Gene McCall, PhD

About This Member:

Dr. McCall completed an assignment as the Chief Scientist with Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado in 2003. He has now retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Laboratory Fellow. As the AFSPC chief scientist, he provided information, advice and guidance on operations research and scientific matters and initiates, prosecutes and evaluates substantive programs on defending America through its space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations – vital force elements in projecting Global Reach and Global Power. The AFSPC mission areas include launching satellites and other high-value payloads into space and operating those satellites; ensuring friendly use of space by conducting counterspace operations encompassing surveillance, negation and protection; providing weather, communications, intelligence, missile warning and navigation, and maintaining and operating a rapid response, land-based ICBM force.

At Los Alamos, he is a Laboratory Fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the University of California and is Past Chairman of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. He joined the Laboratory as a Staff Member in 1969. At Los Alamos he was one of the founders of the Inertial Fusion Program, and participated in laser and plasma physics research.

He and a small group of collaborators designed and built the first high power Nd:Glass laser to be used for fusion research at Los Alamos. For a time that laser was the world’s highest power laser. From 1980-1982, he was leader of the Laser Division at Los Alamos.

Dr. McCall was awarded the prestigious E. O. Lawrence Award for contributions to National Security in 1988. This award is given annually to five or fewer workers in the field of atomic energy by the U. S. Department of Energy. He has also received Distinguished Performance Awards from the Department of Energy for significant contributions to the Nuclear Weapons Program, and he has received Distinguished Performance awards from the Los Alamos National Laboratory for important technical achievements.

Professional memberships and affiliations of Dr. McCall include: 

  • Former consultant to the Department of Energy on issues related to Inertial Fusion.
  • Former member and chairman of the USAF SAB.
  • Consultant to the Defense Science Board.
  • Former member of the Senior Review Group to the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO).
  • Former chairman of the Technology Assistance Panel for the DARO.
  • Member of the American Physical Society.
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
  • Visiting professor of physics at Imperial College(London)
  • Visiting staff member of the UK Atomic Weapon Establishment.
  • Associate fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
  • Member of Sigma Xi, The Institute of Navigation, and the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu.

Dr. McCall is the author of approximately 100 scientific papers, holds four patents, and he has given invited lectures around the world. In 1995 Dr. McCall directed the New World Vistas study requested by the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The study has received wide recognition in the defense technology community as a guide for the development of 21st century weapons for the Air Force. In recognition of his work on the study, the Air Force Association has awarded Dr. McCall their highest award for technical achievement, the 1996 Theodore von Karman Award.

In 1997, the Secretary of Defense awarded Dr. McCall the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the department’s highest civilian award.

Dr. McCall is an instrument-rated private pilot who flies for business and pleasure, a SCUBA diver, and a skier.