Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper Joins Epirus Board of Directors

Press Release
MAY 18 2021

Esper brings deep strategic insight and operational excellence to support Epirus’ mission and build powerful, innovative products that further national security efforts


WASHINGTON, May 18, 2021 – Epirus, Inc., a Silicon Valley-backed, high growth technology company, today announced that Mark T. Esper, Ph.D. has joined the company's Board of Directors. Dr. Esper served as the 27th United States Secretary of Defense from 2019 to 2020 and the 23rd Secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019.

“History informs us that those who are first to harness once-in-a-generation technologies have a decisive advantage well into the future. At a time when new, low-cost technologies can empower our adversaries and make anyone a target, America must stay ahead of its rivals as we modernize and protect our national security interests for years to come. Epirus stands at the vanguard of those accelerating military and homeland security applications of game-changing technology to disarm drones used to launch lethal attacks against our service members and civilians anytime, anywhere.  Addressing emerging threats and challenges was always a priority of mine at the Pentagon and will continue to be going forward. Epirus has proven itself able to rapidly innovate and adapt in ways that can make it a critical partner to the U.S. government and our allies,” Dr. Esper said.

“Recent drone attacks targeting U.S. forces and concerns here at home underscore the urgent need for the deployment of effective Counter-UAS technology in the field of operations. At Epirus, we have made it our mission to meet this challenging problem by developing a solid-state, software-defined, high-powered microwave to disable potentially harmful electronics. We cannot wait for the loss of human life to become the catalyst for change when technology exists that can stop threats today. Adding a visionary leader like Mark to the Board solidifies our ability to bring to market the technology we need to help protect the U.S. warfighter and develop other new applications of our technology for broad commercial use,” said Grant Verstandig, Epirus Executive Chairman and Co-Founder.

This appointment supports Epirus’ commitment to bring in experienced operators to its Board of Directors to guide the company through its next phase of development and growth. The company’s Board of Directors is led by its Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Grant Verstandig, Chairman of Rally Health as well as Founder of Red Cell Partners and an active entrepreneur, venture capital investor, and philanthropist; John Tenet, a Founding Partner at Red Cell Partners and previously a partner at 8VC; Alex Moore, a partner at 8VC as well as a founding employee and Director of Operations at Palantir and Co-Founder of NodePrime; Geoff Lewis, Founder and Managing Partner of Bedrock; Leigh Madden, Epirus Chief Executive Officer; and Bo Marr, Epirus Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder.

Dr. Esper joins the board following the company’s May 6 announcement of an advisory board of powerhouse leaders including: Michael Ovitz, Founder, CKE and Co-Founder, Creative Artists Agency and former President, Walt Disney Company; Sam Palmisano, Chairman, Center for Global Enterprise and former CEO/Chairman, IBM; Jerry Yang, Founding Partner, AME Cloud Ventures and Co-Founder and former CEO, Yahoo! Inc.; Richard Mattera, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, UnitedHealth Group; and Jeffrey Grant, Board Member, The Aerospace Corporation and former Vice President and General Manager of Space Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.


Headquartered in Los Angeles, Epirus is a Silicon Valley-backed, high growth technology company. We are pioneers in research, development and production of the world's first software-defined electromagnetic pulse (EMP) system, as well as systems that use machine intelligence for the next generation of energy and power management. Our first product is a phased array capable of generating extremely high power EMPs to combat threats posed by drones and other autonomous systems to support defense and public safety applications, at large. Epirus SmartPower, the nucleus of our innovation, is revolutionizing power management to support a wide range of use cases and sectors. At Epirus, we work to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. We are forward thinking in nature and committed to bringing tomorrow’s capabilities to life, today.

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Dr. Mark T. Esper served as the 27th Secretary of Defense from 2019 to 2020, responsible for ensuring the United States’ national security, protecting the American people at home and abroad, and advancing the country’s interests globally.  In this capacity, he led one of the largest, most complex organizations in the world given its nearly 3 million service members and defense civilians, and $740 billion annual budget.  As Secretary of Defense, Esper made major strides in shaping and implementing the National Defense Strategy, which called for a return to preparing for high intensity conflict in a new era of great power competition.  During his tenure, Esper oversaw the largest R&D budget in the department’s history, drove spending on cutting-edge technologies, and advanced other initiatives to ensure the U.S. military modernized for the future.  

Dr. Esper is currently the first John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Atlantic Council.  Prior to becoming Secretary of Defense, he served as Secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019.  Dr. Esper was a senior corporate executive at the Raytheon Company from 2010 to 2017.  He served earlier as an Executive Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association.

Dr. Esper served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon during the President George W. Bush administration from 2002-04.  He was also a senior Congressional staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations, Senate Government Affairs, and the House Armed Services committees, and served as national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Dr. Esper is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a combat veteran of the 1990-91 Gulf War.  He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve. Dr. Esper is a two-time recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Among his many military awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Dr. Esper holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University.

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