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Ms. Susan J. Thornton is the director of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The Directorate, with more than 800 military and civilian scientists, engineers, contractors and support people and an annual budget exceeding $300 million, provides pervasive, world-class directed energy and imaging research and technologies for users across the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense.

Selected for the Senior Executive Service in January 2007, Ms. Thornton came from the Airborne Laser Program, Aeronautical Systems Center, at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, where she was the director of engineering. She served as the principal technical advisor to the system program director on designing, building, and testing the Air-borne Laser weapon system, a $7 billion program focused on destroying ballistic missiles in the boost phase.

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