021. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Sally Donnelly worked directly on the Pentagon’s JEDI procurement. 

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Air Force, Department of Defense (DOD), Pallas Advisors, Sally Donnelly, Will Roper
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