Texas Tech University

Distinguished Engineer Citations

Distinguished Engineer Photo: Thomas A. Harper, Ph.D.
Thomas A. Harper, Ph.D.

Thomas A. Harper, Ph.D.

Distinguished Engineer



M.S. Computer Science – 1988


Ph.D. Computer Science – 1995



At Time of Nomination in 2010

Dr. Thomas A. Harper is the chief information officer (CIO) of Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidiscipline U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory focused on national security science. Los Alamos National Laboratory is known for its role at the center of the top secret Manhattan project that developed the first atomic weapons during World War II. Los Alamos continues to be the cornerstone of our national cutting-edge science efforts across a wide variety of disciplines.

Harper attended the University of Oklahoma where he received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1984. He continued his education at Texas Tech University, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science. While a graduate student at Texas Tech, Tom participated in the Crosbyton Solar Power Project, was a teaching assistant and research assistant, and he was active in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

His professional career path has included several DOE laboratories. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, he held positions as a research scientist, operations manager for the Environmental and Molecular Sciences Laboratory Super Computer center, and senior program manager supporting national security interests. During this period, Harper also served as an adjunct professor at Washington State University.

As a federal employee at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C., he served as director of Information and Special Technology Programs for the Office of Counterintelligence (CI) and established a National CI-Cyber program including a cyber-sensor network covering the major research entities of the department.

At Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, he held the position of chief information technology officer and then transitioned into the role of director of Critical Infrastructure Protection for the laboratory’s National and Homeland Security organization.

As the CIO of Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Harper oversees the allocation of information technology (IT) resources at the laboratory and is responsible for laboratory cyber security and IT policy efforts. He also continues to contribute to a number of DOE-wide national projects.

Harper has been recognized for his contribution in the information technology and security arenas by the cabinet-level Secretary of Energy Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. This past year, he received the Charlene Douglas award, the highest honor bestowed by the Department of Energy for lifetime contribution to the field of cyber security.

Harper is a former member of Whitacre College of Engineering Dean’s Council.

He is an avid downhill skier, mountain biker, hiker, and family man who enjoys living with his family in Los Alamos in the arid New Mexico mountains. He is married to Ann Harper; they have two sons, Alex and Andrew.

It is a privilege and an honor for Texas Tech University’s Whitacre College of Engineering to select this outstanding alumnus for recognition.

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