Henry S. “Hank” McDevitt, Jr., became the Deputy to the Commander for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) on October 1, 2014. In this position, he serves as the chief operations officer for ERDC providing strategic oversight, management and policy direction to ERDC’s Installation Operations Command (IOC) and supporting the Commander on all civilian matters in the Commander’s absence. The IOC has the responsibility of maintaining and enhancing all of ERDC’s facilities and for business process improvements. The IOC is comprised of two divisions which are made up of the following groups: Security; Safety and Environmental Management Office; the office of Equal Employment Opportunity; Directorate of Public Works; Resource Management; Internal Review; and Public Affairs Office. Mr. McDevitt also has responsibility of coordinating with ERDC partners such as the USACE Logistics Agency; ACE-IT and the ERDC Contracting Office.
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, land and facilities valued at nearly $2 billion and an annual research program exceeding $1 billion. ERDC R&D supports the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, HQ USACE and numerous other agencies involving both military and civil works projects. Business areas include: Geospatial Research and Engineering; Military Engineering; Environmental Quality and Installations; Water Resources and Engineered Resilient Systems. Mr. McDevitt is located at ERDC Headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Mr. 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 in the testing of new structural designs of hardened missile silos subjected to large blast overpressures simulating both conventional and nuclear events. From 1985 to 1988, he served as the lead project engineer on the Defense Nuclear Agency sponsored Advanced Silo Hardness Test Program, where he supervised the fabrication and testing of more than 100 structures.
In September of 1989, Mr. McDevitt transferred to the Explosion Effects Division and began work on military projects such as the anti-tank ditching technology, Tactical Explosive System (TEXS), 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. One of Mr. McDevitt’s primary research thrusts was in the development of a standoff demolition technology the Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP), for Combat Engineers and Special Operations Forces.
In the 1990’s, Mr. McDevitt worked with the U.S. Army Special Operations Community, assisting in component development of the Special Operations Forces Demolition Kit and in developing new demolition techniques. He received two patents, the Department of the Army Research and Development Award, and the Ralph A. Tudor Medal from the American Society of Military Engineers recognizing his accomplishments and contributions to the U.S. Army.
In November 2000, Mr. McDevitt was named Chief of the Impact and Explosion Effects Branch, in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory. In this position he oversaw a 60 member team that conducted research in the areas of weapon penetration mechanics, material property characterization, high-performance computing, and conventional explosive/blast effects.
In 2012, Mr. McDevitt served a three-month assignment as GSL’s Acting Deputy Director. In this capacity he served as the Lab’s operations officer with responsibility for facilities, people, programs, and communication strategies.
Mr. McDevitt earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University. He holds two U.S. Patents for explosive technology and is the recipient The Department of the Army R&D Achievement Award and the ERDC Director’s R&D Achievement Award, the DA Superior Civilian Service Award, the SAME’s Young Engineer of the Year Award, the SAME Ralph A. Tudor Medal and the 2010 ERDC Supervisor of the Year Award. He also was the first recipient of the HQ USACE Award recognizing his accomplishments in recruiting and hiring our wounded warriors. He has published 15 technical reports and several refereed journal articles and is a technical adviser to several U.S. Agencies and military units.