William LaPlante will be the Air Force’s next principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, service Secretary Michael Donley said yesterday.

LaPlante is currently the missile defense portfolio director for the Mitre Corp. within the organization’s Defense Department-sponsored National Security Engineering Center. In this role, LaPlante leads the Mitre technical team, providing analytic and system engineering expertise across the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) ballistic missile defense system portfolio.

LaPlante was previously the department head for global engagement at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) where, in this position, he was responsible for all of the laboratory’s work in support of offensive military capabilities, such as conventional tactical and strategic nuclear weapon systems.

Prior to his JHU APL work, LaPlante was the associate department head of the National Security Technology Department, which includes the domains of undersea warfare, homeland protection and biomedicine. LaPlante was also appointed to the Defense Science Board (DSB) in 2010.

LaPlante replaces former Air Force service acquisition executive David Van Buren, who retired in March 2012. Van Buren was principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition before adding service acquisition executive duties in April 2009, according to the Air Force.