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Karen S. Burrows
Technical Director (Acting)
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division/Executive Director, Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity/Deputy for Weapons Safety, Naval Sea Systems Command

Karen S. Burrows
Karen S. Burrows

Ms. Karen Burrows currently serves the U.S. Navy in several capacities. She is acting Technical Director for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD). She also serves as the Executive Director of the Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA) and the Deputy for Weapons Safety, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEASYSCOM). In this capacity, she provides executive, technical and scientific direction for all ordnance surety programs assigned to NOSSA and is the NAVSEASYSCOM Technical Warrant Holder for Weapons Systems and Ordnance – Explosives Safety and Security. Ms. Burrows also serves as chair Department of the Navy’s Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board (WSESRB) which provides oversight for safety compliance of all Navy and Marine Corps munitions, ordnance items, weapons and combat systems prior to fielding to operating forces.


Ms. Burrows was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in April 2012 with 29 years of Service in the Department of Defense. From 2010 to 2012 Ms. Burrows concurrently held two positions at the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) as the Deputy Administrator and Chief Information Officer responsible for the operational provision of scientific and technical information.

Prior to her assignment at DTIC, from 2008 to 2010 she served as the Director of the Emerging Capabilities Division of the Rapid Reaction Technology Office in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) where she was responsible for developing, maturing and transitioning technologies supporting border security, surveillance and maritime domain awareness missions through partnerships with the Services and other Federal departments.


In 2006 Ms. Burrows was assigned as a Special Assistant to the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Department of Defense. In this assignment, she led the inaugural prize, Wearable Power, a public competition to award prizes for technology achievements.

Ms. Burrows began her career at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division where she held several key technical and managerial positions to include: Project Engineer, Mine Countermeasures; Program Manager for Insensitive Munitions and Thermobaric Programs in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; and Director, Technology Division. Her experience spans the areas of energetic materials, insensitive munitions and weapons research, development, test and evaluation.


Ms. Burrows is the recipient of the Department of Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Navy Meritorious Unit award and is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She has authored numerous technical publications and is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community. Ms. Burrows holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.


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