University of New Mexico Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway has named Dr. Jim L. Novak as the new director of the Global & National Security Policy Institute (GNSPI).

Novak brings solid credentials to the program having served in the United States National Security Community for nearly 30 years in a variety of areas including research, development, and the application of cyber, nuclear, and manufacturing technologies. Novak, who started July 18, fills the position vacated by Dr. Emile Nakhleh, who retired earlier this summer.

Jim Novak
Dr. Jim L. Novak

“I am delighted that Jim Novak has joined UNM as Director of Global and National Security Programs,” said UNM Provost James Holloway. “Dr. Novak has had a distinguished career addressing global security challenges, including both high-level technical work and leadership roles managing diverse multidisciplinary teams. He brings to UNM an understanding of the multidimensional nature of global security issues and an entrepreneurial vision for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration to strengthen our graduate and undergraduate programs.”

“I’m honored to have been appointed as GNSPI Director where I can contribute to national security in a policy-focused environment that leverages my technology experience,” said Novak. “I am excited about building the Institute as we deliver on UNM’s commitments to student education and faculty scholarship in national and global security.”

Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Global and National Security Policy Institute brings together global and national security-related courses, research, and programs at the University of New Mexico in a coherent whole under one umbrella to serve the entire institution—students and faculty—across its several campuses. Global and national security policy studies consider a broad range of security challenges, including nuclear weapons, nonproliferation and nuclear security, stewardship of natural resources, humanitarian concerns, health challenges, and cybersecurity risks.

“GNSPI taps into New Mexico’s national security roots in our people, our institutions, and our economy. The Institute addresses existential global and national issues facing humanity and the United States by drawing together interdisciplinary faculty and diverse student perspectives from across the UNM campus to innovate policy research and education,” said Novak. “GNSPI broadens the student educational experience to enhances their career opportunities, enriches interdisciplinary faculty research, and has the potential to expand New Mexico’s economy into global and national security policy analysis.”

At Sandia National Laboratories, Novak directed the Cyber Intelligence Research program that developed and applied strategic cyber capabilities in collaborative partnerships. He previously led programs leveraging Sandia’s unique expertise in nuclear weapons and microelectronics. Earlier he directed ES&H policies that ensured worker safety, protected the environment, and ensured regulatory compliance in the conduct of scientific research. Always a champion for diversity and inclusion in accomplishing national security missions, he received Sandia National Laboratories’ 2021 Heart of Diversity Award acknowledging his career-long commitment to action and getting results.

Novak’s executive experience includes private sector roles, most recently as a consultant for the US government, academia, and the private sector on strategic cybersecurity policy. He founded two technology startups in New Mexico and was awarded the 2010 UNM Anderson School of Management Hall of Fame Award for his contributions to Albuquerque’s business community.

He currently serves the UNM Alumni Association Board of Directors, and previously served as chair of the UNM Anderson School of Management Alumni Council. His nonprofit board experience includes member and chair positions on the United Way Community Impact Council, People Living Through Cancer, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico.

Novak holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the UNM Anderson School of Management. As a researcher in robotics and microelectronics, he synergized concepts across established specialties in basic science through innovation and has over 24 open publications and holds 11 US and 2 international patents. He completed several national fellowships including MIT Seminar XXI and Sandia’s National Security Leadership Development Program.

For more information on UNM’s Global & National Security Policy Institute, visit GNSPI.