Dr. Jessica Schafer

Director, Capabilities and Resource Integration
Jessica Shafer

Dr. Jessica Schafer serves in a dual capacity as a full-time Department of Army Civilian and a part-time U.S. Air Force Individual Reservist. She has over 19 years of experience as a Department of Defense space and acquisition professional encompassing defense acquisitions; financial planning, programming, budgeting, and execution systems and processes; program management; tactical execution, operational strategy/planning, and strategic/international negotiations and policy for space systems; and staff support within a Major Command and a Unified Combatant Command.

In her current full-time role, she leads a multi-disciplinary and generational civilian, military, and contractor team in assessing “good ideas” at high technology readiness levels in their relevance to the Army and Joint Warfighters. She frequently serves on U.S. government hiring panels and mentors junior-through-newly graduated interns from the University of Colorado as they rotate through her team to gain invaluable work experience.

In her part-time role, she leads Command-wide innovation and decision-making processes by straying from standard “Military Decision-Making Processes—MDMP” towards industry-forward Design Thinking models to “fight a war not yet fought in space.” She is responsible for identifying Design Thinking and innovative thought process instruction (e.g., highly-qualified expert instructors, guest honoraria, Commander reading lists, etc.) for the dozens of executive Command leaders so that they ideate more broadly than MDMP allows. She leads the incorporation of these Design Thinking-based ideas into Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) systems. In addition, she tackles major Air Force projects highlighted by the overhaul of Individual Reservist (IR) policy and design of the program to match IRs’ nonmilitary competencies in meeting Active Duty’s demand signal (the “Comprehensive IR Strategic Review”).

Jessica earned her BS in aerospace engineering from The University of Arizona, MBA from The University of Colorado, and DBA from Walden University.

Top Goals for Mentoring:

  • Help mentees learn and grow from their peers through group discussions
  • Help mentees develop professional and life skills
  • Help mentees gain career skills for their industry of interest