Internationally recognized expert receives the positioning, navigation, and timing professional society’s highest honor

Electrical engineering alum Keith McDonald ’96 ’99G ’00 PhD has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Navigation (ION), a society of professionals in the field of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). He currently serves as Chair of the ION Military Division. 

McDonald, a Technical Fellow and PNT portfolio director at The MITRE Corporation, was recognized for his contributions to the areas of Navigation Warfare testing and PNT Situational Awareness as well as for sustained thought leadership and management impacting military PNT. 

Election to Fellow status, the society’s highest honor, recognizes ION members who have a track record of advancing PNT in the areas of technology, management, practice, or teaching and have made an impact on the professional community while contributing to the society.

“My time at Lehigh provided the foundation and catalyst for my career in PNT, including my first connection with MITRE,” says McDonald. “Dr. [Rick] Blum’s attention to technical rigor and his focus on publication has served me well at MITRE, which values technical quality and information sharing.”

During his PhD studies at Lehigh, McDonald was advised by Rick S. Blum, Robert W. Wieseman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Signal Processing and Communication Research Lab. McDonald also holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh.

McDonald is a technical leader in various aspects of PNT technology, including analysis, simulation, testing, and system engineering, which he coordinates across a wide variety of government agencies. In his earlier career, he focused on developing Navigation Warfare systems and testing new technologies under challenging conditions. He is well-known for his study, “All GPS Has been Seriously Terminated (AGHAST),” which examined the impact of GPS loss and recommended ways to prevent it for both military and civilian use. McDonald has also been recognized as a top 50 “Leader to Watch” by GPS World Magazine.

At MITRE, a nonprofit organization that manages research and development centers for government agencies, McDonald guides the strategic direction and technical execution of MITRE’s PNT work portfolio to address important national challenges.

He also advises the U.S. Air Force PNT Capability Development Team and has held leadership roles in a consortium focused on collaborative technology growth among allies. Recently, he provided analysis and recommendations on law, policy, strategy, and technology solutions for PNT Situational Awareness, influencing technology development and investment decisions in the PNT community.

Keith McDonald

Electrical engineering alum Keith McDonald ’96 ’99G ’00 PhD is an internationally recognized position, navigation, and timing (PNT) expert at MITRE and a thought leader in global positioning system (GPS) modernization, satellite navigation user equipment, and navigation warfare. (Photo: MITRE)