Jennifer A. Watson

Jennifer A. Watson Portrait Headshot

Dr. Jennifer A Watson is head of the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In this role she oversees research and development for key mission areas including homeland security, transportation safety and efficiency, and energy systems and architectures for national security. Key technologies include artificial intelligence for decision support, integrated software architectures, multimodal sensing, and unmanned air vehicles.

Watson joined the Laboratory in 1997 as an associate technical staff member in the Surveillance Techniques Group and began her career developing antenna systems for complex communication environments, with a focus on modeling, development, and field testing. Upon completing her doctoral degree in 2003, she became involved in undersea surveillance work, developing adaptive signal processing approaches for underwater acoustic systems. She combined propagation phenomenology and sensing architectures with novel signal processing techniques to develop and transition capabilities for U.S. Navy programs.

In 2008, Watson transitioned to the Airborne Radar Systems and Techniques Group and was appointed assistant leader in 2010 and leader in 2013. During this time, she led several programs focused on advanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities for ground and maritime surveillance, including adaptive detection and artificial intelligence–enabled exploitation. Under her leadership, the group developed and fielded a series of test beds, including a multichannel Airborne Radar Test Bed to support the development and prototyping of airborne ground surveillance capabilities. In 2020, Watson was promoted to Assistant Head in the ISR and Tactical Systems Division, where she built collaborations across many of the Laboratory’s divisions to develop a portfolio of programs focused on analysis and technologies in support of Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

Watson is invested in cultivating a strong culture of innovation and is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion across the Laboratory. She currently serves as the Executive Sponsor for the Lincoln Laboratory Hispanic/Latinx Network employee resource group.

Watson holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a PhD degree in ocean engineering from MIT.