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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Zachary Mears

Ohio State University and Battelle have teamed to hire national security expert Zachary Mears for a joint position.

Mears began as assistant vice president for national security and research programs at Ohio State’s Office of Research and as senior advisor at Battelle on August 1, 2016. The position allows him to help the university and Battelle develop and implement a strategic relationship management plan related to national security research.

Mears will lead the expansion of collaborative research projects, scientific and educational programs and business development opportunities at Ohio State to further the collaborative relationship between the university and Ohio-based federal national security programs.

His primary focus will be on the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He will also work to develop teams of internal and external partners to identify major state and federal funding opportunities.

Mears received his Ph.D. in political science from Ohio State in 2009 with a dissertation on “Presidents, the Public, and American Foreign Policy Behavior,” working with Mershon Center director Richard Herrmann. He was Mershon associate in Washington from 2010-12.

Prior to joining Ohio State, Mears served as the deputy chief of staff to the secretary of defense and chief of staff to the deputy secretary of defense. He advised the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on national priorities and managed their implementation.

“Meeting rapid changes in technology capabilities and operational needs requires a creative, informed community of solvers,” said Steve Kelly, Battelle’s senior vice president for contract research. “Zach’s expertise will enhance Battelle’s ability to anticipate and quickly align with America’s national security priorities.”

Ohio State Senior Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre said Mears is a significant hire. “Zach’s expertise and leadership in national security and defense strategy will be invaluable to the university as we move to expand our partnerships across Ohio and with federal national security programs,” she said. “This is another excellent example of Ohio State and Battelle joining forces to align existing capabilities and explore new models for collaboration to strengthen the nation’s research enterprise.”

Mears also served as the director of the Advanced Capability and Deterrence Panel and led the development of the Third Offset Strategy, which aims to identify new organizational and operational concepts and new capabilities to improve the United States’ military advantage. He also advised the Defense Innovation Unit – Experimental, which is building bridges between the Pentagon and the United States’ technology communities in Silicon Valley and Boston.

Prior to these appointments, he served as the director for strategic planning for the National Security Council, where he co-authored the 2015 National Security Strategy. He also worked as a senior defense analyst for Scitor Corporation and as senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton.