Karen M. St. Germain, PhD
Director, Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning
Dr. Karen St. Germain serves as the Director of the Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS). She leads enterprise-level mission architecture development and systems engineering to enable NESDIS to become a flexible, stable and responsive civil space agency in support of NOAA’s mission. Dr. St. Germain is a leader in enterprise-level planning and multi-organizational programs of national significance. She is also an expert in major systems acquisition, with particular proficiency in transitioning new technology into operational systems.
Dr. St. Germain developed a deep understanding of the NESDIS mission as NOAA’s lead for all aspects of system performance during the development of the successful Suomi-NPP system, from 2006 to 2011. In 2011, Dr. St. Germain accepted a position in the Space, Strategic and Intelligence Systems (SSI) Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OUSD AT&L). There, Dr. St. Germain designed and led the successful DoD 2014 Strategic Portfolio Review for Space to develop a strategy and implementation plan for adapting to evolving challenges in the space domain. Dr. St. Germain also led the Remote Sensing and Prompt Strike Division within SSI, where she was responsible for acquisition shaping and oversight of DoD strategic missile warning and space-based environmental monitoring portfolio, and the Program Director of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike Program.
Prior to her work on operational systems, Dr. St. Germain had a successful research career at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Nebraska, and the Naval Research Laboratory. Her research took her to the Arctic and Antarctic on ice-breakers, through hurricanes and tropical storms on NOAA’s P-3s, and on a snowmobile traverse of the Greenland ice sheet. She and her colleagues developed and successfully transitioned a new space-based ocean surface wind vector observation technique from airborne proof of concept to the WindSat Coriolis space borne demonstration.
Dr. St. Germain holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Union College (1987) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (1993). She is also a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, National Defense University where she earned a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy in 2013.