Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Alan J. McLaughlin

Alan J. McLaughlin
Member of the Board of Visitors


In 1992 McLaughlin was appointed assistant director and subsequently was responsible for advanced electronic technology, air traffic control and surface surveillance mission areas. Since 2000 he has been a consultant for strategic planning and advanced technology.

Professional Experience

From 1960-1967 McLaughlin was involved in several small and medium-sized companies. From 1960-1962 he was a project engineer with Contronics, Inc., engaged in the design and development of automatic test equipment. He joined the engineering staff of Deco Electronics, Inc. in 1962 where he designed digital communications equipment. In 1965 he joined General Instrument where he was involved with the design of sonar systems.

From 1967-2000 he served in a number of responsible positions at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Initially, McLaughlin designed special purpose digital processors for anti-jam communications systems and later, high-speed signal processors. He established a laboratory for the investigation of GaAs laser diodes and participated in the design of an optical communications system. In 1972 he joined the Education Technology Group and was responsible for the design of computer-aided training systems; in 1974 he was appointed leader of the group. In 1975 he was appointed associate head of the Computer Technology Division and a member of the Lincoln Laboratory steering committee. In 1978 he was appointed head of the division with responsibility for programs in speech, radar, seismic and image signal processing, computer networks, digital process technology, digital integrated circuits and machine intelligence technology.

Professional Affiliations

  • Special Assistant to the director, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Visiting scientist, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Member, Aptec Consulting Group.

For more than 20 years he has served as an advisor to the Department of Defense:

  • 1978 - Air Force steering committee for advanced computer technology planning
  • 1980/81 - National Academy of Science study on modernization of Air Force computerized administrative support systems
  • 1984/85 - senior advisory committee to the director of DARPA in the area of information processing
  • 1986/present - DARPA information and science and technology study group; co-chairman 1988/1990; chairman 1990/1991

National Research Council Committees:

  • 1991/92 - modernization of the Worldwide Military Command and Control System
  • 1994/95 - future technologies for Army multi-media communications
  • 2002/02 - Army unmanned ground vehicle technology

Air Force Scientific Advisory Study
1993 - information architecture

Defense Science Board Studies:

  • 1994/95 - acquiring software commercially
  • 1996 - defensive information warfare
  • 1996/97 - aviation safety
  • 1997/98 - military excess and surplus material
  • 1999 - DARPA investment strategy
  • 2000 - defensive information operations

McLaughlin has also served on various boards and committees:

  • National Defense Industry Association Science and Engineering Technology committee
  • Federally Funded Research and Development Centers Chief Technology Officer Committee
  • MIT Endicott House Board of Governors
  • Minuteman Technical High School Telecommunications Advisory Board
  • Physical Sciences, Inc. Board of Directors


McLaughlin received a BS and MS degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University in 1957 and 1959. During 1959-60 he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Laboratory, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service.