William J. Donnelly III
Dr. William J. Donnelly III is an assistant head of the Air, Missile, and Maritime Defense Technology Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Donnelly previously served as an assistant head of the Space Systems and Technology Division, which applies advanced technology to challenges in the space control, environmental monitoring, and persistent surveillance mission areas. Donnelly was a principal contributor to the initiative to define the strategic vision for Lincoln Laboratory's space control portfolio, which includes programs in threat system analysis, advanced concepts and technologies, sensor operations and tactics development, small satellite platforms, cogent decision support tools, and novel information integration.
Donnelly joined Lincoln Laboratory in 1998 as a technical staff member in the Tactical Defense Systems Group, working with the Airborne Countermeasures Test System team. He then completed a five-year tour at the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, supporting the radar modernization program and space surveillance operations. From 2005 to 2007, he was embedded as a technical advisor with the operational space control community in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Upon his return to the Laboratory, he was promoted to Assistant Leader and then Associate Leader of the Space Situational Awareness Group, focusing on the development of advanced space-based systems and the utilization of nontraditional sensors to develop next-generation space situational awareness capabilities. From 2009 to 2013, Donnelly led the Space Systems Analysis Group, which conducted definitive analyses of the national security space enterprise to inform senior leaders on the architectural landscape in a cost-constrained and increasingly contested environment.
He earned PhD and BS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he designed, built, and operated airborne radar systems to remotely measure hurricane surface winds. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, he completed more than 30 hurricane eye-wall reconnaissance flights.