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Deputy to the Commander, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center

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Henry S. “Hank” McDevitt Jr. was selected as the Deputy to the Commander for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center October 1, 2014.  In this position, he provides management, policy direction and strategic oversight to ERDC’s Directorate of Enterprise Operations and represents the commander on all civilian matters in the commander’s absence.

ERDC is one of the most diverse research organizations in the world, with seven laboratories located in four states and more than 2,100 employees, $1.2 billion in facilities and an annual program exceeding $2 billion. ERDC R&D supports the Department of Defense and other agencies in military and civilian projects. Principal research mission areas include Soldier support, military installations, environment, water resources and information technology. Mr. McDevitt is located at the facility’s headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

McDevitt began his career at the ERDC Waterways Experiment Station in July 1983 as a research structural engineer in the Structural Mechanics Division.  He was involved with the testing of new structural designs of hardened missile silos subjected to blast overpressures.  From 1985 to 1988, he served as lead project engineer on the Advanced Silo Hardness Test Program, where he supervised the fabrication and testing of more than 100 structures.

In September 1989, McDevitt transferred to the Explosion Effects Division and began work on military projects such as the anti-tank ditching technology, Tactical Explosive System, which allowed controlled creation of anti-tank ditches to create barriers to stop large mechanized units from crossing into U.S.-controlled space in the European Theater.  He also researched development of a standoff demolition technology, the Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP), for combat engineers and Special Operations Forces. 

In the 1990s, McDevitt worked with the U.S. Army Special Operations Community, assisting in component development of the Special Operations Forces Demolition Kit.  He received two patents, the Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Award, and the Ralph A. Tudor Medal from the American Society of Military Engineers during this time.

In November 2000, McDevitt was named chief, Impact and Explosion Effects Branch, in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory.  In this position he oversaw a 60-member team that conducts research in penetration mechanics, material property characterization, high-performance computing, and conventional explosive/blast effects.

In 2012, McDevitt served a three-month assignment as GSL acting deputy director, lab’s operations officer, responsible for facilities, people, programs, and communication strategies.

McDevitt earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University.  He received the ERDC Director’s R&D Achievement Award, the DA Superior Civilian Service Award, the SAME Young Engineer of the Year Award, and the 2010 ERDC Supervisor of the Year Award.  He has published 15 technical reports and several refereed journal articles and is an adviser to several U.S. agencies and military units.